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    Snam, Baker Hughes Test World's 1st Hydrogen-Blend Turbine


Snam estimates it could feed up to 7bn m³/yr of hydrogen into its gas grid.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Snam, Baker Hughes Test World's 1st Hydrogen-Blend Turbine

The US' Baker Hughes (BH) and Italy's Snam have completed testing the world's first hybrid hydrogen-blend turbine for gas networks, they announced on July 20, paving the way for the blending of hydrogen with gas in the Italian transmission grid.

Designed by BH, the NovaLT turbine (pictured, courtesy of BH) is capable of burning methane-hydrogen blend with as little as 5% hydrogen to up to 100%. The test took place at the maker's facility in Florence, Italy.

The turbine will be installed by 2021 at Snam's Istrana compression station, in Treviso. Besides compressing and transporting hydrogen through Snam's grid, it will also use hydrogen to power itself. According to the companies, the NovaLT consumes less hydrogen, has greater operational flexibility and lower maintenance intervals than other hydrogen turbine models, and produces emissions as low as single-digit parts per million.

The completion tests comes weeks after the European Commission unveiled its new strategy for developing hydrogen as an energy source. The strategy calls for up to 40 GW of electrolysers to be deployed by 2030, producing 10mn mt/yr of renewable hydrogen. Snam is among 11 European gas grid operators that presented a plan on July 17 for adapting gas infrastructure to transport the fuel at an affordable cost.

"Hydrogen will be a pillar of the fight against climate change alongside renewable electricity and will potentially reach 20-25% of the global energy mix by 2030," Snam CEO Marco Alvera said. "Thanks to its technologies, energy system and geographic position Italy will play a leading role in this environmental challenge, while also generating opportunities for local development and employment."

Snam has a transmission network of over 41,000 km of pipeline globally, and operates around 20bn m3 of gas storage capacity. Some 70% of its pipelines are already built to handle hydrogen.

The company estimates that, by using a 90-10 blend of methane and hydrogen, it could feed 7bn m3/yr of hydrogen into its grid each year, equivalent to the gas demand of three million families and resulting in a 5mn mt reduction in CO2 emissions.