Wärtsilä Awarded Prestigious Recognition by Environment+Energy Leader on Earth Day

HOUSTON, April 22, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Technology group Wärtsilä has received the Top Project of the Year Award for the Energy Innovation category in the Environment+Energy Leader Awards program for its leadership and participation in the A.J. Mihm power plant hydrogen fuel tests.

Wärtsilä, in collaboration with WEC Energy Group, the Electric Research Power Institute (EPRI), and Burns & McDonnell, carried out a hydrogen fuel demonstration project at WEC’s A.J. Mihm Generating Station. The tests, completed in October 2022, marked the first hydrogen power test of a utility-scale, grid-connected reciprocating engine generator in the world, and the largest internal combustion engine to ever operate continuously on a hydrogen fuel blend. The project, which incorporated 25% hydrogen fuel by volume, was conducted to support WEC’s goal to reduce carbon emissions from its electric generation fleet by 60% by the end of 2025; by 80% by the end of 2030 from 2005 levels; and to be net carbon neutral by 2050. The project was also conducted to demonstrate that internal combustion engine power plants have a key role to play in stabilizing an increasing amount of intermittent renewable energy being used for electric generation.

The hydrogen fuel tests were conducted using an unmodified 18 MW Wärtsilä 18V50SG gas-fired reciprocating engine. The parties involved tested fuel blends of up to 25 vol.% hydrogen mixed with natural gas, thus demonstrating the capability of the plant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining reliability. Throughout the testing period, the Wärtsilä 50SG engine continued to supply power to the grid, achieving a 95% load with a 25 vol% hydrogen blend, improving engine efficiency up to 0.75% at lower loads, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 9.1% while staying compliant with NOx emissions. Further testing showed that a 100% engine load was attainable with a 17 vol% H2 blend.

“This recognition on Earth Day underscores Wärtsilä’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and working towards a 100% renewable energy future. It demonstrates that power companies can convert existing gas power plants to run on cleaner, more sustainable fuels, thus lowering carbon emissions and providing a bridge for energy companies to continue providing reliable, affordable energy,” said Jon Rodriguez, Energy Business Director, Wärtsilä North America.

In its 12th year of administering the awards program, Environment+Energy Leader’s anonymous review process involves judges comprised of industry executives working in energy and environmental fields. Entries are scored on a numerical basis with an aggregate of the judges’ scores.

The A.J. Mihm power plant hydrogen fuel test project stood out to the judges for its exceptional contribution to energy innovation, setting a benchmark for innovation and sustainability in its category.

Some of the judges’ commendations include:

“This project exemplifies innovation, practicality, and environmental consciousness, setting a precedent for a greener energy landscape.”

“Wärtsilä’s endeavors pave the way for a more sustainable energy landscape, where innovation, safety, and compliance intersect. This project advances hydrogen technology and underscores the feasibility of integrating hydrogen into existing power plants.”

“The data presented is significant because it examines higher concentration H2 blends, looks at quantifying emissions, and uses an unmodified engine. The last of those criteria is the most important. Extra points or considering engine load compatibility with different gas admixture levels.”

“Real-world testing and re-testing to get concrete data rather than theorizing how it might be interesting is appreciated. Experimenting with unmodified equipment is bold and will push others to resist change less.”

“This is a good way to transform existing, in-place fossil fuel electricity generation into low to no carbon options.”

“Great project. We need to be doing this. The impact of the pilot is to set the stage for expansion. Impressive efficiency improvement. Not a silver bullet, but if we can use this as a fast transition for existing infrastructure, it can play an important role.”

Wärtsilä plans to continue pilot testing its engines with hydrogen blends into 2024 and is currently developing an engine and power plant concept to run on 100% pure hydrogen, expected to be available in 2026.

View the 2024 E+E Leader Award Winners eBook here.

Media contacts for more information on this release:

Molly Wright
General Manager, Marketing & Communications
Wärtsilä Energy
Mob: 346-277-8180

Elena Brennan
Wärtsilä North America
Mob: 269-377-4983

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Wärtsilä Energy in brief
Wärtsilä Energy leads the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. We help our partners to accelerate their decarbonization journeys through our market-leading technologies and power system modelling expertise. These cover decarbonization services, future-fuel enabled balancing power plants, hybrid solutions, energy storage and optimization technology, including the GEMS Digital Energy Platform. Wärtsilä Energy’s lifecycle services are designed to increase efficiency, promote reliability and guarantee operational performance. Our track record comprises 79 GW of power plant capacity and 125 energy storage systems delivered to 180 countries around the world.

Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in innovative technologies and lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. We emphasize innovation in sustainable technology and services to help our customers continuously improve environmental and economic performance. Our dedicated and passionate team of 17,800 professionals in more than 280 locations in 79 countries shape the decarbonization transformation of our industries across the globe. In 2023, Wärtsilä’s net sales totaled EUR 6.0 billion. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.

About the Environment+Energy Leader Awards
For well over a decade now, the Environment+Energy Leader Awards program has celebrated the exceptional advancements made in the realms of environmental, sustainability, and energy management. The awards recognize those who contribute and set new standards in the industry, setting a high standard for others to follow. Winners of the awards are seen as Leaders in environmental initiatives and energy management, with their achievements serving as benchmarks for excellence across the globe.

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