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Hydrogen combustion FLEX4H2 project launches

Hydrogen combustion FLEX4H2 project launches
The Flexibility for Hydrogen (FLEX4H2) project consortium (image courtesy FLEX4H2).

The Flexibility for Hydrogen (FLEX4H2) project officially started on January 1, 2023. Led by Italy-headed Ansaldo Energia S.p.A, the four-year project aims to develop a fuel-flexible gas combustion system capable of operating with any concentration of hydrogen blend up to 100 percent.

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The Flexibility for Hydrogen (FLEX4H2) project is jointly funded by the EU Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Framework Programme under the Clean Hydrogen Partnership (GA No. 101101427) and the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).

The FLEX4H2 consortium includes nine partners from six European countries: Ansaldo Energia S.p.A, Italy (IT); ARTTIC Innovation GmbH, Germany (DE); Centre Européenne de Recherche et de Formation Avancée en Calcul Scientifique – CERFACS, France (FR); Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. – DLR, Germany (DE); Edison S.p.A Italy (IT); ETN Global Belgium (BE); SINTEF Energi AS, Norway (NO), Ansaldo Energia Switzerland AG, Switzerland (CH); Zürcher Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften – ZHAW, Switzerland (CH).

With an overall budget of approximately EUR 8.7 million, FLEX4H2’s goal is to support European ambitious climate targets towards shifting away from the use of fossil fuels.

In this context, the utilization of hydrogen offers a “unique chance” to decarbonize the power generation sector reliably, independently from weather or seasonal conditions, and contribute to the ongoing effort in the fight against climate change, enabling carbon dioxide (CO2) free, dispatchable power generation.

Develop a Flexi-fuel combustion system

FLEX4H2 aims to develop a fuel-flexible combustion system and will contribute to the EU Green Deal toward decarbonization of the electric power sector.

The aforementioned goal translates into the project’s main objective – to design, develop and validate a safe, efficient, and highly fuel-flexible combustion system capable of operating with any concentration of hydrogen blend up to 100 percent hydrogen.

Crucially, this objective will be pursued at the most challenging hydrogen combustion conditions, i.e., at H-Class operating temperatures, required for the highest cycle efficiency, while still meeting emission targets without any use of diluents.

The design of the combustor will be based on Ansaldo Energia’s Constant Pressure Sequential Combustion (CPSC) technology and will be demonstrated in a stepwise approach, at full gas turbine operating conditions.

Decarbonization of gas turbine assets is a fundamental part of the transition of the energy landscape. One single-engine, equipped with the novel FLEX4H2 combustion system, has the potential of eliminating up to two million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, whilst delivering enough clean energy to supply up to 500 000 households, said Federico Bonzani, Director of Product and Technology at Ansaldo Energia.

The new, improved combustor design will be fully retrofittable to existing gas turbines, thereby providing significant opportunities for refurbishing existing assets.

Furthermore, FLEX4H2 will present credible pathways for comprehensive exploitation of the project’s results and (thereby) provide the basis for a firm contribution to the EU Green Deal towards the decarbonization of the electric power sector by 2030 and beyond.

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