At Georgia Power's Plant McDonough-Atkinson in Smyrna, Georgia, Mitsubishi Power and Georgia Power, in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), successfully validated fuel blending of hydrogen and natural gas at both partial and full load on an M501G natural gas turbine. The demonstration project was the first in North America to validate 20%* hydrogen fuel blending on an advanced class gas turbine, and it was also the largest test of its kind to date, with the 20% mix reducing carbon emissions by about 7% compared to natural gas.
Georgia Power, the largest electric subsidiary of Southern Company, collaborated with Mitsubishi Power for the landmark testing as part of a continued commitment to new research and development (R&D) to build the energy grid of the future and to reduce carbon emissions across its generation fleet, with Georgia Power having already reduced its carbon emissions by more than 60% since 2007.
The Plant McDonough-Atkinson facility, located less than 10 miles from downtown Atlanta, has served electric customers for more than 80 years and was fully converted to natural gas in 2012 and expanded to power up to 1.7 million homes. It currently operates six state-of-the-art, large-capacity M501G series gas turbines, which deliver high performance and high efficiency, as well as three steam turbines running in three blocks of 2-on-1 combined-cycle configuration.
Mitsubishi Power completed the hydrogen blending on one M501G gas turbine unit with an approximate output of 265 MW by utilizing some results of a project commissioned by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Japan’s national research and development agency. Dry low NOx (DLN) hydrogen blending was successful at up to 20% at the designed 100% natural gas firing temperature, within emissions compliance for the existing air permit, and without impact on the maintenance intervals. The team also confirmed improved turndown by testing up to 20% hydrogen at minimum emissions-compliant load.
Mitsubishi Power provided full turnkey service for this project including engineering, planning, hydrogen blending hardware, controls, commissioning and risk management. Mitsubishi Power partnered with Certarus to source and manage the hydrogen supply. This project builds upon Mitsubishi Power’s hydrogen combustion experience and ongoing hydrogen combustion development for 100% hydrogen DLN combustion at the company’s facility at Takasago Works in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. This site encompasses the development, design and manufacture of gas turbines, as well as demonstration and verification. The company recently announced it will establish a Takasago Hydrogen Park, which started construction in quarter one of 2022. It will be the world’s first center for validation of hydrogen-related technologies. With this comprehensive capability, the company is working toward commercializing highly reliable, carbon-free power generation technologies and products, including tests and collaboration with partners around the world on a path to 100% hydrogen firing for small- and large-frame gas turbines in the future.
“This monumental hydrogen demonstration project at Plant McDonough-Atkinson is another example of how, at Georgia Power and Southern Company, we are building the future of energy, today. This demonstration helps pave the way for long-term clean and carbon-free use for already existing infrastructure. Making these smart investments today on behalf of our customers ensures we can continue to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy as Georgia grows and thrives for decades to come,” said Allen Reaves, Senior Vice President and Senior Production Officer, Georgia Power. “This kind of research and development not only delivers long-term value for our customers, but also helps drive the entire energy industry forward toward a cleaner, carbon-free future. We’re proud to be playing an important role in that and excited about what we’ve been able to accomplish with our partner, Mitsubishi Power Americas.”
Mark Bissonnette, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Power Generation, Mitsubishi Power Americas, said, “Mitsubishi Power is dedicated to our mission of providing power generation and storage solutions to our customers, empowering them to affordably and reliably combat climate change and advance human prosperity. The hydrogen blending demonstration project at Plant McDonough-Atkinson brings us closer to reaching net-zero goals across the industry. Together with our customers and partners, we are creating a Change in Power.”
Southern Company’s industry-leading R&D organization served as technical consultant on the project. The team is engaged domestically and internationally in research focused on low-carbon hydrogen power generation, production, delivery, transportation, infrastructure and energy storage. Southern Company leads demonstrations with the U.S. Department of Energy covering the full value chain of a hydrogen economy and believes there is a compelling opportunity for hydrogen technology to deliver a sustainable energy future.
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), an independent, non-profit energy research and development organization, supported the development of the project. EPRI researchers were on-site during the testing, and the organization will publish a detailed report on the testing and results later this summer. EPRI delivers thought leadership and technical expertise through projects such as this one, as well as programs such as the Low-Carbon Resources Initiative.
Neva Espinoza, EPRI Vice President of Energy Supply and Low-Carbon Resources, said, "Accelerating low-carbon technology development is essential to achieve net-zero targets by mid-century. This successful hydrogen demonstration test reinforces the significant, game-changing role that this and other low-carbon technologies can play to help reach economy-wide decarbonization. EPRI’s future-focused collaboration with Georgia Power and Mitsubishi Power Americas is helping bring net-zero goals within reach.”