Smurfit Kappa successfully trials ‘world first’ hydrogen turbine at French Saillat

FRANCE – Irish corrugated packaging company, Smurfit Kappa and the Hyflexpower consortium have completed the first stage of development on their joint Hyflexpower renewable energy research project at the paper and packaging group’s Saillat paper mill in France.

Located at the Smurfit Kappa Saillat paper mill in France, the Hyflexpower project involves significant collaboration across several industries, academic bodies and research institutes, including Engie Solutions, Siemens Energy, Centrax, Arttic, German Aerospace Center (DLR), and four European universities.

The hydrogen pilot was successfully trialed last month with a mix of 30% hydrogen and 70% natural gas.

The Hyflexpower project aims to clearly demonstrate that renewable energy can be converted to hydrogen and serve as a flexible means of storing energy which can then be used to power an industrial turbine.

The project officially marks the implementation of the world’s very first industrial-scale power-to-X-to-power demonstrator with an advanced hydrogen turbine. In 2023, trials will continue to increase the hydrogen ratio up to 100%.

Smurfit Kappa notes that the project was inspired by a European Commission report, A Hydrogen Strategy for a Climate-Neutral Europe, which outlines the essential role that hydrogen will play within the European Green Deal carbon-neutral and energy transition initiative.

Garrett Quinn, chief sustainability officer of Smurfit Kappa, said: “We are focused on reducing our emissions with the best available technology today, but equally this announcement demonstrates how we are focused on looking beyond 2030 and trialing new technology, such as hydrogen, today.

“This project will allow us and our partners to understand the technical feasibility of using hydrogen with a lot of our existing energy infrastructure.

“This is an exciting project for us, and industry in general, as we progress on our journey towards net zero.”

Commenting on the same, Bertrand Muguet, Smurfit Kappa Saillat paper mill manager, added: “We are delighted that the initial testing phase of the project was completed successfully at our Saillat paper mill.

“Smurfit Kappa is proud to be collaborating with our partners on this project which tests new technologies that we believe will form part of our net zero delivery.”

In November last year, the company invested more than €20 million (US$20.8m) to upgrade its manufacturing plants in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The company said the investments further highlight its expansion and commitment to investing in its Central and Eastern European operations.

Smurfit Kappa explained that the two plants received significant upgrades, installing new equipment to expand capacity and address the rise in customer demand for paper-based packaging solutions.

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