Hanwha Impact, the Korean energy and investment company, recently made a significant leap in the energy sector by developing an 80-megawatt hydrogen gas turbine.
The turbine operates on a record-breaking blend of 59.5 percent hydrogen – surpassing the initial target of 50 percent, making it the highest hydrogen blend rate for a commercially operable gas turbine.
The company successfully completed a trial run in April, demonstrating that its turbine could burn a blended fuel with significant hydrogen content, co-fired with liquefied natural gas (LNG). The accomplishment is seen as a significant milestone in the quest for cleaner, more sustainable energy sources, with the potential to dramatically reduce gas consumption and carbon emissions.
Lee Ok-heon, director-general for the Hydrogen Economy Policy Bureau at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, said during a demonstration ceremony, “If Korea’s LNG plants can use 50 percent hydrogen content, it will cut gas consumption by more than 20 percent.”
The ceremony hosted by Hanwha Impact, held at its Daesan plant in Seosan, South Chungcheong, attracted a range of attendees from government and industry, including Hanwha Corporation Co-CEO Kim Seung-mo and Seosan Mayor Lee Wan-seob.
The company believes this breakthrough in hydrogen and ammonia co-firing technology will turn Korea into a hub for carbon neutrality despite concerns about potential impacts on the local economy.
During the demonstration, three different types of fuels were used in the turbine: LNG, by-product hydrogen from Hanwha TotalEnergies, and 100 percent hydrogen gas stored in cylindrical tanks. A real-time monitor displayed a fluctuating hydrogen blend rate hovering around the 50 percent mark.
Aiming to reduce carbon emissions during power generation and ultimately replace fossil fuels such as LNG with hydrogen, Hanwha Impact retrofitted an old LNG turbine relocated from a power plant run by Korea Western Power in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi.
The newly retrofitted hydrogen gas turbine has shown promising results, reducing CO2 emissions by 22 percent and yielding low NOx emissions of 6 parts per million (ppm), well below the 20 ppm cap in Korea.
While overseas projects have achieved higher hydrogen capacities for smaller gas turbines, Hanwha Impact’s achievement marks the first time a mid-to-large-size gas turbine has reached a nearly 60 percent hydrogen blend rate.
If all LNG turbines in Korea, which produced 66 million tons of carbon emissions in 2021, were modified for 50 percent hydrogen co-firing, emissions could decrease by more than 16 million tons a year.
With a national goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent to 436.6 million tons by 2030, Hanwha Impact’s achievements represent a significant step forward. The company is also participating in a government-backed project to develop a 150-megawatt hydrogen gas turbine and aims to achieve 100 percent hydrogen capability.