From the University of Stavanger a turbine that operates with zero CO2 emissions
The satisfaction that shines through the words of Professor Mohsen Assadi of Stavanger University in Norway is nothing short of infectious. Thanks to the team led by Assadi, a huge outcome for humankind has been achieved. In fact, for the first time a micro gas turbine has been powered entirely by pure hydrogen.
In May, the finish line was already in sight
The system used to power the microturbine is that of Norway’s own Stavanger University, and the intent of the researchers and Assadi’s team was to gradually, but permanently, transform the power source from gas to hydrogen, to provide energy with zero CO2 emissions. As early as May 2022, Assadi and his team saw the goal virtually a step away, as the microturbine had begun to run entirely on pure hydrogen. The power plant used to get to this historic first milestone is the same one that provides electricity and heating to the University and also to other buildings in the surrounding area from methane.
System can be improved according to Professor Assadi
The research conducted by Stavanger University focused mainly on two aspects: the first was the refinement of the combustion chamber, thanks in part to the valuable collaboration of the DLR center, the German space agency; the second was to focus on adapting the fuel supply and distribution system. As Assadi himself confirms, the hardest work was getting an existing infrastructure to handle another element, hydrogen, as opposed to natural gas.
Now the researchers will move on to a further, equally important phase. This will consist of analyzing the limits, the potential, and thus understanding whether and how they can increase energy production, equaling or nearly equaling the efficiency levels previously had with natural gas combustion. At present, in fact the efficiency of the microturbine with hydrogen is obviously lower, but the already concrete and demonstrable advantages are twofold: one can use an infrastructure that already exists, and the zero CO2 emissions.
Author: Guglielmo Maria Ruocco