GE Vernova, IHI advance work on 100% ammonia-capable combustion system

U.S. GE Vernova’s business unit GE Gas Power and Japan’s IHI Corporation have signed a joint development agreement (JDA) to progress to the next phase of technology and engineering for the development of a new gas turbine combustor capable of using ammonia as a viable fuel option for power generation compatible with GE Vernova’s 6F.03, 7F and 9F gas turbines.

Courtesy of GE Vernova

In this engineering phase, combustion technology concepts will be evaluated for their ability to meet key operational requirements and the impact on the entire power plant, IHI said, adding that the two parties plan to develop a two-stage combustor configured to burn up to 100% ammonia to comply with emission requirements.

In addition to installation for new builds, the new combustor is expected to offer an alternative path to decarbonize existing gas turbine power plants.

“Without replacing the existing gas turbine, power plants operating on conventional fuels can be upgraded to operate on fuel that does not produce carbon emissions when combusted by simply changing the natural gas combustor to a new ammonia combustor with minimum upgrades to the fuel system and associated balance of plant systems,” IHI stated.

Combustion testing for the maturation of the new combustor design will take place in IHI’s facilities in Japan, IHI noted, adding that as anticipated in the October 2023 three-way memorandum of understanding (MoU) between IHI, GE Vernova and Singapore’s Sembcorp, the potential ammonia combustor retrofitting can be explored at Sembcorp’s Sakra power plant in Singapore-powered by GE Vernova’s 9F gas turbine.

To note, this collaboration follows multiple memorandums of understanding (MoUs) between the companies, and according to IHI, builds upon its development of a 2-megawatt (MW) gas turbine using 100% liquid ammonia.

Kensuke Yamamoto, IHI VP of Business Development HQ’s and GM of the Ammonia Value Chain Project Department, commented: “Among the various hydrogen carriers, ammonia represents a truly viable pathway to decarbonization for fuel importers like Japan. Ammonia is characterized by high volumetric hydrogen density and has well-established handling infrastructure deployed globally.”

“IHI’s ammonia combustion technologies can enable the direct use of ammonia as a carbon-neutral fuel. This joint development with GE Vernova to decarbonize utility-scale power generation across the world is part of our mission to develop an ammonia value chain to accelerate the global transition to Net Zero.”

Jeffrey Goldmeer, GE Vernova Director of Hydrogen Value Chain, said: “Following two years of joint studies on the economics of the ammonia value chain, we are now thrilled to ink a new chapter in our collaboration with IHI and proceed to the next phase of technology and engineering as agreed in our Ammonia Roadmap to develop decarbonization pathways that can future-proof existing investments in power generation.”

“With GE Vernova’s expertise in engineering and manufacturing of gas turbine combustion systems and balance of plant systems, and IHI’s know-how in ammonia combustion technology, we’ll be focused on the technological development and technical deliverables, aiming for the validation of the combustion technology in the next two years, and to a potential commercially available product by 2030.”

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