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GE announces revolutionary power plant transformation — here’s what the project will do

The study is expected to take two years to complete.

The study is expected to take two years to complete.

Photo Credit: iStock

A recently announced project by General Electric to transform a power plant in Morocco is set to bring revolutionary environmental benefits to Africa.

In a news release published Jan. 30, it was announced that GE Vernova’s Gas Power business, the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water, and the Moroccan company Nareva signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on a feasibility study that will lead to solutions to reduce carbon pollution released by the Laâyoune Power Plant. 

The plant, which is powered by three GE Vernova 6B heavy-duty gas turbines, will reportedly be the first facility in Africa to use green hydrogen to power GE Vernova’s gas turbines.

The collaboration is part of a continued effort to “bolster Morocco’s energy transition towards a lower-carbon future rapidly, especially in the power generation sector,” the release stated.

Green hydrogen is a clean-burning fuel that is produced using renewable energy sources to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The process is known as electrolysis. When the hydrogen is used as fuel, it doesn’t release any harmful carbon pollution into the atmosphere.

The 99-megawatt Laâyoune Thermal Power Plant is powered by heavy oil fuel. The first step in the collaboration between ONEE, Nareva, and GE Vernova will be to convert the gas turbine to 100% hydrogen. 

The study is expected to take two years to complete, but the results will provide solutions that will lead to the full-scale integration of the gas turbines with green hydrogen, which would then facilitate 100% decarbonization of the power plant.

“With ambitious low-carbon energy projects under construction throughout the country, Morocco reinforces its position among global leaders in sustainable energy. The current renewable installed capacity is 4672 MW. Further renewable projects under development and construction will add more than 5 gigawatts of installed capacity across the country,” said Abderrahim El Hafidi, CEO of ONEE.

The release noted that Morocco plans to expand renewable electricity capacity from its share of 40% to 52% by 2030.

“Nareva will build on its recognized experience in renewable power to actively contribute to the advancement of the country’s energy goals, as well as to the competitive decarbonation of the continent,” said Aymane Taud, CEO of Nareva. “We are thrilled to explore the complementary opportunities between renewable energy, hydrogen production, and efficient gas-fired combustion technologies to provide our country with efficient, flexible power plants that also produce less CO2.”

GE Vernova’s expertise with wind turbines, solar and energy storage solutions, grid systems, and power conversion technologies will be key elements to enable the green hydrogen value chain, the release noted.

“We look forward to joining forces to provide a reliable and less carbon-intense source of reserve power that will also be a major contributor to mitigating the variability of the grid,” said Joseph Anis, president and CEO for GE Vernova’s Gas Power business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. 

“Rapid renewable energy growth presents system operators and energy providers with the increasingly difficult task of continuously ensuring grid stability. Highly flexible gas turbines can complement variable renewable energy and help stabilize the grid with reliable power supply,” Anis added. 

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