Inspenet, December 28, 2023.
On May 1, 2020, it began HyFlexPower, a four-year innovation project led by a consortium of European companies and entities whose objective is to demonstrate the viability of producing and storing hydrogen from renewable energy sources with the purpose of replacing up to 100% of the natural gas currently used in cogeneration plants.
Specifically, the project leads the development and commissioning of the world’s first industrial-scale prototype for the conversion of electricity to hydrogen, followed by its conversion back to electricity using an advanced industrial gas turbine powered by green hydrogen. The installed demonstrator has the function of storing surplus renewable electricity in the form of green hydrogen. During periods of high demand, this stored hydrogen will be used to generate electricity that will be injected into the electrical grid.
Smurfit-Kappa: the first cogeneration plant without CO 2 emissions
The execution of the project took place in the cogeneration plant that for several years has supplied electricity and heat to the paper recycling factory of the Smurfit-Kappa company in France. This has become the first cogeneration plant without CO 2 emissions . Conversion of existing infrastructure presents the advantage of significantly lower costs and reduced implementation time compared to construction on a new site.
With a total investment of around 15.2 million euros, where more than two-thirds were funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 program for Research and Innovation, this project marks significant progress to drive the decarbonization of energy-intensive industries.
In deeply decarbonized energy environments, hydrogen is anticipated to play a crucial role as a preferred technology for storing large quantities of surplus renewable electricity and as a fuel in gas turbines to support intermittent renewable energy generation.
Each entity that makes up the consortium has played an active role in the HyFlexPower project. Siemens Energy , as coordinator, has provided the electrolyser for hydrogen generation and has modernized the existing gas turbine so that it can operate on hydrogen. Engie Solutions, for its part, has been responsible for the construction of the facilities dedicated to the production, storage and supply of hydrogen for the demonstrator, which includes the implementation of the natural gas/hydrogen mixing station used by the turbine. Additionally, Centrax has updated the package to ensure safe operation with hydrogen and installed the new turbine.
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