Gas turbines can be found everywhere, but as the world transitions to zero emissions, features have to adapt or be left behind. Now, researchers at the University of Stavanger have announced that they have successfully developed a method for using pure hydrogen as fuel in a gas turbine, according to a May 31 press release from the institution.
“We have set a world record in the combustion of hydrogen in micro gas turbines. No one has been able to produce at this level before”, says the research leader.
An important milestone has been reached
The innovation reached its peak in mid-May 2022, when a important milestone it was achieved: the team started operating the turbine with 100% hydrogen. The ultimate goal is to produce electricity with zero harmful CO2 emissions.
The operating efficiency of the hydrogen gas turbine will be slightly lower. The big gain, however, is being able to use the existing infrastructure. Furthermore, there are no CO2 emissions associated with this energy production.
Said Professor Mohsen Assadi, who is leading the investigation. His team has now proved that it can use hydrogen in existing natural gas infrastructure, without changing much of its initial composition.
Assadi further noted that this investigation concerns storage as well as distribution of fuel gas:
First, some effort is needed to ensure that existing gas infrastructure can handle hydrogen instead of natural gas. Secondly, it is about energy conversion technology, that is, the turbine technology itself. This is what we focused on. We contribute to technological adaptations of the fuel system and combustion chamber technology.
Where does hydrogen come from?
However, the question remains: where does this hydrogen come from? Although it is one of the cleanest sources of energy, even today, most of what we produce still derives from and depends on fossil fuels. A report by the US Department of Energy revealed that natural gas plants were the source of 95% of the hydrogen produced in the country.
As a result of these fossil fuel-powered hydrogen production methods, greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere in large quantities. These gases exacerbate the climate change crisis that our planet is currently going through. However, this can be avoided if an ecological and sustainable way to produce hydrogen is found.
Last month, a team of researchers from the University of Strathclyde claimed that solar energy could be used to produce hydrogen energy on a large scale.
There is an abundant renewable energy resource to meet the challenge of sustainable energy in the form of the Sun, with energy reaching the earth's surface eight thousand times greater than the entire annual global energy demand of our societies.
In a press release, Principal Investigator Dr. Sebastian Sprick.
If the University of Stavanger team could also use solar energy to produce hydrogen for their gas turbines, then they would actually have invented a method of producing sustainable energy that was not truly harmful to our planet.