Chinese state-owned power utility Guangdong Energy Group has ordered two 9HA.01 gas turbines from GE and Harbin Electric Corp for its Guangdong Huizhou combined cycle power plant in Guangdong province. Expected to burn up to 10 % by volume of hydrogen, blended with natural gas upon start of operation, the gas turbines will be the first to burn hydrogen blended with natural gas in mainland China. The project is expected to be operational in 2023 providing 1.34 GWe to the Guangdong province. Harbin will also provide steam for industrial processes at the chemical complex present in Huizhou. 

China’s energy policy includes a commitment to the coal-to-gas transition and reducing coal’s share to under 58% of the energy mix. Hydrogen-blended natural gas-fired generators have the lowest CO2 emissions of all fossil power generation fuels – a 10 % hydrogen-blended natural gas-fired combined cycle plant emits roughly 40 % of the CO2 of a similarly sized coal plant, and lower emissions levels for other pollutants such as mercury, NOx, SOx and particulate matter. 

A representative of Guandong Energy Group said: “This project will be foundational in promoting the use of hydrogen blending in power generation across other provinces”. Ma Jun, Utility Sales general manager of GE Gas Power China commented: “The units will initially operate on a blend of up to 10% hydrogen by volume, with potential for an increase in future.” 

The project marks the first localised 9HA.01 manufactured by the General Harbin Electric Gas Turbine joint venture in mainland China. The JV was formed in 2019 by GE and Harbin Electric as a joint effort to focus on heavy duty gas turbine localisation, aiming to deliver efficient support for natural and hydrogen-blended gas power plants in China. In addition, Harbin Electric will provide steam turbine, generator and balance-of-plant equipment for the Guangdong Huizhou power plant. 

GE’s H-Class gas turbine portfolio currently has the capability to burn up to 50 % by volume of hydrogen when blended with natural gas. This capability is enabled by the DLN2.6e combustion system that is standard on current 9HA.01/9HA.02/7HA.03 gas turbines offerings. The technology in this combustion system was developed as part of the US Department of Energy’s High Hydrogen Turbine programme, and enabled combustion of high hydrogen without diluent. This technology has enabled the DLN 2.6e combustion system to operate on blends of natural gas and hydrogen, and GE has a technology roadmap to achieve 100% hydrogen in this platform.