MAN Diesel & Turbo successfully commissioned eight type 18V48/60 engines in the new “Planta MAN 140” power plant in Los Brasiles, Nicaragua and handed them over to the operator, ALBA Generación S.A.
Based in Augsburg, the company is also responsible for engineering and delivery of the engines and equipment, steel structure, piping and electrics. With a generation capacity of 140 MW, Planta MAN 140 is the largest and most cutting-edge thermal power plant in Nicaragua and has a share of around 12% of the total capacity nationwide.
In close proximity to the capital city, Managua, “Planta MAN 140” replaces older and less efficient diesel power plants and balances fluctuations in the generation of electricity from renewable sources. The engines run on heavy fuel oil (HFO).
Nicaragua has ambitious plans with regard to power generation. It is aiming to produce 90% of electrical power from renewable sources by 2020. Renewable sources, primarily wind power and hydropower, already account for 57% of the country’s electricity demand. Wind levels, however, are subject to considerable fluctuations.
“Engine power plants are ideal as a back-up for renewable energies,” explains Thorsten Dradrach, Head of Sales for Power Plants on the American continent at MAN Diesel & Turbo. “Not only can the engines be started up and reach full load in 3-5 minutes, they also operate efficiently at partial load. In the event of low wind levels or even no wind at all, our MAN48/60 engines generate energy reliably and in a highly flexible manner in order to compensate for fluctuations in the power network.”
Transporting the engines 156 kilometres from the port of Corinto to Los Brasiles was a highly logistical challenge. At temperatures of up to 40 °C andunder increased volcanic activity, each of the eight 320-ton engines had to cross more than 60 bridges, many of which first had to be bridged with fly-over ramps.
A video documentary about the engines being transported can be watched on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2er1EqAfUw
Alba Generacion S. A. is a subsidiary of ALBA Nicaragua S.A. (ALBANISA), which is owned by the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA). ALBA is an economic and political alliance of nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Nicaragua. ALBA’s aim is to achieve greater independence from the USA and Europe by means of economic cooperation between the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The energy sector has a particularly important part to play in this mission.