Siemens Energy, as part of the HYFLEXPOWER consortium, has achieved a world-first by successfully operating an industrial gas turbine with 100% renewable hydrogen. This milestone, accomplished at the Smurfit Kappa site in Saillat-sur-Vienne, France, brings to light a promising outlook for carbon-neutral power generation and the ambitious goal of decarbonizing energy-intensive industries.
The HYFLEXPOWER project is a testament to what innovative collaboration and unwavering commitment to sustainable energy can achieve. This ambitious project revolves around the production, storage, and re-electrification of 100% renewable hydrogen. The process begins with a 1MW electrolyzer on-site, where water is split into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity, primarily sourced from renewables like wind and solar. This hydrogen is then stored in a sizable one-ton tank, ready to power a Siemens Energy SGT-400 industrial gas turbine.
Notably, this project highlights two transformative aspects of green hydrogen. First, it underscores the viability of hydrogen as a flexible energy storage medium, offering a solution to the intermittency challenge of renewable energy. Second, it demonstrates the possibility of converting existing gas-fired power turbines to operate with renewable hydrogen. The latter is of utmost significance, as it paves the way for retrofitting industrial facilities to reduce their carbon footprint.
The journey to this historic achievement began in 2022 when initial tests enabled the industrial gas turbine to operate with a 30% hydrogen content, blended with natural gas. Building on this success, the HYFLEXPOWER project has now achieved what once seemed a challenging milestone – powering the gas turbine with up to 100% hydrogen. This adaptability to a range of hydrogen content levels, combined with existing natural gas infrastructure, provides the industrial sector with the flexibility needed to transition towards greener energy.
The HYFLEXPOWER consortium comprises a remarkable group of entities, including Siemens Energy, ENGIE (via its subsidiary ENGIE Solutions), Centrax, Arttic, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and four European universities. The collaboration brings together expertise in hydrogen production, turbine technology, economic analysis, and project management.
As the lead in the consortium, Siemens Energy provided the vital electrolyzer for hydrogen production and developed the specialized hydrogen gas turbine. ENGIE played a pivotal role in building the hydrogen production, storage, and supply infrastructure. Centrax ensured that the gas turbine package was upgraded for safe operation with hydrogen fuel. The project also benefitted from the technological contributions of leading universities and economic and environmental analysis.
Karim Amin, Member of the Executive Board of Siemens Energy, emphasized the broader implications of this achievement. The knowledge and experience gained from the HYFLEXPOWER project pave the way for the continued development of a hydrogen-based future, impacting not just a single project but Siemens Energy’s entire gas turbine fleet.
Frank Lacroix, ENGIE Executive Vice President in charge of Energy Solutions, acknowledged the remarkable collaboration and the prospects it opens for decarbonizing challenging industrial sectors. ENGIE, as a key partner, takes pride in this world-first milestone. This achievement isn’t just a technological milestone; it’s a symbol of what can be accomplished through cross-border collaboration, innovation, and the shared goal of a more sustainable and greener future. As the world strives to reduce carbon emissions and transition to cleaner, more sustainable energy sources, the success of the HYFLEXPOWER project is not only commendable but provides a tangible path forward for decarbonizing industry, one turbine at a time.