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Wärtsilä launches world’s first large-scale 100% hydrogen-ready engine power plant

Wärtsilä launches world’s first large-scale 100% hydrogen-ready engine power plant
An image of the world’s first large-scale 100 percent hydrogen-ready engine power plant, to enable the net-zero power systems of tomorrow (image courtesy Wärtsilä).

Finland-headed international energy and marine technology group Wärtsilä Oyj has launched what is said to be the world’s first large-scale 100 percent hydrogen-ready engine power plant, to enable the net-zero power systems of tomorrow.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2023 shows that hydrogen is an essential component of future power systems.

According to the report, the pathway to reach net zero emissions by 2050 requires 17 million tonnes of hydrogen to be consumed in power generation in 2030, reaching 51 million tonnes by 2050.

The report forecasts that the deployment of renewables worldwide is set to double by the end of this decade, creating the right conditions for excess clean electricity to be used for the production of hydrogen-based, carbon-neutral fuels, and enabling 100 percent renewable power systems.

Flexible power generation is needed

Scaling up renewables alone, however, is not enough to reach global net-zero targets. Flexible power generation solutions, like engine power plants, are needed to balance fluctuating renewable energy sources.

Therefore, these solutions must be future-proofed and ready to run on sustainable fuels to fully decarbonize the energy sector.

Wärtsilä is addressing this need through its new hydrogen-ready engine power plant, which can be converted to run on 100 percent hydrogen.

We will not meet global climate goals or fully decarbonize our power systems without flexible, zero-carbon power generation, which can quickly ramp up and down to support intermittent wind and solar. We must be realistic that natural gas will play a part in our power systems for years to come. Our fuel-flexible engines can use natural gas today to provide flexibility and balance, enabling renewable power to thrive. They can then be converted to run-on hydrogen when it becomes readily available: future-proofing the journey to net zero, said Anders Lindberg, President at Wärtsilä Energy.

The new engine power plant is a significant step beyond existing technology, which can run on natural gas and 25 volume percent (vol%) hydrogen blends.

This is a major milestone for us as a company, and the energy transition more generally, as our hydrogen-ready engines will enable the 100 percent renewable power systems of tomorrow, Anders Lindberg said.

Based on the Wärtsilä 31 engine platform

According to the company, the Wärtsilä 31 engine platform, which the hydrogen-ready power plant is based on, is the most efficient in the world.

It synchronizes with the grid within 30 seconds from the start command, ensures energy security through fuel flexibility, and offers unparalleled load-following capabilities and high part load efficiency.

It has completed more than 1 million running hours, with over 1 GW installed capacity globally.

Wärtsilä’s 100 percent hydrogen-ready engine power plant concept based on the Wärtsilä 31 engine platform has been certified by TÜV SÜD, demonstrating a commitment to quality and safety.

TÜV SÜD’s H2-Readiness certification consists of three stages with three corresponding certificates. Wärtsilä has now achieved the first stage with a Concept Certificate for the conceptual design of its engine power plant.

The 100 percent hydrogen-ready engine is expected to be available for orders in 2025, and available for delivery from 2026.

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