Research Policy

Only with continuous research and innovation (R&I) efforts, the EU will maintain its technological leadership. The EU research framework instruments are key tools to keep this competitive advantage in Europe and contribute to a low-carbon economy.

R&I related activities are at the core of EUTurbines existence. The variety of applications of gas and steam turbines requires continues R&I support for their adaptation for future challenges.  Therefore, EUTurbines promotes the development of an ambitious EU research framework programme for the post-2020 years. It shall demonstrate an industry driven approach to research and innovation together with a Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan that integrates national and EU priorities. An adequate research funding for flexible thermal power generation and other turbomachinery topics is essential. In this context EUTurbines developed special positions to the pioneering discussions on “Integration of energy storage in thermal power plants” and “Power to Gas”.

Read more about the EUTurbines involvement in the different SET Plan activities and in 2 Horizon 2020 projects below...

SET Plan 

The Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) defines the European R&I energy agenda. It aims at accelerating the European Energy system transformation, offering a roadmap towards the implementation of the 5th pillar of the Energy Union (R&I).  The SET-Plan Steering Group coordinates the translation of 10 key actions into speciļ¬c recommendations for R&I actions and/or policy measures, through thematic temporary WGs.  EUTurbines has concentrated its efforts in providing input and participating in the discussions in the following areas:

  • Concentrated Solar Power (Action n°1-2):Turbines have a key role in a CSP plant, independently of its configuration. The main goals in this action are to achieve cost reductions of existing CSP technologies and to develop the next generation of CSP technologies. EUTurbines experts identified 3 R&I areas to improve turbomachinery performance and efficiency in CSP settings and thus, contribute to the cost reduction of the produced electricity: (1) Development of a supercritical steam turbine optimised for the specifics of CSP applications, (2) Development of advanced concepts for improved flexibility in CSP applications and (3) Development and Field Test of a CSP Hybrid Air Brayton Turbine Combined Cycle CO2 System.
  • Energy Systems (Action n°4):Turbines play a key factor in the discussion of thermal power generation as back-up and flexibility source, and it’s capacity to process renewable energy sources. The overall goal in this priority area is to increase the system flexibility through the development of technologies, systems and services. EUTurbines is convinced that in an energy system with an increasing share of variable renewable energy sources, all four main flexibility options will be needed – including flexible thermal power generation, often powered by turbomachinery. EUTurbines is intensively involved in the ETIP SNET (European Technology and Innovation Platform Smart Networks for Energy Transition)- the stakeholder group appointed to follow-up on these activities and represented in the temporary WG. The ETIP SNET experts have identified 3 topics of high relevance for thermal power generation within the Implementation Plans: (1) Integration of storage in thermal power generation, (2) Developing the next generation of flexible thermal power plants and (3) Adaptation and improvement of technologies to novel Power-to-Gas and Power-to-Liquid concepts.
  • Energy Efficiency in industry (Action n°6):Turbines play a major role in improving energy intensive industry’s efficiency and emission reduction by turning waste heat into electrical power. EUTurbines holds the “leading capacity” for Heat and Cold Recovery topics within the SET-Plan structure. The focus of this exercise is on identified energy intensive sectors with the potential for energy savings and enhanced competitiveness through improved and innovative technologies. The following turbomachinery related R& I areas, are included in the SET-Plan implementation: (1) Heat upgrade from low to high grade, (2) Heat-to-Power (electrical) recovery (low and high temperature) and (3) Poly-generation (heat, cold, electrical power) and hybrid plants

Horizon 2020 Projects

Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative. Horizon 2020 has a focus on achieving excellent science, industrial leadership and addressing societal challenges through R&I.

EUTurbines promotes the need to further work on the turbomachinery technology’s adaptation to the challenges posed by the increasing share of intermittent renewables in the energy system, highlighting the importance of supporting projects in that area in the short and long term. EUTurbines and its members show the industry’s commitment to the further development of technology through the submission of project proposals to relevant Horizon 2020 calls.

Horizon 2020 has supported thermal power generation through the inclusion of two calls – LCE-17-2015 and LCE-28-2017. EUTurbines members, having created two Consortia for this purpose, replied to both calls with two successful project proposals: Flexturbine and TURBO-REFLEX.

  • Flexturbine: Flexible Fossil Power Plants for Future Energy Market through new and advanced Turbine Technologies. The funding for this project, under LCE-17-2015, was granted end of 2015 as the only project under this topic. Its kick-off meeting took place in January 2016. The project addresses the flexibility challenge of thermal power generation and focuses on a number of technological aspects: (1) Improved aero-mechanical stability of large aspect ratio turbine blades, (2) Improved seal and bearing design and (3) Improved life cycle management;
  • TURBO-REFLEX: TURBOmachinery REtrofits enabling FLEXible back-up capacity for the transition of the European energy system. The funding for this project, under LCE-28-2017, was granted in April 2017, together with two other projects. Its kick-off meeting took place in November 2017. The project addresses other aspects in the improvement of flexible thermal power plants, complementing Flexturbine. It focuses on improvements and optimisation of components – in the compressor, the combustor, the hot gas path and the turbine – which can be used to retrofit existing power plants as well as new machines, enabling a more flexible operation.

Related EUTurbines Publications for further reading: