Uniper, Siemens working together on developing hydrogen-fired power makeover in Europe

Illustration courtesy of Siemens.

European power generator Uniper will collaborate with Siemens Gas and Power on developing carbon-free hydrogen utilization in its power generation operations continent wide, the companies announced Wednesday.

The new agreement sets in motion a plan where the two German-based companies work together in evaluating the potential of green hydrogen by developing projects together. First up, they will work on using hydrogen in Uniper’s existing gas turbines and gas storage facilities.

Ultimately, the two companies are focusing on the role of hydrogen in Uniper’s coal power plants. The company recently announced that it would convert or close all of its coal-fired power plants in Europe by 2025.

Siemens is working on develop hydrogen options in power generation around the world. True decarbonization involving hydrogen would involve using renewable energy to power electrolysis facilities which separate water into its oxygen and hydrogen components. The hydrogen can be stored and then burned into adapted new-generation gas-fired turbines.

“Green hydrogen can contribute to achieving climate targets and is thus a key to a successful energy turnaround,” Jochen Eickholt, executive board member of Siemens Energy, said in a statement. “And it can do so across sectors in industry, mobility, and heat and power generation.

“But we’re only at the beginning,” Eickholt added. “Joint projects with our customers, such as the partnership with Unipier focusing on brownfield transformation and the design of the green hydrogen value chain, are extremely important here.”

Uniper CEO Andreas Schierenbeck agreed. His company is ready to invest and activate the strategy toward decarbonization in thermal power.

“After the coal phase-out and the switch to a secure gas-based energy supply, the use of climate-friendly gas will be a major step towards successful energy system transformation,” Schierenbeck said. “The decarbonization of the gas industry, including gas-fired power generation, is essential if Germany and Europe are to achieve their climate targets.”

Unipier’s goal is to reduce CO2 emissions in its European power generation from 22 million metric tons currently to net-zero by 2035. The utility already produces 22 TWh of carbon-free electricity with its hydroelectric and nuclear power plants in Germany and Sweden.

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Hydrogen-fueled power will front and center in the Lowering Carbon with Thermal Power track at POWERGEN International’s conference workshops. POWERGEN 2020 will be December 8-10 in Orlando, Florida.

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