Wärtsilä has introduced a gas fuelled generation version of its successful 31 series engine, which it says has reached an entirely new level for simple-cycle efficiency. This follows very positive acceptance of the diesel version in marine sector applications, as well as recognition by Guinness World Records as the most efficient 4-stroke diesel engine in existence.

Wärtsilä is promoting the 31SG on the basis of its ‘Smart Power Generation’ features, emphasising its defining feature, the ability to achieve simple-cycle efficiency levels in excess of 50 % (current gas turbines achieve around 40%), a milestone achievement in the energy sector. This reduces emissions, and offers the potential for considerable cost savings to power producers.

Another benefit is the increased flexibility which enables rapid response to continuously changing load patterns, especially within systems having a notable share of solar and wind energy. The engine can be continuously operated at 10% load, and can reach full load in two minutes from the start command. This flexibility overcomes the challenge created by daily cycling in a grid with significant renewables components.

Two stage turbocharging 

The 20-cylinder, spark-ignited Wärtsilä 31SG produces 12 MW of power. Its robust engine structure has an unprecedented brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) of 30 bar, allowing it to fully accommodate all the benefits of two-stage turbocharging.

In terms of lifecycle, the aim is to ensure that the power plant operates throughout its lifetime in the most energy efficient way and in full accordance with regulations. This goes beyond purely maintenance related activities, and involves what Wärtsilä calls a holistic approach combining remote operational support and maintenance management services from Wärtsilä’s regional expertise centres, supported by digital innovation and advanced analytics. Based on measured data, Wärtsilä guarantees that performance targets which are agreed upon are met and maintained.

Niklas Wägar, director, Technology & Product Management, Wärtsilä Energy Solutions commented: “The Wärtsilä 31SG is now available and represents a new generation answer to the rapidly evolving need for greater flexibility and better efficiency in power generation. It is the world’s most efficient 4-stroke combustion engine and it raises the bar in so many areas, including reliability and serviceability.”