Wärtsilä has been awarded the contract to supply engines, generators and associated auxiliary equipment to a power plant serving an iron ore mine in Western Australia.

The six 20-cylinder Wärtsilä 34DF engines selected for this project offer 50 MW of dual-fuel capability, giving the customer the option to use either natural gas or light fuel oil. These will be the first Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines to be installed in Australia.

The contract was awarded by Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. The power plant is needed to supply electricity for its Solomon Hub mine, which is part of the company’s expansion in the Pilbara region. The Fortescue Solomon Phase I project is scheduled to be in commercial operation by the third quarter, 2012.

Together with the six Wärtsilä engines, the power plant utilizes two gas turbines, primarily operating in constant power mode. The engines, according to the supplier, are capable of handling quick stops and starts and variations in load, while maintaining high efficiency.

“The ability to maintain high efficiency, even at partial loads, is very important in plants such as this that serve industrial operations. The high simple cycle efficiency also helps reduce the environmental impact of the power plant, while the multi-unit configuration of the engines ensures high availability and reliability. Furthermore, frequent stops and starts do not increase the maintenance costs of the engines,” said Suraj Narayan, business development manager, Wärtsilä Power Plants.

Wärtsilä Australia has been headquartered in Sydney since 1989 and also has workshops in Sydney and Perth. It is responsible for supporting 450 MW of mining power, and 397 MW of utility power projects within its region.