Development of Hydrogen Fueled Power Generation Technologies

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Hydrogen gas turbine cogeneration system demonstration facility (Kobe Port Island)

Dry low NOx hydrogen fueled combustor


To realize a hydrogen supply chain, it is important to lower the price of hydrogen to around the current price of fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas. The demand and consumption of large amounts of hydrogen will lead to a hydrogen cost reduction through economies of scale.

One of the most effective utilization of hydrogen energy is the hydrogen gas turbine power generation. If CO₂-free hydrogen is used in power plants that use large amounts of energy, the impact on CO₂ reduction will be very large.

Kawasaki is currently developing clean hydrogen combustion technology and in the process of verifying that technology for hydrogen fueled power generation, with the aim of achieving hydrogen fueled power generation using small- and medium-sized gas turbine power generation systems. In 2018, we successfully operated the world’s first hydrogen fueled power generation in an urban area, and we have been improving such technologies to achieve higher performance and cleaner power generation.



According to "Green Growth Strategy Through Achieving Carbon Neutrality" formulated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, social implementation of hydrogen fueled power generation is expected to be promoted from around 2025. If hydrogen can be utilized as fuel for power generation in place of natural gas, that will lead to mass hydrogen utilization and contribute greatly to the realization of a hydrogen energy supply chain. Although fuel cells have been already introduced to generate electricity with hydrogen, the use of gas turbines is promising to enjoy economies of scale with their large power generation capacity.

Although gas turbines can adapt to a variety of fuels including hydrogen, it burns with a flame velocity about 7 times faster than that of natural gas and at a higher combustion temperature. For this reason, technically, burners that use hydrogen need to overcome a range of problems such as fuel nozzle burnout, unstable combustion, and increasing NOx emission. In practice, this means that advanced technology is required in order to develop a combustor that can cope with the characteristics of hydrogen combustion.

Kawasaki has developed a proprietary technology of combustion using only hydrogen or natural gas as well as any mixture of them. The newly developed combustion technology enables the conventional natural gas turbine to be utilized without modification to its main body, and the whole turbine system to be capable of adapting to the hydrogen's unique combustion property, that is, existing gas turbines will be able to adapt to hydrogen fuel only by modifying the combustor.

Some of our efforts are shown below.


(1) Demonstration of hydrogen fueled gas turbine power generation technologies

In fiscal 2018, as a grant project by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), called the Development of Smart Community Technology by Utilization of Hydrogen CGS (Co-Generation System), under the coordination of Obayashi Corporation, in cooperation with Kobe City, the Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., Iwatani Corporation, and others, Kawasaki successfully conducted a technological demonstration of gas turbine cogeneration, the key to hydrogen utilization, in an urban area.

We installed our 1 MW gas turbine on Kobe Port Island, and it successfully supplied heat and electricity to neighboring public facilities. This is the first time in the world that a hydrogen fueled gas turbine was operated in an urban area.

(2) Development of dry low NOx hydrogen combustion technology

In response to the issue of increasing NOx emission with higher flame temperature, Kawasaki applied a technology to inject water for lowering the flame temperature, but in fact this slightly worsens the fuel economy. So Kawasaki developed Dry Low NOx combustion technology fueled by 100% hydrogen as a totally new idea to overcome this issue. The principle is to subdivide the fuel and eject it from tiny nozzles roughly the diameter of the core of a mechanical pencil, so that the fuel burns in a “micro-flame.” With this combustor, it is possible to burn 100% hydrogen while suppressing NOx emission without water injection.

In May 2020, as a grant project by NEDO, called “Development and Demonstration Project for Low-NOx Hydrogen-fueled Gas Turbine Combustion Technology”, we started demonstration operation of the gas turbine engine with this combustor installed in the hydrogen gas turbine cogeneration system demonstration plant shown in (1), and successfully generated power using dry low NOx hydrogen gas turbine for the first time in the world.


We believe our hydrogen combustion technology and hydrogen fueled gas turbine will make it possible to use hydrogen as fuel for gas turbines, like natural gas, and can greatly contribute to the realization of a hydrogen-based society and a decarbonized society.



Kawasaki has been working on the projects with partners below.

(1) “Development of Smart Community Technology by Utilization of Hydrogen CGS (Co-Generation System)” granted by NEDO

Obayashi Corporation, Kobe City, the Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., Iwatani Corporation, Kanden Energy Solution Co., Inc., Osaka University

(2) “Development and Demonstration Project for Low-NOx Hydrogen-fueled Gas Turbine Combustion Technology” granted by NEDO

Obayashi Corporation, Kobe City, the Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., Iwatani Corporation, Kanden Energy Solution Co., Inc., Osaka University, Kansai University

The project (2) is based on the results obtained from the following research.

In FY 2014 and 2015, one research was conducted as a Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) and “Energy Carrier / Development of Hydrogen Combustion Technology” project supported by the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI) (Funding Agency: Japan Science and Technology Agency).

From FY 2016 through 2018, the other research has been conducted as Research and Developments of Hydrogen Gas Turbine Combustion Technology in Advancement of Hydrogen Technologies and Utilization Project, an outsourced project of NEDO.


Supplementary information

Kawasaki official HP “Kawasaki Hydrogen Road”

NEDO News List

Kawasaki Press Release

YouTube Kawasaki Group Channel “Hydrogen CGS for Smart Community at Kobe, Japan”


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