Duke Energy Corp. has announced its plans to construct and operate a groundbreaking green hydrogen system at its DeBary Solar Power Plant in Florida. This system will be the first of its kind in the nation and will have the capability to produce, store, and combust 100% green hydrogen in a combustion turbine. Construction is set to begin later this year, with the system expected to be fully operational by 2024. The project will integrate solar energy to power two 1-MW electrolyzer units, producing oxygen and green hydrogen for safe storage and subsequent use in a combustion turbine. Duke Energy’s initiative reflects their anticipation of hydrogen’s potential in achieving decarbonization across various sectors of the US economy. This collaboration between Duke, GE Vernova, and Sargent & Lundy LLC is part of Duke’s comprehensive “Vision Florida” program, which includes several cutting-edge projects with a budget of $100 million.
The International Energy Agency has emphasized the need for robust policy support and investment efforts to accelerate the adoption of low-carbon hydrogen production worldwide. The agency estimates that low-carbon hydrogen production could reach 38 million metric tons per year by 2030, with the global hydrogen generation market size potentially exceeding $230 billion. First Hydrogen Corp. is one company taking advantage of this immense growth. They sell and lease next-generation hydrogen fuel cell powered commercial vehicles, which have been praised for their range and performance. First Hydrogen is also planning to build its own hydrogen production facilities. The company believes that hydrogen is becoming a star player in the transition to cleaner energy.
However, a study by the Argonne National Laboratory has highlighted a key limitation of hydrogen blending in natural gas pipelines. While introducing a 30% hydrogen blend can reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, it can also increase pipeline leakage due to the differences in energy density between methane and hydrogen. Increased flow rates and pressure required to carry hydrogen in pipes can lead to higher methane leak rates. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has proposed solutions to address this issue, including replacing pipeline segments, pipeline looping, and adding compressor stations. These solutions can help pipeline operators identify suitable assets for blending and estimate associated costs.
Overall, Duke Energy’s green hydrogen system and First Hydrogen’s hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are significant developments in the journey towards sustainability. However, it is crucial to address the limitations and challenges posed by hydrogen blending in existing natural gas infrastructure. The Department of Energy’s analysis provides valuable insights and proposed solutions to effectively integrate hydrogen into the existing pipeline system.