twitter Facebook Linkedin acp Contact Us

Wärtsilä achieves ‘giant leap’ towards decarbonisation

During testing, the capability of the engine to co-fire hydrogen blends was successfully demonstrated. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Technology group Wärtsilä and WEC Energy Group have successfully tested the capabilities of a Wärtsilä engine running on 25% hydrogen-blended fuel in what the group describes as a ‘key enabler’ for Africa’s renewable energy ambitions

The tests were conducted at WEC Energy Group’s 55MW A.J. Mihm power plant in Michigan, USA using an unmodified Wärtsilä 50SG engine. Throughout the testing period, the Wärtsilä engine continued to supply power to the grid. This is the largest commercially-operated flexible balancing engine ever to run on a hydrogen fuel blend.

EPRI also participated in the tests and led the assessment of the engine’s performance during the testing. In a recently released report, EPRI’s analysis confirmed the feasibility of blending hydrogen with natural gas for use in existing Wärtsilä engines. The demonstration results also showed hydrogen can be safely and reliably handled and utilised in engine technology.  

During testing, the capability of the engine to co-fire hydrogen blends was successfully demonstrated, showing clear improvements in engine efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, while staying compliant with NOx emissions. A 95% engine load was achieved with the 25 vol% hydrogen blend. This verifies the fuel flexibility of Wärtsilä engines without compromising efficiency. Further testing showed that with a 17 vol% hydrogen blend, a 100% engine load was attainable. The EPRI report states that this class of engines can therefore maintain its higher efficiency compared to simple-cycle gas turbines. 

“These tests provide clear evidence that Wärtsilä’s engine technology can deliver future-proof power solutions that make a huge contribution towards decarbonised operations. The results of the testing with a hydrogen/natural gas blended fuel mix have been outstanding. We continue developing and futureproofing our engines to run on sustainable fuels and expect to have an engine and power plant concept for operating with pure hydrogen available by 2026,” commented Anja Frada, chief operating officer, Wärtsilä Energy.

EPRI vice president of energy supply and low-carbon resources, Neva Espinoza, remarked,“EPRI is accelerating deployment of a full portfolio of clean energy technologies to support a net-zero future. This demonstration project with Wärtsilä and WEC Energy Group is significant in showing the potential of hydrogen blending in natural gas-fired engines. The learnings from this project will be shared with the energy industry to further progress toward deep decarbonisation targets.”

Gale Klappa, executive chairman at WEC Energy Group, added, “We’re very pleased to take a leading role exploring the potential of this technology as we focus on providing customers with affordable, reliable and clean energy. As we bring more renewable energy online, we must ensure that we can keep the lights on when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. The results of this project are a strong indicator that these dispatchable units can run on very low- and no-carbon fuels.”

b8b42307a6de851b org