Verbund will develop hydrogen pilot project at Mellach plant (Austria)

4 Apr 2019

Austrian power group Verbund has started to develop a pilot hydrogen project at the 838 MW Mellach gas-fired power plant in Austria, in a move to study the partial substitution of natural gas with hydrogen, thus marking a first for an industrial power plant. The project has been called Hotflex and will be developed in collaboration with the Graz University of Technology and the German cleantech company Sunfire, which develops and manufactures high-temperature electrolyzers and high-temperature fuel cells.

The hydrogen will be produced directly at the power plant, using high-temperature electrolysis with a production capacity of 40 Nm³/h. With its development, excess neighbouring wind and solar electricity can be converted into hydrogen by high-temperature electrolysis, and then mixed with natural gas to drive the two gas turbines. The Mellach pilot plant will also be able to operate in reverse mode as a fuel cell, producing electricity and heat from gas. Verbund will test this fuel cell mode for emergency power supply.

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