The technology group Wärtsilä will collaborate with the Portuguese energy solutions provider and independent power producer Capwatt to test green hydrogen and natural gas blend fuel for Capwatt power plant located in Maia, Portugal.
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 Wärtsilä 34SG engine running on natural gas. This will be one of the first cases where green hydrogen is used to lessen the carbon footprint of an existing gas-fueled Wärtsilä power plant.
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.
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 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. Wärtsilä already has engine generating sets operating successfully on a natural gas and hydrogen blend in a newbuild power plant at an offshore floating testbed in Singapore.
Sérgio Rocha, CEO at Capwatt, said, “We are committed to decarbonising our operations and we see the blending of hydrogen and natural gas for fueling this plant as a significant step towards achieving this goal.”
Sushil Purohit, President, Wärtsilä Energy, commented, “As a technology, the combustion engine represents a viable solution for enabling the transformation to utilising future fuels.”