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Snam and Baker Hughes test world’s first hydrogen blend turbine for gas networks

Baker Hughes and Snam have successfully completed testing of the world’s first “hybrid” hydrogen turbine designed for a gas network. The test paves the way to implement adoption of hydrogen blended with natural gas in Snam’s current transmission network infrastructure.

The test took place at Baker Hughes’ facility in Florence, Italy with a Baker Hughes’ NovaLT12 gas turbine. The test marks the first time that a gas infrastructure operator such as Snam has tested this type of turbine for its existing assets.

Designed by Baker Hughes, the NovaLT is the industry’s first family of high-performance gas turbines inherently designed for hydrogen as well as other lower-carbon fuels.

NovaLT12 blends the robustness of frame technologies with the modular maintenance capabilities of aeroderivatives. Evolved from the Frame 5/2E design, the NovaLT12 has one stage added (from 11 to 12) for improved efficiency and a higher pressure ratio (from 17:1 to 19:1).


Baker Hughes’ NovaLT12 turbines can burn up to 30% hydrogen in dry low emission (DLN) mode; the company is moving toward 100% H2 capability.

Developed using high-performance computational methods and manufacturing technologies such as additive, the NovaLT family of turbines is suitable for a variety of applications, including industrial cogeneration, pipeline, and offshore. Compared to other technologies in its class, the NovaLT provides lower consumption, wider operational flexibility, lower maintenance intervals, and emissions as low as single digit ppm.

The turbine will be installed by 2021 at Snam’s compressor station of Istrana, in the province of Treviso, Italy. Once installed, the NovaLT12 will not only help to compress and move hydrogen fuel blends through Snam’s transmission network of pipelines, but the turbine will simultaneously use the same fuel to power itself.

Snam has the most extensive transmission network among European peers (more than 41,000 km globally) and the largest natural gas storage capacity (ca. 20 billion cubic meters globally). Today, 70% of Snam’s pipelines are already built with hydrogen-ready pipes to help contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions in Italy. Today’s test further validates the viability of Snam’s infrastructure, including the NovaLT12, to support the transition to hydrogen.

By blending 10% hydrogen into the total annual gas capacity transported by Snam, it is estimated seven billion cubic meters of hydrogen could be introduced into the network each year. This amount is the equivalent to the annual gas consumption of three million families and represents a reduction of five million tons of CO2 emissions.

Snam is among the first companies in the world to have tested the introduction of hydrogen into a high-pressure gas transportation network, first at 5% and subsequently at 10%. The company is also committed to supporting the growth of the Italian supply chain through the development of technologies to facilitate the use of hydrogen in multiple sectors, from industry to transportation.

The successful test follows a few days after the launch of the European Commission’s Hydrogen Strategy (earlier post), which establishes intermediate goals for the production of renewable hydrogen in Europe including the production of at least 40 GW of hydrogen from renewables by 2030 and by 2050 it deployment at a large scale of hydrogen across all hard-to-decarbonize sectors.


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