‘Hydrogen-powered plant to be ready by 2025’
A technology group, Wärtsilä, has begun testing its thermal balancing engines using pure hydrogen and expects to have an engine and power plant concept capable of running on 100 per cent hydrogen by 2025. the solution will enable transition to decarbonised energy systems around the world.
Hydrogen is projected to deliver 13 per cent of global energy demand by 2070 but at present, there are no commercially available engines, which can effectively use the fuel, potentially jeopardising global net-zero ambitions.
Wärtsilä is now pioneering a milestone-testing programme for its balancing gas engines to be converted to use green hydrogen as fuel. The project in Vaasa Finland will assess Wärtsilä’s existing 31 gas engine technology to find the optimum parameters for running on hydrogen.
Wärtsilä’s gas engines are currently used for flexible balancing power generation for power systems with high levels of renewables.
Green hydrogen, developed from renewable energy using electrolysis, and green hydrogen-based fuels will provide long-duration energy storage to work alongside renewable generation and short-duration storage (such as lithium-ion batteries) to create reliable and fully decarbonised energy systems.
According to Wärtsilä’s energy system modelling, over 11,000 GW of wind and solar power is required in the G20 alone to create 100 per cent renewable energy systems. It will require 933 GW of carbon-neutral thermal balancing capacity to enable the addition of this amount of renewable energy and stabilise future power systems.
The ability to modify existing engines to utilise hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels when they become widely available is crucial to achieving global decarbonisation goals. The internal combustion engine is a key technology in enabling the growth of renewables today, providing the flexibility required to support the intermittent generation of wind and solar. Many countries are investing in new, highly efficient engines to support the sustainable acceleration of renewable energy.
Being able to modify the engines in the future to utilise carbon-neutral fuels, such as green hydrogen and green hydrogen-based fuels, means that utilities can invest confidently now to enable the 100 per cent.
CEO of Wärtsilä, Håkan Agnevall, said: “This is a milestone moment in the worldwide energy transition. Global societies will have to invest billions into the infrastructure needed to develop green hydrogen, but that investment is reliant upon having market-ready engines, which can run on the fuel once, it is readily available.
“Our modelling shows that a significant amount of thermal balancing is required by the middle of this century to achieve the transition to 100 per cent renewable energy. By developing engines today which can run on hydrogen tomorrow, we are future-proofing energy systems to become 100 per cent renewable by 2050.”
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