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33-year-old Waukesha engine finds new life generating power

Long before smart phones and Google, Amazon or TikTok, Waukesha VHP model P9390GL rolled off the production line. The year was 1990, and the 16-cylinder workhorse was designed, manufactured, and packaged to drive a reciprocating compressor for a natural gas production site. That 33-year-old engine is still running—rebuilt and repurposed by S&L Energie-Projekte GmbH, INNIO’s distributor for Waukesha engines, which is headquartered in Spelle, Germany.

  • 33-year-old Waukesha engine finds new life generating power

Originally used at a gas compression site in Germany for nearly three decades, the engine was taken out of operation (after more than 120,000 operating hours) when the site was shut down. After it was decommissioned, S&L Energie-Projekte GmbH purchased the engine from its original owner and completed a major overhaul in 2021. During the overhaul, all wear parts were replaced and major engine components such as the crankcase, camshafts, connecting rods, cylinder heads, turbocharger, and intercooler were refurbished. Given its next life in a continuous duty cycle application for power generation, uptime is critical. As part of the rebuild, cylinder liners and pistons were replaced instead of refurbished, helping to ensure uptime until the next major overhaul at 64,000 hours.


the year the engine was built


the year of the major overhaul


Upon rebuild, reassembly, paint, and test, the repurposed Waukesha P9390GL was back to “as-new” condition and sold to a packager in Northern Germany for containerization before heading to its final destination in the Kuala Lumpur region of Malaysia. At its new home in a manufacturing plant at an energy contracting company, the engine will be installed along with a second unit, each generating 1.2 MWe and 1.9 MWth as part of a containerized combined heat and power (CHP) solution. This will allow the manufacturing company to save operating costs since electricity and heat have been generated separately up to now. Engine commissioning is expected to take place during the first half of 2023.

The second used VHP engine—also previously operating in a gas compression application—was scheduled for overhaul in mid-2022 by the S&L services team. It, too, was to be reincarnated to generate power in its second life—from BHP to MWe. Founded in 1998, S&L has been an active distributor for INNIO’s Waukesha engines since its inception. The company provides new engine sales and product support and full service, including maintenance, repair, and spare parts. It also offers complete solutions for new and repowered CHP and compressor installations.

Our goal is always to sell new engines. But if a customer asks us to refurbish a used VHP for budget reasons, no matter how old, we never say no. We can upgrade this proven and robust technology with great confidence for the next lifecycle, even after 30 years.

Bernd Haasken, Product Manager

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