A consortium comprising Engie Solutions, Siemens Gas and Power, Centrax, Arttic, German Aerospace Center (DLR) and four European universities is implementing the HYFLEXPOWER project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Framework Program for Research and Innovation (Grant Agreement 884229).
The implementation of this project, the first industrial-scale power-to-X-to-power demonstrator with an advanced hydrogen turbine, will be launched at Smurfit Kappa PRF’s site—a company specialized in manufacturing recycled paper—in Saillat-sur-Vienne, France. In this case, the “X” will be hydrogen.
The purpose of this project is to prove that hydrogen can be produced and stored from renewable electricity and then added up to 100% to the natural gas currently used with combined heat and power plants. For this an existing Siemens SGT-400 industrial gas turbine will be upgraded to convert stored hydrogen into electricity and thermal energy.
Storing fluctuating renewable energy is one of the major challenges of the energy transition. In this context, the stakeholders involved in the HYFLEXPOWER project are developing new technologies which can be used across the whole power-to-X-to-power cycle. The installed demonstrator will be used to store excess renewable electricity in the form of green hydrogen. During periods of high demand this stored green hydrogen will then be used to generate electrical energy to be fed into the grid.
Engie Solutions has been entrusted with producing energy at the Smurfit Kappa site in Saillat-sur-Vienne, France. At the site, Engie Solutions operates a 12 MWe combined heat and power facility which produces steam for the manufacturing company’s requirements. The conversion of an existing infrastructure has the advantage of significantly lower costs and minimized lead time compared to a greenfield site. The project will develop and demonstrate an advanced plant concept that will contribute to modernizing and improving the factory’s existing power plant.
During two demonstration campaigns, the facility will be powered by a mix of natural gas and hydrogen, ultimately aiming for up to 100% hydrogen operation. In this regard, the overall goal of the HYFLEXPOWER project is to test an entirely green hydrogen-based power supply for a completely carbon-free energy mix. This would save up to 65,000 tons of CO2 per year for a SGT-400 at baseload operation.
The consortium selected following the call for proposals is made up exclusively of European companies and bodies. Each stakeholder’s role is defined as follows:
Engie Solutions will build the hydrogen production and storage facility, including the natural gas/hydrogen mixing station prior to the turbine;
Siemens Gas and Power will supply the electrolyzer for hydrogen production and develop the hydrogen gas turbine;
Centrax will upgrade the package for hydrogen operation and install the new turbine;
German Aerospace Center (DLR) together with the University College London, University of Duisburg-Essen and Lund University will support the hydrogen turbine technology development;
National Technical University of Athens will perform economic, environmental and social assessments of the concept; and
Arttic will support the operational project management and the project’s communication activities.
Siemens Energy will upgrade an existing SGT-400 industrial gas turbine to generate electricity and thermal energy with stored hydrogen and demonstrate an industrial-scale power-to-H2-to-power solution.
The project’s total budget is close to €15.2 million, of which €10.5 million will be contributed entirely by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 program.
Officially launched on 1 May 2020, the project will last 4 years and will be split into several phases:
May 2020: Contract finalization and start of engineering development. 2021: Installation of the hydrogen production, storage and supply facility at pilot demonstration site.
2022: Installation of the gas turbine for natural gas/hydrogen mixtures and initial demonstration of advanced pilot plant concept.
2023: Pilot demonstration with up to 100% hydrogen for carbon-free energy production from stored excess renewable energy.