First power-to-hydrogen-to-power demonstrator completed

By Becky Schultz22 December 2022

Installation of the Siemens SGT-400 gas turbine at the Smurfit Kappa Saillat Paper Mill in Saillat-sur-Vienne. (Photo: ENGIE Solutions - Arnaud Baguet - Focal Studio)

The Hyflexpower consortium announced it has successfully completed the first stage of a program at the Smurfit Kappa Saillat Paper Mill in Saillat-sur-Vienne (France) that resulted in it becoming the first industrial facility in the world to introduce an integrated hydrogen demonstrator. Stakeholders in the Hyflexpower project include ENGIE Solutions, Siemens Energy, Centrax, ARTTIC, German Aerospace Center (DLR), and Universities NTUA Athens (Greece), Lund (Sweden), Duisburg-Essen (Germany) and UCL (UK).

The project marks the implementation of the world’s first industrial-scale power-to-X-to-power demonstration with an advanced turbine with high hydrogen content fuel. Its objective is to demonstrate that green hydrogen can serve as a flexible means of storing energy that can then be used to power an industrial turbine. The demonstrator will allow the partners to understand the technical feasibility of using hydrogen while retaining much of the existing energy infrastructure.

The project combines an updated and enhanced Engie Solutions-operated 12 MWe combined heat and power (CHP) thermal power plant; a Centrax-packaged Siemens SGT-400 gas turbine; a Siemens electrolyzer to generate green hydrogen from excess renewable energy; and necessary storage capacity. For the first phase of testing, the hydrogen produced on site with the electrolyzer was used in the gas turbine with a mix of 30-vol. % hydrogen and 70 vol.-% natural gas for power generation. The next trials are scheduled for Summer 2023, for which the gas turbine package will be upgraded to convert stored hydrogen into electricity and thermal energy, with the ultimate goal to produce 12 MW electrical energy using fuel mixtures that contain up to a 100% hydrogen ratio.

Commenting on the conclusion of the initial testing phase, Gaël Carayon, project director at ENGIE Solutions, said: “Ambitious projects like this one require taking partnerships to the next level and being united in a joint mission to make decarbonization a reality. Hydrogen will play a crucial role in the interaction between renewables and electricity storage and generation. ENGIE Solutions is proud to participate to this unique project.”

“With the Hyflexpower project we are showcasing that carbon-neutral and reliable power supply is possible – even for energy-intensive industries,” said Dr. Ertan Yilmaz, Hyflexpower global director at Siemens Energy. “Hydrogen-ready turbines will play a decisive role in climate-neutral energy, so it is very exciting to be looking forward to the next phase of testing.”

Launched on May 1, 2020, the Hyflexpower project received significant funding by the European Commission, with two-thirds of the €15.2 million investment coming from the EU’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation; additional funding was provided through a Horizon 2020 grant agreement. The project is scheduled to run for four years.

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