GE, GRTgaz, Ineris, McPhy and the French network of Universities of Technology sign research memorandum of understanding to accelerate innovation around hydrogen

BELFORT – General Electric, GRTgaz, Ineris, McPhy and the network of universities of technology in France (UTBM, UTC et UTT) today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding creating a hydrogen research framework 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, this work also will address the modelling of their operation, the development of accessories and specific components, safety and certification of the systems.

This collaboration involves:
– GE Gas Power – a global leader in natural gas supply technology, services and solutions,
– GRTgaz – a European leader in natural gas transmission and a world expert in gas systems,
– INERIS – the French National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks, an industrial and commercial public establishment under the aegis of the Minister for Environment,
– McPhy – an industrial group, specialized in zero-carbon hydrogen production and distribution equipment (electrolyzers and refueling stations),
– The Universities of Technology at Belfort-Montbéliard (UTBM) – a leading centre for hydrogen research in France, Compiègne (UTC) and Troyes (UTT), which constitute a unique, leading, and innovative network of scientific, cultural and professional universities, training first-class engineers and doctors.

This new hydrogen research framework for power generation will encompass four research streams focused on different aspects of the Hydrogen Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) value chain:
System Integration & Operability Modeling, aiming at developing integrated model of gas turbine and hydrogen storage, blending and consumption, and aiming at designing economic solutions that meet marketplace needs. That model aims at developing a comprehensive solution, centered around a hydrogen-fueled gas turbine that will provide power on demand and ensure grid stability in a carbon-reduction context;
Accessories and Balance of Plant Components development for Hydrogen readiness including the development of equipment (valves, hoses, seals, analyzers/sensors, flow meters, etc.), simplification of purge systems, and gas separation technology. This stream therefore focuses on the qualification of all the peripheral systems that are required for plant operation, to enable the conversion of existing gas-fired plants to higher hydrogen fuel levels;
Safety and Certification of Components and Systems, to enable highest safety standards;
Test platform equipped with an electrolyzer, to put into practice the developed concepts and solutions and validate them on an industrial scale. This includes improving the capabilities of the hydrogen test bench at the GE Gas Power production site in Belfort, where the 9HA advanced gas turbine is manufactured.
In parallel, the creation of a hydrogen research hub will allow the hosting of PhD students from the relevant academic institutions, as well as providing initial seed funding and oversight to launch the research program. This collaboration will enable stakeholders to join forces to apply to calls for interest for major European or National innovative projects dealing with the design, development, production and use of H2 systems and successive stages (feasibility, design, setup/erection and commissioning of prototypes) relating to the project.

A few statements:

“This Research Framework demonstrates GE’s leadership in driving forward decarbonization solutions for gas power generation – for the region (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté), for France, Europe and the world. We are honored to join forces on this important effort with public institutions and corporate champions, both nationally and locally within the Belfort ecosystem. GE has a long history of innovation, and we look forward to utilizing our 80+ years of gas turbine development experience and over 8mln hours of hydrogen combustion learnings in our installed base to solve real problems that will accelerate our hydrogen charge,” said Martin O’Neill, Head of Strategy, GE Gas Power.

“Research & Development is a central issue in accelerating and achieving the energy transition. We are proud to be associated with this alliance to share our knowledge and skills for the development of hydrogen. Through its RICE (Research & Innovation Center for Energy) R&D Department, GRTgaz will mobilize its recognized experts and state-of-the-art infrastructure to shed light on the various projects, identify innovative and reliable solutions, and support the growth in the use of hydrogen,” said Pierre Blouet, Director of RICE – GRTgaz.

“The safety of new hydrogen processes and systems is an essential condition for the successful deployment of this sector. Through this research cooperation, Ineris is pleased to make its 25 years of expertise in hydrogen available to support tomorrow’s industrial innovations, which are necessary for the energy transition,” said Franz Lahaie, Ineris’ Hydrogen Project Manager.

Luc Poyer, Chairman and acting CEO of McPhy comments: “Within this working group, McPhy will contribute, in a sector logic, to the sharing and cross development of knowledge. This initiative marks a further step for McPhy, which is accelerating the development of technical and industrial skills in the heart of the territories. We are proud to participate in the consolidation of a French industry at the forefront of hydrogen technologies.”

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