The latest addition to Rolls-Royce’s range in the 5000 series of diesel engines has been introduced to market with sales of two 8 MWe generating plant systems to gold mines in Mali.

The 16-cylinder, 750 r/min version of the Allen 5000 series of advanced four-stroke medium-speed engines was recently demonstrated at the Crossley works in Manchester, UK on 28 September, 1999, with the same kind of dazzling laser light, fireworks and multimedia presentation as accompanied the introduction in Bedford of the new 5000 series the previous year with the 12-cylinder, 6 MWe version.

Bryan Grinham, sales director of diesels for Rolls-Royce, said there is massive potential for diesels in remote locations, where reliable power supplies up to 40 MWe are required. The Allen 5000 series in general was designed to satisfy this market, with an emphasis on ease of maintenance, reliability, and low price. The new 5016 extends the range of the 5000 series. Rolls-Royce Director – Diesels Peter Dobbs announced that options had already been taken up on more than five times the expected number of 5000 series engines in the first year.

Able to run on both distillate and heavy fuels, the 5016 generates 500 kWe per cylinder, with fuel consumption of less than 180 g/kWh.

In what must be one of the most CFD, CAD and three-dimensional finite element stress analysis-based gine designs ever developed. Rapid prototyping and advanced casting simulation techniques were applied throughout the component manufacturing cycle and the early phases of the development programme. Computerised analysis was used in casting prediction. The number of parts used in the 5000 series was reduced by 35 per cent compared to the 4000 series, resulting in cheaper operation, cheaper production and reduced maintenance.

A design capable of compliance with the requirements for low specific fuel consumption while maintaining low levels of exhaust emissions required on-line tuning features. The engine was designed with a digital fuel injection system newly developed in conjunction with Bosch to monitor combustion to ensure peak operating performance and reduce emissions to below international legislation requirements.

The 5000 series engines covers a range from 3-10 MWe as 6 or 8 cylinders in-line as well a Vee versions up to 20 cylinders. The ABB turbochargers are capable of pressure ratios of up to 4.7:1, but the engines are claimed to reach design performance at pressure ratios under 4.2:1. The 5000 series was described in some detail in the April 1998 issue of Modern Power Systems.

It would seem that as well as moving in to dominate the marine propulsion market, with the imminent commercial introduction of the WR21 intercooled and recuperated Trent gas turbine propulsion package and, with the recent acquisition of Vickers, the KMW propeller and water jet products, Rolls-Royce is also raising the stakes in the high-pedigree medium-speed power generation diesels market. From the Vickers acquisition, it will add the formidable Norwegian Ullstein engines to its portfolio which already includes the Allen range, the Japanese Niigata range, the German MTU, and the French Pielstick licenses.