First power-to-X-to-power hydrogen gas turbine planned for paper mill

MUNICH, GERMANY - THE HYFLEXPOWER PROject, a consortium made up of Engie Solutions, Siemens Gas and Power, Centrax, Arttic, German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and four European universities are implementing a project poised to be the world’s very first industrial-scale power-to-X-to-power demonstrator with an advanced hydrogen turbine at a paper-recycling mill in France.

The green hydrogen project, launched in May with engineering occurring this year, is at the Smurfit Kappa PRF’s site in Saillat-sur-Vienne. Smurfit Kappa is a company that specializes in manufacturing recycled paper.

The project has received funding support by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Framework Program for Research and Innovation (Grant Agreement 884229). 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.

The purpose of the project is to prove that hydrogen can be produced and stored from renewable electricity and then added with 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.

The project will last four years and is being split into several phases with contract finalization and engineering development started in May. Installation of the hydrogen production, storage and supply facility at the pilot demonstration site will occur in 2021 and installation of the gas turbine for national gas/hydrogen mixtures and initial demonstration of advanced pilot plant concept occurs in 2022. In the following year, the pilot demonstration with up to 100% hydrogen for carbon-free energy production from stored excess renewable energy will be readied.

The consortium that was selected following the call for proposals is made up exclusively of European companies and bodies. Each stakeholder has a defined role. 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 electrolyser for hydrogen production and develop the hydrogen gas turbine. Centrax will upgrade the package for hydrogen operation and install the new turbine. German Aerospace Centre (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. Arttic will support the operational project management and the project’s communication activities.

The new demonstration site is in keeping with a trend to decarbonize industry throughout Europe.

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