District Energy St. Paul and Caterpillar plan to demonstrate a hydrogen-fueled combined heat and power (CHP) system.

The three-year project involves siting a Caterpillar-supplied CHP unit capable of producing 2 MW and providing waste heat for useable thermal energy. The CHP unit will be fueled by various combinations of hydrogen and natural gas.

Power and heat from the project will integrate into District Energy St. Paul’s infrastructure. District Energy St. Paul distributes cold and hot water to heat and cool buildings in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota and adjacent areas.

The pilot is supported and partially funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy as well as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The project is in the early planning and design stage, with installation and data collection expected to begin in late 2023.

District Energy aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, with a 7% carbon reduction goal per year. District Energy is also working with Xcel Energy on an electrification project to further decarbonize its heating systems.

Caterpillar currently offers a 1250 kW generator set capable of operating on 100% hydrogen, according to the company, as well as power generators from 400 kW to 4.5 MW that can be configured to operate on natural gas blended with up to 25% hydrogen.

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