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Gas Turbine Power & Energy

Gas turbine to operate on 100% hydrogen in Australian project

At its recent 20th Annual Meeting in Florence, Italy, Baker Hughes, a GE company, announced the signing of an agreement with H2U, Australia’s leading Hydrogen infrastructure developer. The aggreement calls for the use of  BHGE’s NovaLT gas turbine generator technology to operate 100 percent on hydrogen for the Port Lincoln Project, a green hydrogen power plant facility in South Australia.

Working with Thyssenkrupp, H2U will construct a 30 megawatt (MW) water electrolysis plant, as well as a facility for sustainable ammonia production, near Port Lincoln in South Australia.      

The project the project will integrate new hydrogen technologies, including a 15MW electrolyser plant, a distributed ammonia production facility, and a 10MW hydrogen-­fired gas turbine and a 5MW hydrogen fuel cell, which will both supply power to the grid. It is due for completion in 2020 and will be one of the first commercial plants to produce carbon dioxide-free green ammonia from intermittent renewable resources.

The green ammonia can be used as an industrial fertiliser for farmers and aquaculture operators.

H2U CEO Attilio Pigneri said, “NovaLT generators were chosen for the green hydrogen power plant facility because they could operate on 100 per cent hydrogen at all times”.

 

“The annular combustor design and dual-shaft configuration will enable the unit to deliver a best-in-class black-start capability while still operating on 100 per cent hydrogen,” Pigneri said.

“We are impressed by the operating flexibility of the platform and its ability to operate at a low to no-load capacity, then ramp-up very quickly to full load.

“This means we can use the units to support critical loads within the Port Lincoln facility, while also contributing generation to the grid during periods of low wind or solar output.

 

The hydrogen is also produced by the electrolysis plant on site, so we have a truly self-contained solution to firming renewable energy supply within the South Australia grid.”

Luca Maria Rossi, Chief Technology Officer of Turbomachinery Process & Solutions at BHGE said, “The collaboration with H2U is aimed at ensuring the NOx emissions of a 100% Hydrogen fired turbine can be managed within applicable limits”

“Building on our previous experience with hydrogen fuelled generation in the Fusina project, we can deliver the same world-leading capabilities and the design features of the NovaLT platform while operating on 100% hydrogen.”

“As the cost of renewable energy continues to decrease globally, hydrogen is the perfect energy vector to time-shift renewable electricity generation to meet demand.”

“South Australia is at the forefront of both renewable generation and hydrogen infrastructure developments and we are very pleased to be able to work with H2U to showcase our products in this important market.”

The Port Lincoln facility is one of 21 projects to receive funding from the South Australian Government’s Renewable Technology Fund, designed to accelerate investment in the next generation of renewable technologies. Other projects include microgrids, virtual power plants, grid-scale batteries, and pumped hydro projects.

H2U CEO Dr Attilio Pigneri said NovaLT generators were chosen for the green hydrogen power plant facility because they could operate on 100 per cent hydrogen at all times.

 

“The annular combustor design and dual-shaft configuration will enable the unit to deliver a best-in-class black-start capability while still operating on 100 per cent hydrogen,” Dr Pigneri said.

“We are impressed by the operating flexibility of the platform and its ability to operate at a low to no-load capacity, then ramp-up very quickly to full load.

“This means we can use the units to support critical loads within the Port Lincoln facility, while also contributing generation to the grid during periods of low wind or solar output.

 

The hydrogen is also produced by the electrolysis plant on site, so we have a truly self-contained solution to firming renewable energy supply within the South Australia grid.”

Dr Pigneri said the cost of hydrogen generated from electrolysis using cheap wind and solar energy was now comparable with the cost of natural gas in South Australia.

The Port Lincoln plant is situated beside a facility that produces ammonia from hydrogen via electrolysis. Some of that hydrogen can be deployed for peaking power when there are favorable market conditions, or as standby power in the event of a grid outage. The plant can either use grid supply, on-site solar power or hydrogen-powered electricity as required.

With no natural gas pipeline infrastructure nearby, hydrogen-powered turbines were the best option. Up to two BHGE NovaLT16 GTs will operate at the facility, which will be able to produce up to 40 MW.

“The NovaLT 16’s annular combustor is needed to startup and progressively fire up hydrogen generation without misfires,” said Pigneri. “As it is an aeroderivative gas turbine, it can withstand high temperatures, is easy to maintain, and can ramp rapidly.”

BHGE is building on its experience with hydrogen-fueled gas turbine combustion system developed for the Fusina plant in Venice (Italy) to ready the NovaLT16 for the H2U project. The combustion chamber will be modified to run on 100% hydrogen. BHGE plans to tune the design with a full-scale annular rig test at the Sesta Laboratory in Italy, as well as with single-capacity tests in its Florence facilities. Final validation of the modified combustor will be done in the prototype engine.

In addition, control software will be adjusted and minor improve

ments will be made to the package. NOx emissions of the hydrogen-fired turbine will be managed within acceptable limits.

 

“The capability to ramp up within minutes is critical as the Australian grid operates at five-minute intervals,” said Luca Maria Rossi Chief Technology Officer of Turbomachinery Process & Solutions at BHGE. “The NovaLT16 turbines will support critical loads within the Port Lincoln facility, while also contributing generation to the grid during periods of low wind or solar output.”

Construction at Power Lincoln will begin in 2020 with commissioning and commercial operation slated for either late 2020 or early 2021.

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