World’s largest gas engine for new-build power plant

Paul Boughton

Before it has even reached full capacity, it is clear that Odaş Elektrik’s power plant in south-eastern Turkey will be a highly profitable venture. The plant, which started up in 2010, supplies electricity to the national grid to meet peak demand.

With seven Wärtsilä 18V50SG gas engines and a steam boiler turbine due to come online in 2013, the total installed capacity will reach 144MW.The independent producer deploys the best available technology in its pursuit of efficient power generation, and is achieving high levels of availability and reliability in its plant.
Finnish engine manufacturer Wärtsilä is a technology leader with an unrelenting focus on innovation. Having pioneered gas-engine technology, it has sold more gas engines than any other original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

Worldwide, it has more than 700 experts working on research and development programmes that are designed to maintain its competitive edge. Wärtsilä Turkey, meanwhile, has an extremely strong presence in Turkey: its generating capacity in the country exceeds 3GW and approximately 85 per cent of these plants run on natural gas.
Shell Lubricants was named the number one lubricants supplier (Kline & Company, 2010), and has introduced numerous breakthrough technologies to the market.
The culturally rich town of Şanlıurfa in southeast Turkey is steeped in history. However, in stark contrast to its uniquely eclectic architecture, ancient ruins and bustling bazaar, it is also home to a prime exhibit of cutting-edge technology.
The independent power plant operator Odaş Elektrik has selected the world’s largest gas engine for its new-build plant. To protect that asset, keep the costs of maintaining it as low as possible, and maximise its efficiency, the company selected a Shell Mysella gas-engine oil.

Mehmet Ufuk Berk is a man with vision. In 2005 at a global gathering of all Wärtsilä operating companies, the managing director of Wärtsilä Turkey urged the global corporation’s research and development teams to develop a substantially larger gas engine. He knew there were technical challenges to be overcome and that it would require a great deal of innovation, but he insisted that there was an emerging market need for gas engines of about 20 MW. At the time, the largest gas engine on the market was the 9-MW-rated Wärtsilä 20V34SG.

Wärtsilä’s technologists delivered. Just five years later, Wärtsilä launched the 18.3MW-rated 18V50SG: the biggest gas engine in the world. The first units to be installed were in Turkey for a power plant on the north coast. A few months later in the south-east of the country, Odaş Elektrik purchased three units; an order for four more soon followed. In less than two years, Wärtsilä Turkey had sold 18 of these units.

“The Odaş Elektrik power plant supplies the electrical grid during periods of peak demand, and so gas-fired reciprocating engine technology was a perfect fit because it can be fired up rapidly,” reflects Hüseyin Güloğlu, General Manager, Odaş Elektrik.

He explains that the plant often has to be on standby waiting for the order to run and that, unlike some other technologies, gas engines offer an immediate response.

Güloğlu’s colleague, Plant Manager Murat Duman, adds that the high electrical efficiency was a key factor in Odaş Elektrik’s selection of the 18V50SG. “At over 48 per cent, the engine has the highest electrical efficiency of all the gas engines in the world. That is extremely important, as it helps us to keep our costs down.”

He adds, “We selected Shell Mysella because it is a high-quality oil that promises to protect our engines and help minimise our operational costs.”

The choice of lubricant is always a key decision, reflects Ufuk Berk: “The lubricant plays a vital role in the performance of a gas engine; there is no doubt about that. It is very important that the lubricant specification fits the Wärtsilä specification and Shell Mysella does.

“We always introduce our customers to Shell products,” Ufuk Berk continues. “We tell them that our engines will be safeguarded by using Shell lubricants. We stress that, although its value may not appear that great when compared with the other investments in the power plant, the lubricant plays an important role in engine performance and maintenance.
Scheduled maintenance periods are very important and play a vital role in the cost of the electricity produced.” Ufuk Berk adds, “Thanks to Shell and its good products, we can keep our promises on the scheduled maintenance hours to ourcustomers.”
With an output of some 18.3MW, the Wärtsilä 18V50SG spark-ignition gas engine is the largest gas combustion engine generating set in the world. Moreover, at over 48 per cent, the efficiency of the natural-gas-fuelled engine is the highest of any gas engine available today, so sets a new benchmark for the industry. It is based on the technology of Wärtsilä’s smaller, well-established engines, such as the 20V34SG, but incorporates improvements that maximise the power potential of the engine.

Wärtsilä’s role extends beyond the supply of the engines. The company has also a agreement with Odaş Elektrik under which it provides scheduled maintenance services. Odaş Elektrik does not, therefore,have to consider its maintenance requirements or employ a maintenance team. Instead, it can focus exclusively on its core business of energy production.

The quality of the lubricant is crucial for this maintenance agreement, according to Ufuk Berk. “It is very important that the customer uses a reputable or trustworthy lubricant inside the engine,” he says. “If the oil is not fit for purpose, the operator will have a lot of downtime and breakdowns – and will lose revenue. That could be disastrous for many power plants, especially those like Odaş Elektrik that receive their instructions from the grid. It is business critical that their engines are ready to run when they receive the order.”

Wärtsilä is not the only company supporting Odaş Elektrik’s operations: Shell is too. Through the Shell LubeAnalyst service, Shell monitors the condition of its equipment and lubricants.

Guven Yucel, head of technical services, Shell Turkey, explains how Shell LubeAnalystm works.

“The customer takes oil samples from its equipment (we advise on how often this should be done and on the correct procedures) and sends the samples to one of Shell’s accredited laboratories. There, they are tested and analysed, and the results are entered into a global database. The report, which provides Shell’s diagnosis and clear recommendations, is then posted on a secure website.”

The analysis reveals the condition of the lubricant, which can help to optimise maintenance and oil-drain intervals. It can also help to identify potential equipment problems at an early stage, before an issue becomes critical. Crucially, Shell will also suggest remedial actions.

As a result, Shell LubeAnalyst can help operators to reduce downtime, lost production and maintenance costs, and to enhance equipment reliability. “It is like an advanced early-warning system,” says Yucel. “It provides operators with peace of mind that their equipment and lubricants are all in optimum working order.”

Duman recalls a situation when Shell LubeAnalyst repaid its value. “One of Shell’s analyses detected water in the oil, so Shell expedited the report to us and advised us to look at the engine site, check the parts and find the source of the water. Another time, they detected silicon in the oil. We identified that source as a nearby quarry and remedied the situation by using an improved air filter.”

With Wärtsilä and Shell providing specialist operational support, leading-edge technology and high-quality lubricants, Odaş Elektrik’s plant is going from strength to strength. The key metrics of reliability, availability and efficiency are high, which is helping to maximise profitability. Moreover, the engines’ performance
The Shell Mysella range of gas-engine oils has been developed to enable equipment operators to select the oil that will deliver optimum value to their operations through enhanced wear protection, long oil life and high system efficiency.

The range includes Shell Mysella S5 N, a premium-tier product designed to meet the challenges posed by the latest high brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) engines. This oil offers an extremely long oil life to help extend maintenance intervals and excellent engine protection. It is formulated to control deposits, maintain ring belt cleanliness and protect the cylinder liners, even under the high-temperature and high-pressure conditions seen in modern engines.


Shell Mysella gas engine oils: Testimonial from Odaş Elektrik and Wärtsilä

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