Snam SpA, a European operator in natural gas transport and storage, has successfully completed a series of tests using hydrogen as a fuel to power gas turbines at one of its natural gas compression stations in Istrana, Italy. The testing, which was carried out in collaboration with Baker Hughes, demonstrated the compatibility of the various assets with the use of a blend of 10% hydrogen and natural gas.
Tests involved a Baker Hughes NovaLT12 gas turbine and a Baker Hughes PGT25 gas turbine. Between boosting and storage stations, Snam has 39 PGT25 turbines installed out of a total of 73 machines, which account for about 70% of its total power capacity (1325 MW).
The introduction of hydrogen in increasing quantities in the current fleet (from the 10% blend tested up to volumes between 15% and 20%) will allow for a greater reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions compared to the use of natural gas alone. Based on the operating data for 2021, a permanent use of 10% hydrogen in all the Snam group’s PGT25 turbines would make it possible to avoid almost 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, further reducing the already limited impact of natural gas supply.
Snam plans to continue its collaboration with turbine suppliers with the aim of extending hydrogen compatibility tests to its entire turbocompressor fleet. The investigations in progress are aimed at verifying “in-the-field” the reaction of the various components from a metallurgical point of view and the required maintenance and efficiency of the turbines in the presence of hydrogen, as well as compliance with stringent safety and environmental impact requirements. In the future, these tests could lead to the development of a consistent standard for the design of all future compression units used by Snam.