Installed at Saillat-sur-Vienne, France, on the site of prominent paper packaging company Smurfit Kappa, the Hyflexpower project aims at the production, storage and re-electrification of 100 % renewable hydrogen. It is produced by a 1MW electrolyser, and then stored in a one-ton tank and used to power a Siemens Energy SGT-400 industrial gas turbine.

Its latest successful series of tests is said to offer a ‘decisive outlook for carbon-neutral power generation and the decarbonisation of industry’.

The project demonstrates that hydrogen can be used as a flexible energy storage medium, and that it’s also possible to convert an existing gas-fired power turbine to operate using renewable hydrogen. Thus it is a significant driver for accelerating the decarbonisation of the most energy-intensive industries.

In 2022, an initial series of tests enabled the industrial gas turbine to operate with a 30 % hydrogen content, mixed with natural gas. Now the power-to-hydrogen-to-power demonstrator has proven that state-of-the-art turbines with dry low emissions technology can be fuelled with up to 100% hydrogen as well as with natural gas and any blends in between.

The Hyflexpower consortium includes Siemens Energy, ENGIE via its subsidiary ENGIE Solutions, Centrax, Arttic, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), and four European universities. Building on the promise of the Hyflexpower demonstrator, it is planned to expand the consortium to include additional members. The goal is now to extend the demonstrator’s operation to industrial heat production and additional operational modes. It is also planned to explore ways of scaling up and commercialising decarbonised electricity generation.

Funding and support

Hyflexpower has received substantial funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

As the consortium lead, Siemens Energy supplied the electrolyser for hydrogen production and developed the hydrogen gas turbine. ENGIE built the hydrogen production, storage and supply for the demonstrator. Centrax was responsible for the package upgrade to ensure safe operation with hydrogen fuel. The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the Universities of Lund (Sweden), Duisburg-Essen (Germany), and University College London (UK) contributed to the hydrogen turbine technology development. Arttic supported the operational project management, while NTUA in Athens (Greece) carried out economic, environmental, and social analysis of the concept.

"The knowledge and experience gained from the Hyflexpower project … will help us to continue develop our entire gas turbine fleet for a hydrogen-based future. The interaction between electrolysis, storage, and hydrogen conversion at one site has been impressively demonstrated, and now it's a matter of scaling the results," says Karim Amin, member of the Executive Board of Siemens Energy.