By bringing together French industrial leaders and leading academic institutions, the research memorandum of understanding aims to accelerate innovation around hydrogen for all uses, including low-carbon projects for gas-fired power generation and industrial applications.
This memorandum establishes a hydrogen (H2) research framework with dedicated resources in France to design and conduct a joint program, fostering collaboration and innovation for the energy transition.
General Electric, GRT Gaz, Ineris, McPhy and the network of French universities of technology (UTBM, UTC and UTT) have announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding creating a research framework on hydrogen for power generation.
This collaboration aims to strengthen research and development knowledge on hydrogen production, transport, storage, distribution and safety for all uses, including power generation. It allows the creation of a research cluster based in France that will specifically evaluate the concrete application of hydrogen as a fuel for gas turbine power generation. In addition to the integration of the necessary systems, this work will also address the modelling of their operation, the development of accessories and specific components, and the safety and certification of the systems.
This collaboration associates :
- GE Gas Power – a global leader in natural gas power technology, services and solutions;
- GRTgaz – a European leader in gas transmission and a world expert in gas systems. In France, the company operates more than 32,000 km of underground pipelines to transport gas from suppliers to consumers connected to its network, and invests in innovative solutions to accommodate renewable gases and hydrogen on its network;
- Ineris – The National Institute for the Industrial Environment and Risks is the leading public expert in the field of technological risks
- McPhy – an industrial group specializing in zero-carbon hydrogen production and distribution equipment (electrolyzers and charging stations);
- The French universities of technology, the UTBM in Belfort-Montbéliard, the UTC in Compiègne and the UTT in Troyes – these three institutions are grouped together in the network of universities of technology (UT), in a structural logic of sharing and promoting the same original model of training and research. These three institutions are public establishments of a scientific, cultural and professional nature whose main missions are the training of engineers and the development of technology.
This new hydrogen research framework has four components, focusing on different aspects of the development and fuelling of hydrogen-fuelled gas plants:
- System integration and operability modelling, aimed at developing an integrated model of the combustion turbine and hydrogen storage, blending and consumption, and designing cost-effective solutions that meet market needs. This model aims to develop a global solution, centred around a hydrogen-fuelled gas turbine that will provide electricity on demand and ensure the stability of the networks in a context of reducing carbon emissions;
- R&D on accessories and components for hydrogen production, including the development of robust equipment (valves, hoses, gaskets, analyzers/sensors, flow meters, etc.), simplification of purge systems, and gas separation technology. This component therefore focuses on the qualification of all the peripheral systems that are necessary for the operation of a power plant, in order to enable the conversion of existing gas-fired power plants to operation with higher hydrogen levels in the fuel;
- safety and certification of components and systems to ensure the highest safety standards;
- a test platform equipped with an electrolyser, to put into practice the concepts and solutions developed and validate them on an industrial scale. This includes improving the capabilities of the hydrogen test bench at GE Gas Power’s Belfort production site, where the 9HA advanced gas turbine is manufactured.
In parallel with this work, the creation of a hydrogen research facility will allow students from relevant academic institutions to be hosted, with initial funding and supervision to launch the research programme. This collaboration is designed to attract the interest of the main European or national innovation players in charge of the engineering, development, production and use of H2 systems and their successive stages (feasibility, engineering, installation/assembly and commissioning of prototypes).
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