On the journey to decarbonised energy production it helps to have a map. But because various unforeseen things can – and probably will – happen along the way, it’s important to be able to stay flexible with your chosen route.
For our third and final video in this series we again dropped two more of our experts onto the seesaw for an informative, if slightly awkward, chat. This time Nina Berg and Fredrik Östman discuss how Wärtsilä can help its customers create a 100% decarbonised energy system. Nina and Fredrik have only ever met in online meetings up to now, so suddenly coming face to face for the first time in such an odd setting is a bit of a surprise. To make matters even stranger, both experts are joined by a customer who, rather than taking the form of a shiny blue hat or a voice on the phone, appears in person to whisper questions into their ear as they bounce up and down uneasily.
Fredrik’s customer, David, asks the first big question: “What does Wärtsilä have to offer when it comes to the decarbonisation of energy systems?”
Nina’s bounces back her answer: by efficiently combining renewable energy production and balancing engine power plants, you can immediately decarbonise 80–90% of your power production. The remaining 10–20% can be achieved by switching to carbon-free future fuels such as hydrogen or methanol.
At Wärtsilä, we’re researching various sustainable fuels in order to provide customers with future-proof solutions to support the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future.
Hydrogen will play a major role in developing sustainable fuels and provides a variety of possibilities. In the future it will be possible to use pure hydrogen as a fuel to help mitigate climate change. Green hydrogen, produced using renewable energy, can also be used as a raw material for producing other renewable synthetic fuels, such as methane or methanol, while utilising existing infrastructure.
This piques David’s interest and he whispers another question into Fredrik’s rapidly warming ear: “If I would like to move towards hydrogen, what do I need to do to my power plant?”
Once again, Nina is first past the post with the answer, explaining that Wärtsilä engines are already capable of combusting 100% synthetic carbon-neutral methane and methanol. Our engines are already capable of using up to 25% hydrogen blended with natural gas – and pure hydrogen solutions are under continuous investigation.
David then asks another important question: “Because there will be a lot of different fuels in the future, will I be stuck with the power plant I buy today?”
It’s now Fredrik’s turn to put David’s mind at ease with a firm “No”. Wärtsilä is continuously developing our technology and testing fuels to make sure that engine power plants will be able to use whichever future
fuels become available and commercially viable. We also have upgrade and conversion packages available, and in some cases only minimal tuning
may be needed to enable the switch to a different fuel. This flexibility and convertibility ensures that power producers won’t be stuck with stranded assets.
For his final question, David asks what it’s like to convert a power plant. Nina brings in her colleague Lisa to answer this one, although no one seems to know which side she is due appear from, which certainly doesn’t help matters.
Wärtsilä will have conversion packages for hydrogen engine power plants and also have the capability to develop ammonia and methanol conversions when required. The current understanding is that the bulk of the engine will remain unchanged, with
the majority of the needed changes being to the fuel supply and control systems. In order to ensure successful conversions, we use existing parts as much as possible as that is the most cost-efficient way to future proof a plant.
David seems happy with the answers, so all that’s left is for Nina and Fredrik, along with David and Lisa, to bring our video series to a close with a jaw-dropping crescendo of awkwardness that puts all others in the shade.
Find out what the power of balance can do for your business – contact Wärtsilä to discuss more.