Ansaldo Energia and Equinor, the Norwegian multinational energy company, announced a collaboration agreement to advance hydrogen combustion technology with full-scale, full-pressure combustor validation tests.
According to the companies, climate change is one of today’s most important environmental and social concerns. In order to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals, decarbonization of the power generation sector is essential.
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, the companies said.
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 Energia said its GT36 and GT26 gas turbines overcome this drawback, allowing the utilization of the full range of hydrogen in a low NOx premix system.
Currently, the GT36 H-class gas turbine combustor can be operated with a volumetric hydrogen content in natural gas of 0 to 50%. Recent full-scale high-pressure tests showed the feasibility of operating up to 70% hydrogen without power or efficiency derating and the possibility to burn up to 100%.
The collaboration between Ansaldo Energia and Equinor will further develop this fuel flexibility capability, the companies said. The main goals are the optimization for ultralow NOx emissions, operational flexibility and minimization of engine derating at very high hydrogen contents. Equinor is co-funding these combustor testing activities for hydrogen.