Four Austrian and German companies are completing the first phase of testing of an adapted turbine in the Donaustadt heat and power plant in Vienna. The project is for adding green hydrogen to natural gas and its share already reached 15%.
Vienna’s municipal energy company Wien Energie is gradually increasing the percentage of green hydrogen in a cogeneration facility. Project partner Siemens Energy has adapted its SGT5-4000F to the new operational conditions.
“The amount of green hydrogen in the gas turbine operation has already been increased to 15 percent on individual test days. In Europe, more than 115 gas turbines of this type are in operation with an installed capacity of more than 31 GW. Operational tests such as these are crucial for decarbonization of the energy sector in the coming years,” said Siemens Energy’s Vice President for South East Europe Ali Prešern.
Mass conversion to commence across Europe
The remaining two participants – RheinEnergie from Germany and Austria-based Verbund – also have such turbines. When the time comes to reconstruct their facilities, they will use the experience from the endeavor. It is the first big project for adding hydrogen in the sector during regular operations, the partners pointed out. They allocated EUR 10 million in total for the purpose.
In the first part of testing in the combined heat and power plant in the Donaustadt district, scheduled to be completed by mid-September, the share of green hydrogen is increased to as much as 15%. In the next phase, the level should reach 30%.
The cogeneration unit in Donaustadt was commissioned in 2001. The gas turbine has an electricity capacity of 395 MW while the district heating capability is 350 MW.
Fossil gas to be gradually replaced with clean sources
In addition, Siemens Energy is working on the introduction of heat pumps in district heating systems. RheinEnergy said it intends to build the biggest system of a kind in Europe in Cologne.
“In the future, various energy sectors such as electricity and heat generation will be even more interconnected. Hydrogen produced using green electricity in summer can be utilized for generating electricity and heat in winter. The prerequisite for this is that power plants can also be fueled by green hydrogen. It is exactly what we are testing here, with the aim of completely decarbonizing the gas sector,” Managing Director of Verbund Thermal Power Robert Koubek stated.
The City of Vienna plans to become completely carbon neutral by 2040.