California-based company Omnis Global Technologies wants to convert West Virginia’s Pleasants Power Station to run on hydrogen.
Pleasants is a 1300 MW two-unit coal-fired power plant located on the Ohio River in Pleasants County, West Virginia. The plant, which some top state leaders had pushed to stay open, shut down June 1.
Until late 2022, it had been owned by Energy Harbor, which transferred the plant to Houston-based Energy Transition and Environmental Management (ETEM) for the purpose of demolition.
Omnis is in negotiations to buy Pleasants Power Station from ETEM. Omnis co-owner Simon Hodson told E&E News his company has signed a letter of intent to buy the plant, has secured financing for the purchase and could take control by August 1.
The hydrogen used to power the plant would be a byproduct from Omnis’s graphite production operations, according to a filing with the Public Service Commission of West Virginia on May 24.
Hodson told E&E News that Omnis has developed a form of pyrolysis, where a hydrocarbon is heated at extremely high temperatures to make synthetic graphite.
In May we reported that Two FirstEnergy subsidiaries, Monongahela Power Co. and Potomac Edison Co., had sought to enter into a letter of intent with the operator of Pleasants to run it from May until June 2024 while exploring a longer-term solution. The companies were seeking a surcharge for all customers to keep the plant open.
This was at the encouragement of state lawmakers. During the 2023 West Virginia legislative session, both the state’s Senate and House passed resolutions strongly encouraging Mon Power to continue its feasibility study and to purchase Pleasants.
Mon Power and Potomac Edison said they would continue to negotiate with ETEM in case the Omnis deal didn’t work out.
As for Omnis’ proposal, some analysts are skeptical.
“This is a company that as far as we know has never run a coal plant, and they face the additional challenges of converting it in a way that appears unprecedented and untested,” Seth Feaster, an analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis told E&E News.
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