General Electric
GE industrial gas turbine fuel nozzles.

DoE Funding GE Research into Hydrogen Combustion

Oct. 13, 2022
General Electric aims to develop and test a retrofittable industrial gas turbine with fuel capability ranging from 100% natural gas to 100% hydrogen.

General Electric has secured $6.6 million of federal funding for its development effort seeking to adapt industrial gas-turbine engines for 100% hydrogen combustion. GE will receive the money from the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, to develop and test technologies to burn higher levels of hydrogen in its F-class gas turbine fleet, which presently has more than 1,600 units in place around world.

GE reported its research team will address the challenges associated with highly reactive hydrogen combustion dynamics, first by studying micro mixer and axial fuel staging technologies. Both technologies allow high load flexibility and have excellent premixing and operability over a range of fuels including up to 50% hydrogen.

The concepts will be tested at the Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research facility at the University of Central Florida and then validated at GE Gas Turbine Technology Laboratory in Greenville, S.C.

According to Jeffrey Goldmeer, emergent technologies director at GE Gas Power: “Our objective is to develop and test a retrofittable F-Class staged combustor module with fuel capability ranging from 100% natural gas to levels up to 100% hydrogen. This award represents another key milestone in GE’s efforts to provide power plant operators with retrofit options that will allow them to transition their GE gas turbine F-class assets, the largest fleet installed in the U.S, generating approximately 60% of power in the country,  to operation on hydrogen resulting in lower CO2 emissions while maintaining NOx levels and overall gas turbine performance—positioning our customers for a lower-carbon future.”

The GE project was one of six that DoE selected in May as part of its initiative to accelerate a transition carbon-free combustion.

Two other GE research projects were awarded DoE funds in the same program earlier this year. One will research how gas turbine efficiency can be improved for both simple- and combined-cycle power generation applications; and another will study highly reactive hydrogen fuels to address the challenges associated with this type of combustion dynamics.

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