Italian gas turbine manufacturer Ansaldo Energia and Norwegian energy giant Equinor are collaborating on tests involving running gas-fired power plant turbines on hydrogen.

The two companies have signed an agreement that will see Equinor co-fund full-scale, full pressure combustor validation tests.

Already Ansaldo’s GT36 H-class gas turbine combustor can be operated with a volumetric hydrogen content in natural gas of 0-50 per cent and recent full-scale high-pressure tests showed the feasibility of operating on up to 70 per cent hydrogen without a derating of power or efficiency.

Now Ansaldo wants to take the potential of hydrogen-fuelled gas turbines to the next level. In a statement today, the company said: “Hydrogen-fired gas turbines allow for CO2-free dispatchable power generation. CO2-free hydrogen can be either produced via electrolysis using renewable power (green hydrogen) or from natural gas applying dedicated CCS technology (blue hydrogen). The capability to store energy in hydrogen for medium to long term, can also be used to alleviate variations in renewable power generation.”

Compared to natural gas, the main challenge of hydrogen combustion is its increased reactivity, resulting in a decrease of engine performance for conventional premix combustion systems. Equipped with unique sequential combustion technology, Ansaldo says its GT36 and GT26 turbines overcome this drawback, allowing the utilization of the full range of hydrogen in a low NOx premix system.

The potential uses of hydrogen in the European energy sector will be a hot topic at European Utility Week and POWERGEN Europe, which are co-located in Paris in November. Click here for details of the event, where you will also meet experts from Ansaldo Energia.

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Kelvin Ross
Kelvin Ross is Editor-in-Chief of Enlit Europe and Power Engineering International. A journalist for more than 30 years, he has worked on regional, national and international newspapers, as well as trade magazines serving sectors including insurance, shipping, health and financial markets. He has covered the energy sector for more than 10 years. He helped establish Energy Live News in the UK before joining PEi and he has been ranked among the top 100 global influencers on Twitter for 'renewable energy' and 'smart grid' topics.