Hydrogen is light, storable, energy-dense, and its use produces no direct emissions of pollutants or greenhouse gases.
Hydrogen is called “Green” when produced renewable sources, and will represent a key energy vector for the transition phase and beyond – essential to achieve decarbonization as well as energy diversification targets.
In order to offer immediately viable solutions to its Customers, Ansaldo Energia has exploited the proven fuel flexibility of its turbomachinery to make the use of hydrogen possible in existing power plants with minimum additional investment. This helps preserve the potential – and protect the value – of the gas power plants currently in operation.
Further improvements have been achieved by Ansaldo Energia introducing the exclusive sequential combustion technology – which minimizes derating while maintaining the same operational flexibility and reducing electricity production costs.
Furthermore, to contribute to the decarbonization goals, Ansaldo Energia Group, through its controlled company Ansaldo Green Tech has invested in the development and industrialization of an innovative electrolyser of 1 MW stack electrical input, conceived for applications with large hydrogen production volumes.
The new electrolyser is based on last generation Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM) and innovative formulation for the anodic and cathodic catalysts, which enable efficient and high-purity hydrogen production, limiting gas crossover, even at large scales. The technology selected minimizes the use of rare materials, electrolyte concentration and water consumption for a reduced environmental footprint.
A NO-CARBON FUEL TO STORE GREEN ENERGY
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, generally found in compounds with other elements. When isolated (usually from oxygen through the electrolysis of water), it can be used as an energy carrier.
As such, it represents an ideal power buffer between surplus supply (when excess energy could go wasted) and supply deficit.
Hydrogen can be stored in large quantities for long times, and, when burned, it is a no-carbon fuel whose combustion only generates heat and water.
Hydrogen makes it possible to achieve many goals at the same time:
- efficient energy storage;
- generation of CO2-free, dispatchable power;
- diversification of the energy sources;
- stability of the electricity supply despite the volatility of the renewables;
- new life for power generation existing assets.
Ansaldo Energia has committed to achieving the 100% hydrogen capability target for its gas engines by 2030.
ONGOING HYDROGEN EXPERIENCE
Hydrogen is already used today to power Ansaldo Energia turbines.
The Brindisi EniPower plant, equipped with AE94.3A machines, has 15 years of experience in the combustion of hydrogen as part of the fuel mix (up to 25%, depending on availability).
A significant quantity of hydrogen in the blend enables energy producers to reduce CO2 emissions with immediate effect, while guaranteeing grid stability and avoiding stranded assets.
Thanks to the intrinsic flexibility of the components installed, latest-generation Ansaldo Energia solutions already allow burning high hydrogen rates with manageable engine and Balance of Plant retrofitting.
ENABLING LOW-NOX HYDROGEN COMBUSTION
Sequential combustion enables Ansaldo Energia gas turbines to go beyond standard achievements, and make the use of high hydrogen content possible within emission limits.
When burning hydrogen, NOx emission is expected to increase because of high burning velocity and flame temperature. This results in the necessity of power derating to comply with required standards.
To face the issue, Ansaldo Energia has developed the sequential combustion system, and introduced it on its GT26 and GT36 engine models.
The system is based on two complementary combustion stages in series: the derating of the first stage is recovered by shifting the fuel into the auto-ignited second stage.
The sequential combustion technology allows high turndown, thus enlarging the emission-compliant operation window compared to other combustor technologies.