• Consortium Exploring Ammonia Retrofit to GE Gas Turbines in Singapore

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      Greg Kelsall

Sembcorp Industries, IHI Corporation and GE Vernova have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly explore the potential retrofitting of Sembcorp’s Sakra power plant in Singapore with ammonia-firing capabilities. The Sakra power plant is a gas fired combined cycle, operational since 2001, comprising two GE 9FA gas turbines with a combined 815 MWe output.  In 2014, the plant was fitted with a third gas turbine combined cycle comprising a GT26 gas turbine, with an additional output of 400 MWe. The plant produces power for the grid and process steam for chemical and petrochemical facilities nearby.

The partnership is an extension of an earlier MoU between Sembcorp and IHI in 2022 to explore decarbonisation pathways for the power and industrial sector, in particular ammonia direct combustion systems. The partnership also builds upon a separate cooperation between IHI and GE Vernova on developing a retrofittable, 100% ammonia-capable combustion system that is compatible with specific GE Vernova turbine models. According to an article in Power, GE and IHI

agreed to conduct research on the marketplace volume of ammonia, as well as feasibility studies for ammonia as feedstock for gas plant installations in Japan and Asia. This included a year long Japan-focused study, mapping a value stream for hydrogen and ammonia from their points of production to their point of use as fuel in a power-generating gas turbine. The study suggests that ammonia could be a potentially lower-cost alternative fuel for gas turbines in Japan than liquid hydrogen if the full import value stream is considered.

Koh Chiap Khiong, CEO, Singapore & Southeast Asia, Sembcorp Industries, said, “Sembcorp Cogen at Sakra was Singapore’s largest and most efficient cogeneration plant when it was commissioned in 2001. We are now taking the next step to support decarbonisation efforts through the potential retrofitting of the power plant with ammonia-firing capabilities. As a pioneer in adopting technologies to reduce carbon footprint, Sembcorp remains committed to decarbonising the power generation sector and driving energy transition.”

Jun Kobayashi, Board Director, Managing Executive Officer, IHI Corporation, said, “IHI is developing ammonia combustion technologies and infrastructure solutions that can be safely retrofitted to existing power generation facilities, thereby establishing true reductions in carbon emissions. The ability to retrofit such technologies also provides decarbonisation pathways that future-proof existing investments in power generation.”

The project will potentially assist Sembcorp to generate low-carbon energy from its existing power plant assets and support Singapore’s efforts to diversify its energy sources and decarbonise the power sector. This is also expected to bolster industry confidence for the development of an ammonia value chain in Singapore.