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HYdrogen as a FLEXible energy storage for a fully renewable European POWER system

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HYFLEXPOWER (HYdrogen as a FLEXible energy storage for a fully renewable European POWER system)

Reporting period: 2020-05-01 to 2021-10-31

The goal of HYFLEXPOWER is the first-ever demonstration (at TRL7) of a fully integrated power-to-H2-to-power industrial scale installation in a real-world power plant application. The project will update and enhance an existing power plant within an industrial facility in Saillat-sur-Vienne, France. It will include the integration of energy conversion (power-to-H2) in the demonstration plant using excess energy from RES and necessary storage capabilities. The Siemens SGT-400 gas turbine will be upgraded to operate with different natural gas / H2 fuel mixtures. A key objective is the operation at full load and production of 12 MW electrical energy with high-hydrogen fuel mixtures of up to 100% H2 for carbon-free power generation.

Finally, the development of an economic assessment for this Power-to-H2-to-Power pilot plant demonstration will be conducted to show the economic benefits of this application.

The project will have an exploratory role for all European actors and will collect, evaluate, and disseminate the results of the test and the technology that will emerge.

The objective of WP1 is to define all technical specifications for the construction the hydrogen advanced plant concept on site and the modification of the Gas Turbine package.

The objective of WP2 is the development of a new combustion technology that can be operated with natural gas / hydrogen mixtures with up to 100% hydrogen. The combustion system will be a state-of-the-art lean pre-mixed DLE system to achieve low emissions of NOx without additional water or steam injection.

WP3 manages the on-site installation of the equipment, safety requirements and the testing at site of the gas turbine operating on hydrogen enriched fuels. The main goal is the demonstration of the fully integrated industrial plant with hydrogen generation, storage, and re-electrification.

Environmental, economic, and social sustainability studies is performed in WP4 to be used in conjunction with the integration concepts for the production, storage, and distribution of H2 in WP1. The ultimate goal is to identify the optimal conditions for decreasing the operating costs of the system, while increasing the share of renewable energy utilization, hence achieving an optimal trade-off between economic profitability and environmental and social sustainability. A preliminary evaluation of the economic and environmental performance of the pilot plant has been performed.

Finally, WP5 concentrates on the management and dissemination of the programme and WP6 on the ethical aspects.
The overall design phase started with a review of existing hydrogen technologies. No previous reference facilities are available to support the infrastructure design at the project scale for hydrogen generation, storage, and the supply at ~14000 Nm3/h. Hence, the team focused for WPs WP1 and WP3 on the design, manufacture and procurement of the Power-to-H2-to-power infrastructure and components.

The construction of the hydrogen value chain at the demonstration plant in Saillat-sur-Vienne, France has started with foundation and basic civil works in progress.

In parallel, as the project modifies an existing industrial plant in France for hydrogen operation, the administrative process of the French and European regulations, especially in areas of safety and security must be respected. The main concerned interlocutors are state organisations regulating the classified industrial site (DREAL) and the French electricity market (EDF). This work is ongoing, and authorisation is needed for the permit to operate with hydrogen. Continuous dialogue is maintained with the concerned parties in order to ensure that no blocking point exist.

Siemens Energy is developing an advanced combustion technology burner specifically designed for operation with natural gas/hydrogen blends up to 100% H2 in DLE (dry low emission) operation mode. The development team recently achieved a major milestone towards the world first 100% H2 site retrofit demonstration for the project. A new combustion technology was recently tested at Siemens Energy’s combustion test facility CEC (Clean Energy Center) near Berlin. During the test campaign the team was able to demonstrate 100% H2 DLE operation at SGT-400 full pressure engine conditions with low NOx emissions.

Preliminary investigations have already been conducted by NTUA regarding the economic and environmental performance of the pilot demonstration plant. Based on the findings from these studies, the evaluation of commercial scale systems will follow, using actual data from existing industrial cogeneration units.

On the management side the project office and management structure has been set up with recurring meetings and periodic reviews by the General Assembly. The project has attracted a lot of interest in the public media and dissemination has been intense. From an active social media presence to participation in Webinars and articles, the project visibility is very high.
The progress and results obtained so far give confidence that the project will reach the objectives as indicated in the grant agreement.

In the next reporting period significant progress beyond the state of art will be made within WP1, WP2 and WP3:
• The integration of the demonstrator inside an existing industrial plant with all required authorizations and safety conditions.

• The capability of feeding the turbine with a controlled blend of natural gas and hydrogen from 0% up to 100% H2 at full load.

• The optimization of the flexible operational envelope of the tested H2 gas turbine combustion technology from 0% up to 100% H2 as well as further investigation of alternative design concepts.

The work carried out next in WP4 aims at defining the windows of operation that will allow for the most efficient and sustainable system performance. The information on its economic and environmental profile will be used for designing the strategy for extensive market take-up of the technologies developed within the project. The social impacts of the wide deployment of the developed technologies will also be subsequently investigated in a dedicated task.
Hydrogen trailer at CEC to provide the hydrogen for the combustion tests
Combustion rig test set up at Siemens Energy’s Clean Energy Test Center (CEC) near Berlin.