Orlen, in cooperation with Horus-Energia, has successfully completed tests of a prototype cogeneration unit with a capacity of 1 MW, equipped with the Multifuel multi-fuel system, enabling the production of electricity and heat using hydrogen, natural gas or their mixture, the company announced. The multi-fuel system developed by Orlen can be installed in already operating generating units, which will allow them to be gradually converted to hydrogen power. Orlen applied for patent protection of the invention.
The Multifuel system allows for a smooth change of the fuel supplied – it can be hydrogen, natural gas or any mixture thereof. The company plans to start its commercialization next year.
“The extensive use of alternative fuels, including hydrogen, is an essential element of the energy transformation and a condition for achieving climate neutrality by 2050. The Orlen Group supports this process, including: developing bridging technologies that will ensure a smooth transition from fossil fuels to low- and zero-emission gases. Using the experience, resources and infrastructure brought to the PGNiG concern, we have developed a unique technology on a global scale, the use of which enables the production of energy using natural gas and hydrogen, depending on the availability of a given fuel. The flexibility offered by the Multifuel technology has been confirmed by successful test results, which opens the way to rapid commercialization of this solution,” said Iwona Waksmundzka-Olejniczak, member of the Orlen Management Board for strategy and sustainable development, quoted in the release.
During tests using over 0.5 tons of hydrogen in various mixtures with natural gas, the maximum efficiency of electricity production increased by over 5% (in relation to factory parameters). This means that the prototype equipped with a multi-fuel system uses fuel more efficiently than standard units available on the market. The tests also showed the safety of using a mixture of hydrogen and natural gas in energy processes, the material states.
The distinguishing feature of the developed Multifuel system is flexibility. Fuels – natural gas and hydrogen – are supplied to the energy generating unit through two independent systems, integrated with the command and control system. Thanks to them, you can freely change the proportions of the mixture, which is something no other solution available on the market offers. Fuel doses are adjusted automatically, without the need to reduce power, and the parameters can be changed during one engine cycle, it was explained.
Multifuel will be commercially deployed next year. Orlen will offer it on a license basis enabling the sale of cogeneration units with the Multifuel system as an extension of the offer of special and conventional generating units. The Multifuel multi-fuel system can also be installed in already operating generating units, which will reduce the costs of low-emission energy transformation. This technology can be successfully used in generating units supplying power to industrial plants, heating plants and public utility facilities.
The widespread use of the Multifuel system is facilitated by the simplicity of its construction and the scalability of the solution to various capacities of generating units. The device has been registered with the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland. Extension of patent protection in Europe and the USA is also being developed.
The Orlen Group manages refineries in Poland, the Czech Republic and Lithuania, conducts retail operations in Central Europe, mining operations in Poland, Norway, Canada and Pakistan, and is also involved in energy production, including renewable energy sources and natural gas distribution. As part of the construction of a multi-energy concern, the company finalized the acquisitions of Energa, Grupa Lotos and PGNiG. Its consolidated sales revenues reached PLN 277.56 billion in 2022. The company has been listed on the WSE since 1999; is included in the WIG20 index.