STORY Power Generation

mtu gensets secure power supply in Nigeria

Posted on October 25, 2021 by Claire Volkwyn

mtu gensets provide a reliable power supply in Nigeria - a country where unreliable energy supply threatens economic growth.
On a peninsula in the heart of the Nigerian capital Lagos, one of the largest and most spectacular combined commercial/residential projects in Africa is being built, namely the Eko Atlantic development. The centrepiece of the development is the three 140-metre-high Azuri Towers, which will house luxury apartments. Two power generators with mtu motors guarantee that the electricity never fails there. But the gensets are not only significant for the towers, they also mark a milestone for Rolls-Royce: the first of the two gensets, which was installed in April, is the 100th generator that Rolls-Royce has installed in Nigeria since 2015. 

Nigeria’s power sector has experienced several setbacks in recent years, despite the efforts of the federal government to increase generation capacity. Although the country now has in excess of 12,000MW of installed grid capacity, transmission and distribution capacity is such that no more than 4,000MW of power is able to be transmitted at any one time.

Unreliable energy supply jeopardises economic growthA 2014 World Bank report reports that as much as half of the firms doing business in Nigeria identified electricity as a major constraint, with many saying electricity was their biggest obstacle. Business losses due to electrical outages average around 16% of annual sales. The lack of reliable electricity is therefore one of the biggest challenges to economic growth in Nigeria.

But even if the electricity could be transmitted without problems: It would not be enough to supply Nigeria's 195 million inhabitants with electricity. The solution for many private homes and most commercial premises businesses are via generators. According to the African Development Bank, Nigerians spend more than $14 billion annually on generators and generator fuel.
100 generators come from Rolls-Royce Power Systems. These have a combined output of 150 megawatts and are used in residential, commercial and industrial facilities.

Cooperation partners guarantee on-site service

In order to provide the best possible service to customers in Nigeria, Rolls- Royce has worked closely with Jubaili Bros. and Mikano International Limited in Nigeria, among others, over the past six years. The multinational consultancy and engineering firms have undertaken a number of installations around the country.  Working with local representatives has advantages for Rolls-Royce as well as for the customers: They get a unique product "made in Germany" as well as the certainty of receiving local support and service from Rolls-Royce trained staff.

Nabil Suleiman, General Manager, Ikeja Branch of Jubaili Bros, explains that the support from Rolls-Royce is comprehensive and extends beyond training technicians. “Our work with Rolls-Royce gives us more opportunities to operate across a variety of sectors. The product has a reputation for quality and durability, with an extensive warranty. Working with the Rolls-Royce team, for instance, we were able to design a custom soundproof encloser for one of the generators we installed at the Azuri Towers. This is just one of the opportunities provided by this relationship.”
"The mtu units are very reliable and work well in the Nigerian market," adds Lokam Jouni, deputy managing director of Mikano International Limited.

The Azuri Towers that have just been built use 1,000 kVA diesel generators.

Low operating costs a major advantage

In total, Rolls-Royce and its partners in Nigeria have delivered more than 150 MWe of power. The gensets deliver mostly continuous or long-time backup operations. 33 MWe has been installed in telecom data centres across Nigeria, 40 MWe gas gensets are being utilised for continuous power production across industries as diverse as steel, glass and food as well as in a number of hotels.

On average, the mtu engines consume up to 10% less fuel than a comparable engine of the same size, ultimately reducing the long-term cost of operations. In addition, with a life span of 84,000 hours before a total engine overhaul is needed, the investment reduces not only total ownership cost but also downtime, while providing longer intervals between large scale maintenance. 

Motors robust and suitable for high altitudes

Operating at an 85% load factor for continuous power applications, the engines provide high reliability and availability of power. Power generation in some of the most challenging environments around the world is child’s play for the generators which can operate in high humidity environments with a maximum temperature of 55 degrees centigrade, while altitude has no discernible impact on efficiencies.

But it isn’t just about the running and maintenance of the generators. As the global energy transition is gaining momentum, Rolls-Royce is working to ensure that a multitude of fuel choices are readily available – from the traditional diesel-fuelled engines, to gas and even microgrids. In these, the reliable mtu gensets are combined with cost-effective and renewable energies such as solar and wind energy. This creates small power grids that can supply decentralised energy. Gas-energy hybrid option with a third-party solar installation. Rolls-Royce also sees the future in fuel cells. These will be used in energy supply from 2025 onwards - from balancing power to compensate for fluctuations in the grid, through continuous power supply to emergency power supply in hospitals and data centres, for example. Rolls-Royce development engineers are also already working on hydrogen engines and concepts for decentralised power-to-X plants.

“We propose to install our first gas generators this year,” says Suleiman. “Customers are becoming more conscious of the cost of diesel and the need to cut down on carbon emissions. Many of the consultants we are working with are also starting to consider alternative fuels for installations.”

Azuri Towers with special requirements

The Azuri Towers use two 1,000 kVA diesel generators. These must withstand the highest demands because the project has the highest requirements. Thus, a special dimensioning of the generator, as well as the installation of additional sound-absorbing elements, was necessary.

This commercial/residential complex hosts the biggest dual-purpose tower complex in West Africa and includes luxury apartments, modern office units and large shopping centres on 100,000 square meters of land reclaimed from the Atlantic. Built in Lagos, the Azuri Towers will consist of three towers: two residential and one for offices. Azuri 1 is, according to reports, the tallest residential tower in Nigeria and West Africa and the second tallest in Africa, while Azuri 2, a 29-storey building, will also be one of the tallest residential buildings in Africa. When completed, it will be home to 130 families. Thanks to the mtu power units, they can be sure they will never have to sit in the dark.

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