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Georgia Power, Mitsubishi Complete World’s Largest Hydrogen Fuel Blending 

June 13, 2022 by Dan McCue
Plant McDonough-Atkinson near Atlanta (Georgia Power)

SMYRNA, Ga. — Georgia Power and Mitsubishi Power have validated fuel blending of hydrogen and natural gas at both partial and full load on an M501G natural gas turbine at Georgia Power’s McDonough-Atkinson power plant.

The demonstration project, which was carried out with the Electric Power Research Institute in Washington, D.C., was the first to validate 20% hydrogen fuel blending on an advanced class gas turbine in North America.

Best of all, the companies report, the 20% blend provided an approximately 7% reduction in carbon emissions compared with natural gas.

Officials with Georgia Power said the utility collaborated with Mitsubishi Power for the landmark testing as part of a continued commitment to new research and development to build the energy grid of the future and to reduce carbon emissions across its generation fleet.

The Plant McDonough-Atkinson facility, located less than 10 miles from downtown Atlanta, Georgia, 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 two-on-one combined-cycle configuration.

According to a joint statement from the companies, 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, Japan’s national research and development agency.

To do so, Mitsubishi Power partnered with Certarus, a gas delivery service headquartered in Calgary, Canada, to source and manage the hydrogen supply, and before it was done, it provided Georgia Power with a full turnkey service for the project including engineering, planning, hydrogen blending hardware, controls, commissioning and risk management. 

“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,” said Allen Reaves, senior vice president and senior production officer for Georgia Power, in a written statement.

“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,” Reaves said.

Mark Bissonnette, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Power Generation at Mitsubishi Power Americas, agreed. 

“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,” Bissonnette said in a written statement.

The hydrogen blending demonstration project at Plant McDonough-Atkinson brings us closer to reaching net-zero goals across the industry.

Neva Espinoza, vice president of energy supply and low-carbon resources, was equally enthused by the outcome of the demonstration project, saying it “reinforces the significant, game-changing role that this and other low-carbon technologies can play to help reach economy-wide decarbonization.”

“Accelerating low-carbon technology development is essential to achieve net-zero targets by mid-century,” Espinoza added. “Our future-focused collaboration with Georgia Power and Mitsubishi Power Americas is helping bring net-zero goals within reach.”

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and @DanMcCue

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