Wärtsilä is to collaborate with the Portuguese independent power producer Capwatt in the testing of a green hydrogen and natural gas blend fuel for Capwatt power plant located in Maia. The project will start in Q1, 2023 and it aims at testing blends of up to 10 vol.% green hydrogen. The combined heat and power plant which provides energy for Sonae Campus and the national grid currently operates with a 34SG engine running on natural gas. This will be an early case for Wärtsilä using green hydrogen in an existing gas fuelled Wärtsilä power plant.
The engine on site is already capable of operating on gas with up to 3% hydrogen. In order to reach the targeted level of 10% blending to meet the specific needs for Capwatt, modifications will be made to the engine, as well as its control system and the plant automation system. Capwatt intends to produce green hydrogen using an electrolyser, powered by renewable energy.
“We are committed to decarbonising our operations and we see the blending of hydrogen and natural gas for fuelling this plant as a significant step towards achieving this goal” commented Sérgio Rocha, CEO at Capwatt.
“This project … shows how existing power plants can take steps towards carbon-neutral power generation,” said Sushil Purohit, president, Wärtsilä Energy.
The project is in line with the country’s National Hydrogen Strategy, which aims to increase the share of hydrogen in energy consumption by 5% by 2030 in the industry sector. During the coming decade, the aim is to have 2.0 to 2.5 GW of installed hydrogen producing capacity, and to have 10 to 15% hydrogen injected into the natural gas grid.
Wärtsilä engines can be operated on hydrogen/natural gas blends with up to 25% hydrogen, and the company is working towards an engine and power plant concept for pure hydrogen operations by 2025.