GE runs gas turbine on hydrogen blend at Sharm El Sheikh plant

Sharm El Sheikh Power Plant
Sharm El Sheikh Power Plant. Image: GE

Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh power plant has successfully operated a GE LM6000 aeroderivative gas turbine on hydrogen–natural gas blended fuel.

The mixed fuel demonstrations ran throughout COP27 and represents the first time GE’s LM6000 gas turbine was run on a hydrogen fuel blend on the African continent.

The project resulted from a cooperation agreement between Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC), GE, Hassan Allam Construction, and Egyptian EPC company PGESCO and forms part of the country’s emergency supply power programme.

EEHC owns and operates the Sharm El Sheikh plant. GE led the conception, planning, and execution of the project, as well as the building of the hydrogen-natural gas blending system.

Hassan Allam supplied the manpower and equipment needed for installation, related civil works, hydrogen needed for testing, and the piping and cabling system that transported hydrogen to the mixing skid and the turbine. PGESCO helped design the project and provided engineering expertise.

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Joseph Anis, president and CEO of GE Gas Power in EMEA, said in a statement: “We were honored to design the overall hydrogen-natural gas demonstration project at Sharm El Sheikh. This is an excellent example of what it means to be together for implementation.”

The project illustrates that while hydrogen does present certain challenges with transportation, storage, and use at site for power generation, those obstacles can be overcome with the right arrangements, training, and precautions.

Also, according to GE, the successful adaptation of an existing installed unit to run on hydrogen-blended fuel also highlights that today’s gas power generation assets can be a destination technology, not just a bridging technology, as the world scales up the production of hydrogen.

This is important for countries that have made considerable investments of billions of dollars in these assets.

Ahmed Ramadan, chief executive of PGESCO said the project was “a milestone in Africa and the region, illuminating how we can use hydrogen-blended fuels for future energy production”.

The LM6000 gas turbine operates in the +40MW space on a wide variety of fuels including natural gas, LPG (propane and butane), isopentane, ethanol, diesel, and coke oven gas.

With around five minutes to ramp up from start-up to full power, the turbine provides a faster frequency control response, according to GE.

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