On 16 November Dr Mohamed Shaker El-Markabi, Egypt’s minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, announced the successful operation of a GE LM6000 aeroderivative gas turbine on hydrogen–natural gas blended fuel at the Sharm El Sheikh power plant. Demonstrations of the unit running on the mixed fuel ran at various times during the United Nations COP27 conference being hold at Sharm El Sheikh.
The ‘proof of concept’ project is intended to illustrate that it is possible to generate lower carbon, reliable, on demand power by burning hydrogen-blended fuels in gas turbines. The project was executed five months after a strategic co-operation agreement 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.
The Sharm El Sheikh plant is owned by EEHC. 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. PGESCO helped design the project and provided engineering expertise.
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 not just to the successful completion of the project, but also to a significant transfer of knowledge and local capacity building in the utilisation of hydrogen as a fuel for power generation.