ORLEN commercialises innovative Multifuel technology

The testing phase for the 1MW prototype cogeneration set featuring the Multifuel system, which enables electricity and heat generation using hydrogen, natural gas or their mixtures, has been successfully completed. The prototype stands out on a global scale, employing a proprietary solution developed by ORLEN. The Multifuel system can be installed in generating units that are already in operation, allowing them to be gradually converted to run on hydrogen. Multifuel is set to expedite the adoption of alternative fuels in the power industry, contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions in the sector. ORLEN has filed a patent application for its invention.

In collaboration with Horus-Energia, ORLEN has developed and tested the world’s first multifuel system designed to power electricity and heat generating units. Multifuel enables a seamless transition between fuels, accommodating hydrogen, natural gas, or any combination of the two. The Company plans to commence the commercialisation of the technology as early as next year.

‘The widespread adoption of alternative fuels, including hydrogen, is a crucial component of the energy transition and a key prerequisite for achieving climate neutrality by 2050. The ORLEN Group actively supports this transition, notably through the development of bridging technologies that facilitate a seamless shift from fossil fuels to low- and zero-carbon gases. Leveraging the experience, resources, and infrastructure provided by PGNiG, we have developed a globally unique technology. Its application allows for energy production using natural gas and hydrogen, depending on the availability of the respective fuels. Tests have verified the flexibility of Multifuel technology, clearing the path for its swift commercialisation,’ said Iwona Waksmundzka-Olejniczak, Member of the ORLEN Management Board, Strategy and Sustainability.

Measurements of key operational parameters on the prototype cogeneration set equipped with the Multifuel system further affirm the high efficiency and reliability of ORLEN’s proprietary technology. In testing with over 0.5 tonne of hydrogen in different mixtures with natural gas, we achieved a remarkable increase of over 5 percent in the maximum efficiency of electricity production (relative to the manufacturer’s parameters). This means the prototype equipped with the multifuel system operates with greater fuel efficiency compared to standard products available on the market. The tests have also confirmed the safety of utilising a blend of hydrogen and natural gas in energy generation processes.

The standout feature of the Multifuel system lies in its flexibility. Natural gas and hydrogen are supplied to the power generating unit through two independent systems integrated with the control and monitoring system. This allows for the flexible adjustment of mixture proportions, a feature unmatched by any other solution on the market. Fuel dosages are automatically adjusted without the need for power reduction, and parameters can be changed within a single engine cycle.

Commercial application of Multifuel is expected as early as next year. ORLEN plans to offer the technology under a licence, facilitating the marketing of cogeneration sets featuring the Multifuel system as an extension of the offerings for both special and conventional generating units. The flexibility of Multifuel extends to its installation in existing generating units, reducing the cost of transitioning to low-carbon energy. The technology can be effectively employed in generating units that power industrial plants, heating plants, and public utilities.

The widespread adoption of Multifuel will be facilitated by the simplicity of design and the scalability of the solution for different generating capacities. By enabling the generation of low- and zero-carbon electricity and heat, Multifuel can play a vital role in supporting and stabilising the national power grid, including energy storage systems, electromobility hubs, and hydrogen clusters.

The device has been filed with the Polish Patent Office, and efforts are underway to secure an extension of patent protection to include Europe and the US.