Modern heavy duty industrial gas turbines in combined cycle configuration, with rated efficiencies (at ISO base load) above 60% net LHV, are expected to play a significant role in reducing the carbon footprint of utility scale electricity generation. Even without post-combustion capture, simply switching from coal-fired generation to natural gas-fired generation reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 60% (on a kg per MWh of generation basis). In simple cycle mode, with efficiencies above 40% net LHV and startup times around 20 minutes, 300 to 400+ MW gas turbines can easily serve as peakers to support variable renewable resources, i.e., wind and solar. In this paper, a close quantitative look is taken at the capabilities of gas turbines firing natural gas, hydrogen, or a blend thereof, both in simple and combined cycle configurations. Furthermore, using published data, first-principles calculations, and software simulations, it will be shown that the gas turbine constitutes an efficient and cost-effective technology, with and without carbon capture, as a key player in decarbonization of the electric power sector.

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