Wärtsilä and WEC Energy Group announced the successful test of a commercially operating Wärtsila engine running on a 25% hydrogen blend.

Testing was completed in October 2022 at WEC’s 55 MW A.J. Mihm power plant in Michigan, using an unmodified Wärtsilä 50SG engine.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) also participated in the tests and led the assessment of the engine’s performance. Over three days of testing, EPRI found there were improvements in engine efficiency and reduced emissions, while staying compliant with NOx emissions.

A 95% engine load was achieved with the 25% hydrogen blend. Further testing showed that with a 17% hydrogen blend, a 100% engine load was attainable.

The EPRI report states that this class of engines can maintain its higher efficiency compared to simple-cycle gas turbines. Because engines in general have higher efficiency, their relative CO2 output compared to turbines will also be lower, as was shown in this study.

Wärtsilä said this was the largest commercially operated flexible balancing engine ever to run on a hydrogen fuel blend.

“We continue developing and futureproofing our engines to run on sustainable fuels and expect to have an engine and power plant concept for operating with pure hydrogen available by 2026,” said Anja Frada, Chief Operating Officer for Wärtsilä Energy.

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