Wärtsilä is pioneering the adoption of hydrogen and together with our customer WEC Energy Group we have successfully completed hydrogen blend tests on an unmodified Wärtsilä engine. This is the first time a test at this scale has been carried out in the world, making Wärtsilä 50SG the largest grid-connected balancing engine to operate on a hydrogen blend.
Wärtsilä's hydrogen blend tests at WEC Energy Groups A.J. Mihm power plant in Michigan proved that engine technology can deliver future-proof power solutions for decarbonised operations. The unmodified Wärtsilä 50SG engine supplied power to the grid throughout the three-day testing period, achieving a 95% load with a 25 vol% hydrogen blend, improving engine efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions while staying compliant with NOx emissions. A 100% engine load was attainable with a 17 vol% H2 blend.
The tests were validated by Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), who led the assessment and confirmed that blending hydrogen with natural gas for use in existing Wärtsilä engines is feasible, safe, and reliable. The EPRI report states that this class of engines maintain higher efficiency compared to simple-cycle gas turbines while co-firing hydrogen, resulting in lower relative CO2 output.
This class of engines can maintain higher efficiency compared to simple-cycle gas turbines while co-firing hydrogen.
The results are a significant milestone in the adoption of hydrogen as a fuel source for engines. We invest in fuel flexibility and continue researching and testing various sustainable fuels in our engines to provide customers with future-proof solutions that support the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future.
The tests with WEC Energy Group showcased that our engines can run on 25% hydrogen blend without modifications. We are continuously developing and futureproofing our engines to run on sustainable fuels and expect to have an engine and power plant concept for operating with pure hydrogen available by 2026. The learnings from the Wärtsilä and WEC Energy Group's demonstration project with EPRI will be shared with the energy industry to further progress toward deep decarbonisation targets.