Natural Gas Plants Looking for Climate Friendly Pathway. Is it Possible?

April 25, 2022

Ongoing work to transform gas generator into a “green hydrogen” fueled process.
But if you have enough clean energy to create the hydrogen thru electrolysis, why not just use that?

Power Engineering:

The Long Ridge Energy Terminal Power Plant in Hannibal, Ohio is now burning a hydrogen blend following successful testing in late-March, GE and the plant’s owners said.

It’s a major step in the plant’s transition to become carbon-free. (by 2030, if all goes well)

While the 485 MW combined-cycle plant began operating commercially in October 2021, the plant conducted a successful hydrogen-blending demonstration on March 30, 2022

GE officials noted this is the first time one of the company’s H-Class gas turbines is utilizing hydrogen in a commercially operating plant worldwide.

Long Ridge Energy Terminal is powered by a GE 7HA.02 gas turbine, which can burn between 15-20% hydrogen by volume in the gas stream initially and is expected to be able burn up to 100% hydrogen over time.

For the demonstration, a 5% of blend of hydrogen was injected to the combustion system of the gas turbine. GE said further upgrades will allow the plant to burn higher percentages of hydrogen, subject to fuel availability and economics.

Initial planning for the Long Ridge Energy Terminal dates back more than five years. The power plant was built on a former aluminum plant site, with rail and LNG loading facilities included in the planning. The plant was long planned as a pure CCGT facility.

The plant plans to produce hydrogen onsite and is considering the use of below-ground formations for large-scale hydrogen storage. To produce green hydrogen with electrolysis, Long Ridge has access to water from the Ohio River.

Meanwhile..another company continues work on a way to burn natural gas while capturing all the CO2 released..

Texas Monthly:

NET Power has been developing its process for generating carbon-free electricity since 2014, but its first test of delivering power—enough for about one thousand homes—to Texas’s electrical grid last November was hailed as breakthrough by some in the industry, especially NET Power’s bombastic CEO, Ron DeGregorio. “I believe firmly that we are changing the world with this technology,” DeGregorio told me a few weeks after the successful November test, which he’s compared to the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk. “We really have, in concept, a new engine,” he said over a Zoom call from his home in Hobe Sound, Florida. “Just like what the steam engine was, or the internal combustion engine was, this is a new engine.”

The plant is unique because it reuses most of the carbon dioxide that’s produced from generating electricity and captures the rest, meaning it emits nothing into the atmosphere. “It’s notable as an engineering achievement,” said Michael Webber, a professor of energy resources at the University of Texas at Austin. “But it’s particularly relevant for Texas [because] it is a low- or zero-carbon way to use natural gas.” Indeed, if NET Power’s approach catches on, it could make the burning of West Texas natural gas far more environmentally friendly than it is now.

Still, NET Power’s carbon-free promises have a too-good-to-be-true ring to them. Other ballyhooed clean-energy saviors, such as cellulosic biofuels and flywheel energy storage, failed to live up to their early hype. So, proving that its technology works, as NET Power did last November, is just the first step. Making it as affordable—and as widely accepted—as conventional power generation may be a greater challenge. Stricter federal regulations and taxes on carbon emissions would help by raising costs on other electricity generators, but they are far from guaranteed in gridlocked Washington.

NET Power has some big energy-industry backers who are betting it will become a game changer even with that uncertainty. The company’s investors include Exelon, one of the country’s largest power generators; Houston-based Occidental Petroleum, one of the largest oil and gas producers in West Texas’s Permian Basin; and Houston-based McDermott International, a global engineering and construction firm that specializes in projects for the energy industry. One of those backers, Exelon, has publicly advocated for the U.S. to adopt “carbon pricing” policies, which would function as something of a tax on carbon emissions. If the U.S. were to adopt carbon pricing, plants such as NET Power’s would pay nothing while existing natural-gas power plants would either pay plenty or shoulder the high costs of retrofitting existing facilities to capture carbon emissions using devices such as scrubbers, which attach to smokestacks to collect carbon as it’s released. But that’s a big “if,” considering that some powerful lawmakers oppose carbon pricing as well as other regulations on natural-gas power plants. That leaves NET Power “operating in uncertain policy territory,” Webber said.

DeGregorio believes that uncertainty won’t last forever. As more companies pledge to meet “net-zero” carbon emissions by 2050, he says it will become increasingly difficult to build conventional, CO2-belching power plants in many areas of the country. “It’s only a matter of time,” he says, “before a strong position can be made that you can’t go build a plant unless you do it with this [NET Power’s] technology, or you come up with very expensive back-end controls,” such as carbon capture.

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