The ‘FLEX4H2’ project – Flexibility for Hydrogen – aims at ‘moving technological frontiers for low-emission combustion of hydrogen beyond the latest state-of-the-art’ technology – and started officially on 1 January 2023. It is a consortium of nine partners being led by Ansaldo Energia, and is jointly funded by the EU Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Framework Programme under the Clean Hydrogen Partnership and the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). FLEX4H2 has an overall budget of approximately € 8.7 million, and will run for four years, between January 2023 and December 2026.
FLEX4H2’s goal is to support European ambitious climate targets towards shifting away from the use of fossil fuels. In this context, utilisation of hydrogen offers a unique chance to decarbonise the power generation sector reliably, independently from weather or seasonal conditions.
FLEX4H2 aims to develop a fuel-flexible combustion system and will contribute to the EU Green Deal towards decarbonisation of the electric power sector.
This 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% H2. Crucially, this objective will be pursued at the most challenging hydrogen combustion conditions, i.e., at H-Class operating temperatures, required for 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 technology (CPSC) and will be demonstrated in a stepwise approach, at full gas turbine operating conditions.
“Decarbonisation of gas turbine assets is a fundamental part in the transition of the energy landscape. One single engine, equipped with the novel FLEX4H2 combustion system, has the potential of eliminating up to 2 million tons of CO2 emissions per year,” said Federico Bonzani, director Product and Technology at Ansaldo Energia.
The new combustor design will be fully retrofittable to existing gas turbines, and is expected to 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 decarbonisation of the electric power sector by 2030 and beyond.