Gas turbines can be found everywhere, but as the world moves towards zero emissions, features will need to be adapt or left behind. Now, researchers at the University of Stavanger have announced that they have successfully developed a process for using pure hydrogen as a fuel in a gas turbine, the institution published on May 31 in a press release.
An important milestone reached
The innovation peaked in mid-May 2022 when an important milestone was reached: the team started running the turbine on 100% hydrogen. The ultimate goal is to produce electricity without harmful CO2 emissions.
‘We set a world record in hydrogen combustion in micro gas turbines. Nobody has been able to produce at this level before,’ said Professor Mohsen Assadi, who is leading the research. His team has now shown that it can use hydrogen in existing natural gas infrastructure without changing much of the initial composition of structures.
“The efficiency of operating the gas turbine with hydrogen will be somewhat less. The big benefit, however, is being able to use the infrastructure that is already exists. Furthermore, there are no CO2 emissions associated with this energy production,” Assadi added.
He further noted that this research is about storage & distribution of gaseous fuel.
“First, some effort is needed to ensure that existing gas infrastructure can process hydrogen instead of natural gas. Secondly, it is about technology for energy conversion, i.e. the turbine technology itself.
Where does the hydrogen come from?
However, the question remains: where does this hydrogen come from? Although hydrogen is one of the cleanest sources of energy, most of the hydrogen we produce today is still derived from and relies on fossil fuels. A revealing report from the US Department of Energy revealed that natural gas plants were the sources of 95% of the hydrogen produced in the country.
As a result of these fossil fuel driven hydrogen production processes, large amounts of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. These gases are exacerbating the climate crisis our planet is going through. However, this can be prevented if we find an environmentally friendly & sustainable way to produce hydrogen.
Last month, a team of researchers from the University of Strathclyde claimed that solar energy could be used to generate large-scale hydrogen energy. “There is an abundant renewable energy resource to address the sustainable energy challenge in the form of the sun, with the energy reaching the surface of the earth being 8000 times more than the combined annual global energy needs of our societies,” he said in the principal investigators’ press release . Dr. Sebastian Sprick, from Strathclyde.
If the University of Stavanger team could also use solar energy to produce hydrogen for their gas turbines, then they really would have developed a sustainable energy production method that doesn’t really harm our planet.