April 2 (Renewables Now) - The use of green hydrogen as a substitute for natural gas will be tested by Austrian electricity company Verbund AG (VIE:VER) at an 838-MW gas-fired power plant in Austria.
German cleantech specialist Sunfire said recently it and Graz University of Technology are also participating in the Hotflex research project, as part of which hydrogen produced from clean energy using high-temperature electrolysis will partially substitute natural gas. This will be happening for the first time in an industrial power plant operation, Sunfire, which will manufacture specific components for the facility, noted.
The Mellach gas-fired power plant has two turbines and they have used only natural gas up to now. Verbund is building at the site a pilot plant to serve both as an electrolyser and as a fuel cell. The hydrogen production capacity of the facility will be 40 Nm3 per hour.
After the three-year research project is over, the research facility in Mellach will continue to be operated by the Austrian electricity provider in line with the requirements of the operating reserve market.
Funds for the Hotflex project are coming from the European Union's "Horizon 2020" programme and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency.