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MAN Diesel in engine milestone at Nicaragua’s biggest thermal plant

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MAN Diesel & Turbo has successfully commissioned eight of its heavy fuel oil engines in the largest thermal power plant in Nicaragua.

The new Planta MAN 140 plant is in Los Brasiles and is operated by ALBA Generación.

MAN Diesel was responsible for engineering and delivery of the engines and equipment, steel structure, piping and electrics for the plant.

With a generation capacity of 140 MW, Planta MAN 140 accounts for around 12 per cent of Nicaragua’s total capacity. It replaces older and less efficient diesel power plants and balances fluctuations in the generation of electricity from renewable sources.MAN Diesel in engine milestone at Nicaragua’s biggest thermal plant

Nicaragua has ambitious power generation plans, with a target to produce 90 per cent of electrical power from renewables by 2020.

Renewable sources, primarily wind and hydropower, already account for 57 per cent of the country's electricity demand, however wind levels are subject to considerable fluctuations.

"Engine power plants are ideal as a back-up for renewable energies," said 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 three-to-five 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 logistical challenge. At temperatures of up to 40 °C and under increased volcanic activity, each of the eight 320-tonne engines had to cross more than 60 bridges, many of which first had to be bridged with fly-over ramps.  

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