The proof-of-concept demonstrations of the unit, running on the mixed fuel, show it is possible to generate lower carbon and reliable, on demand power by burning hydrogen-blended fuels in gas turbines, and the prospect of operating at lower carbon intensity and complementing the growth of variable renewables by providing on demand electricity to firm the grid.
The project was executed less than five months after a strategic cooperation agreement (SCA) was signed among Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC), GE, Hassan Allam Construction, and PGESCO. It is the first time that GE’s LM6000 gas turbine was run on hydrogen-blended fuel on the African continent.
GE led the conception, planning, and execution of the project, as well as the building of the hydrogen-natural gas blending system; Hassan Allam supplied the manpower and equipment needed for installation, related civil works, hydrogen needed for testing, and the piping and cabling system that transported hydrogen to the mixing skid and the turbine; and PGESCO helped design the project and provided engineering expertise.
HE Dr. Mohamed Shaker El-Markabi, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, said the combination of commitment and expertise among the partners led to the ‘extraordinary achievement’ of the project’s safe, on time completion.
Joseph Anis, President and CEO of GE Gas Power in Europe, Middle East, and Africa, said GE is committed to collaborating closely with the Government of Egypt, as well as other customers and partners to address the climate challenge, and the project is a good example of implementation, one of COP’s core themes.
GE has over 30 years of experience with more than 100 gas turbines that have operated on fuels that contain hydrogen globally, accumulating more than 8 million operating hours. Earlier in 2021, GE announced a collaboration in North America to run an LM6000 unit on a blend of hydrogen and natural gas.
Learnings from the project were applied by GE at Sharm El Sheikh and shared with other project partners, leading to a transfer of knowledge and local capacity building in the use of hydrogen as a fuel for power generation.
Ahmed Ramadan, CEO of PGESCO, said the project is a milestone in Africa, illuminating how we can use hydrogen-blended fuels for future energy production.
The safe execution of the demonstration also tells us that while hydrogen does present certain challenges with transportation, storage, and use at site for power generation, those obstacles can be overcome with the right arrangements, trainings, and precautions.
Finally, the successful adaptation of an existing installed unit to run on hydrogen-blended fuel also clearly highlights that today’s gas power generation assets can be a destination technology, not just a bridging technology, as the world scales up the production of hydrogen.