The Zero Emission Hydrogen Turbine Centre aims to change the future of energy systems. A demonstration plant is conducting tests to show how hydrogen turbines, renewable-energy production and energy storage can work together to produce energy with zero greenhouse gas emissions, and help phase out coal from the power sector.
The International Energy Agency believes gas turbines for the generation of electricity and heat will play an important role in phasing out coal and reducing the emissions of the global power sector. In addition, using hydrogen as a fuel will further help cut CO2 emissions. Running a gas turbine on hydrogen instead of natural gas will significantly reduce CO2 emissions, and hydrogen will probably become cheaper and more common in gas turbines. Siemens gas turbines can currently operate on up to a 60% hydrogen mix and the goal is to be able to operate the turbines on 100% hydrogen by 2030.
Balancing and storing renewable energy
Due to their flexibility and short ramp-up times, gas turbines have proven to be very effective in balancing the volatile renewable energy generation from solar and wind power. And hydrogen is an optimal fuel because of its zero-carbon combustion emissions. It can offer low-carbon flexibility for electricity systems with an increasing share of variable renewable energy for when output and availability don’t always match demand. Furthermore, it is one of the leading options for storing energy from renewable energy and has the potential to be one of the lowest-cost alternatives for storing energy over days, weeks or even months.
Aiming for zero emissions by 2030
The project uses excess energy from gas turbine tests, performed at the turbine production site in Finspång, and electricity from solar panels to produce hydrogen in an electrolyser. The hydrogen is then used as a fuel in the gas turbines. In a local microgrid, it’s possible to optimise the use of energy through storage, in the form of hydrogen or in a battery. The hydrogen created at the plant is used in further research and development of hydrogen turbines, to achieve the goal of running gas turbines on 100% hydrogen with zero CO2 emissions by 2030.
Cooperation with companies and the public sector
The project started in 2019 and is a consortium between Siemens in Finspång, the County Administrative Board of Östergötland, Finspång Municipality, AGA Linde, Chalmers, and Bologna University in Italy. Installation of the equipment for the demonstrator plant started in summer 2020 and the project will be finalised, with microgrid studies, in autumn 2022. The project is partly financed by the Swedish Energy Agency as part of ERA Net Smart Energy Systems.