News

DLR, Aurelia and REWAG Sign Cooperation Agreement to Push Forward the Use of Hydrogen Fuel in Micro Gas Turbines

By June 11, 2019

June 11, 2019

  • In the future, DLR will work closely with the turbine manufacturer Aurelia Turbines and the regional energy utility REWAG.
  • The focus of the cooperation is the use of hydrogen in micro gas turbines.
  • Micro gas turbines are a promising technology for sustainable, decentralized energy supply.
  • Focus (s): energy, energy storage, climate change, energy efficiency

Microturbines are a pioneering technology for a sustainable, decentralized energy supply. These small gas turbines can be used, for example, in combined heat and power plants to supply buildings and small and medium-sized businesses with heat and electricity. 

The German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Finnish manufacturer Aurelia Turbines and the Regensburg energy and water suppliers (REWAG) want to cooperate closely in the future development of this technology. Above all, the partners want to investigate the use of hydrogen as fuel in micro gas turbines.

“All-rounder” Micro gas turbine: Component for decentralized energy supply

Micro gas turbines are characterized by a high overall efficiency. They can be operated with different fuels and burn them particularly efficiently and with low emissions. Producing electricity and heat locally to the consumer also minimizes losses during transport and conversion. In the course of the sustainable transformation of energy supply, hydrogen will play an important role: as fuel and energy storage. So he can be made for example by means of water electrolysis from just unneeded electricity from wind turbines or photovoltaic systems.

Special combustion chamber systems in focus

As the first joint project, the partners will set up a micro gas turbine together with the Regensburg Energy and Water Supply (REWAG) and put it into operation. This turbine has an electrical output of 400 kilowatts and a very high electrical efficiency of more than 40 percent. It will be part of a combined heat and power plant in Regensburg, the produced electricity will be fed in and the heat will be used for a local heating network. The focus of the DLR researchers from the Institute of Combustion Technology in Stuttgart lies in the development of a special burner system. It will initially be operated with a mixture of natural gas and hydrogen and finally with pure hydrogen. “Hydrogen burns much faster than natural gas, which leads to high levels of pollutant emissions or damage in normal combustion chambers, because it causes temperatures that are too high,” says DLR scientist Dr. Ing. Peter Kutne, Head of the Gas Turbine Department .

The German Aerospace Center DLR and Regensburger energy and water supply REWAG start pushing forward the use of hydrogen as an energy source with Aurelia Turbines. The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop the capability to burn hydrogen fuel in a high efficiency gas turbine for distributed generation applications.

Under the MoU, the three will contribute their respective knowledge and resources to adapt Aurelia’s existing small high efficiency gas turbine to operate on hydrogen gas. The goal is to meet the demand for cleaner and more sustainable power generation for the future.

Aurelia’s CEO, Matti Malkamäki, said, ’We have been leading the efficiency development with the A400 turbine on natural gas. Now with this team, we can lead on offering the widest possible range of operational fuels in our gas turbine size range.’

Dr. Peter Kutne, Head of the Gas Turbines Department of the DLR Institute of Combustion Technology, added, ‘We are confident that our extensive research and development into clean combustor techniques for various fuels, can be applied to the A400. It allows low emission power generation across a variety of hydrogen fuel mixes.’

Depart Manager of REWAG’s energy related services, Andreas Kruger, commented, ‘REWAG offers environmentally friendly solutions for self-generation. This project will add to our tailor-made concepts. Being able to offer a hydrogen fuelled option will truly modernize and optimize our customer’s existing power plants.’