EU-funded hydrogen/turbine project underway

By Jack Burke10 February 2023

Goal is to design H-Class compatible combustor for hydrogen

The Flexibility for Hydrogen –dubbed the FLEX4H2 project—is officially underway under the leadership of turbine manufacturer Ansaldo Energia.

FLEX4H2’s goal is to support European ambitious climate targets towards shifting away from the use of fossil fuels.

FLEX4H2 aims to develop a fuel-flexible combustion system and will contribute to the EU Green Deal towards decarbonization of the electric power sector.

The project’s main objective is to design, develop and validate a safe, efficient and highly fuel-flexible combustion system capable of operating with any concentration of hydrogen blend up to 100% H2. This his objective will be pursued at the most challenging hydrogen combustion conditions—at H-Class operating temperatures, required for highest cycle efficiency, while still meeting emission targets without any use of diluents. The design of the combustor will be based on Ansaldo Energia’s Constant Pressure Sequential Combustion technology (CPSC) and will be demonstrated in a stepwise approach, at full gas turbine operating conditions (TRL6).

“Decarbonization of gas turbine assets is a fundamental part in the transition of the energy landscape,” said Federico Bonzani, director, Product and Technology at Ansaldo Energia stated. “One single engine, equipped with the novel FLEX4H2 combustion system, has the potential of eliminating up to 200 000t CO2 emissions per year, whilst delivering enough clean energy to supply up to 500 000 households,”

The new, improved combustor design will be fully retrofittable to existing gas turbines, thereby providing significant opportunities for refurbishing existing assets, the company said.

The FLEX4H2 consortium includes nine partners from six European countries: Ansaldo Energia (IT), Arttic Innovation (DE), Centre Européenne de Recherche et de Formation Avancée en Calcul Scientifique – CERFACS (FR), Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt – DLR (DE), Edison (IT), ETN Global (BE), Sintef Energi (NO), Ansaldo Energia Switzerland (CH), Zürcher Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften – ZHAW (CH).

The project is jointly funded by the EU Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Framework Program under the Clean Hydrogen Partnership and the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). FLEX4H2 has an overall budget of approximately EUR 8.7 mil. and will run for four years through December 2026.

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