Snam and Baker Hughes Test First Hydrogen Hybrid Turbine for Gas Transportation

MILAN (Reuters) — Snam and oilfield service giant Baker Hughes Co have successfully completed tests for a "hybrid" turbine that will allow transportation pipelines to carry hydrogen along with natural gas, the Italian gas company said on Monday.

The new turbine, which was entirely designed and produced in Baker Hughes' plants in Italy and can be fuelled by a mix of natural gas and up to 10% of hydrogen, will be installed by next year at Snam's Istrana site near Treviso in northern Italy.

Green hydrogen, produced by electrolysis using solar and wind power sources, is seen as a possible replacement for fossil fuels such as natural gas since it does not produce carbon dioxide when burnt.

Most hydrogen produced today in the United States is made via steam-methane reforming, a mature production process in which high-temperature steam is used to produce hydrogen from a methane source, such as natural gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Chief Executive Marco Alverà said in a statement that the project marked a further step in efforts by Snam, Europe's biggest gas transport group, to adapt its pipeline network for hydrogen transportation.

Raising the share of hydrogen in the natural gas it transports to 10% would allow it to pump about 7 billion cubic meters of hydrogen each year, Snam said -- enough to cover annual consumption for 3 million families and cut carbon emissions by 5 million tons.   

Snam said that 70% of its natural gas grid was already made up of "hydrogen ready" pipes.

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