Editor’s Note: Clarion Energy’s Kevin Clark is on the ground in Houston for CERAWeek and is reporting the latest from the conference.

It shouldn’t surprise that hydrogen was a heavily discussed topic as the world’s energy industry gathered in Houston for the start of the 40th annual CERAWeek conference.

Hydrogen is seen by many as a clean fuel in a decarbonized future, with billions of federal dollars allocated to fund it. Newly added at this year’s event was a dedicated hydrogen hub.

“It is inevitable,” said Marco Alverà, CEO of energy infrastructure company Snam. “We will have between 15 and 25 percent of hydrogen in the global primary energy mix in a fully decarbonized world.”

Alverà, along with Samir Serhan, CEO of Air Products & Chemicals; and Bill Newsom, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Power Americas, spoke during the session “Will Hydrogen Deliver—and When?”

Newsom spoke one-on-one with Clarion Energy after the panel to talk about Mitsubishi’s blueprint to decarbonization and the company’s latest projects involving hydrogen.

Intermountain power project

Newsom singled out four of Mitsubishi’s hydrogen projects, starting with the 840 MW Intermountain Power Project (IPP) in Delta, Utah. Mitsubishi is supplying two hydrogen-capable M501JAC gas turbines, helping the soon-to-be-retiring coal plant transition to a natural gas and hydrogen blend. Starting in 2025 the project would burn 30% hydrogen. The company maintains IPP will be 100% green hydrogen-fired by 2045.

The renewed generation facility will be owned by Intermountain Power Agency (IPA) and operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), providing power to Los Angeles and municipalities in other parts of California and Utah.

Next to IPP would be Mitsubishi’s Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project, which would use renewable power to produce hydrogen through electrolysis (separating water into its oxygen and hydrogen components). The hydrogen will then be stored in an underground salt dome at the site and eventually used as energy for the IPP plant. The salt dome would have the capacity to store the equivalent of 150GWh of energy.

“We’ll be able to bring in curtailed renewables, convert that to green hydrogen, and pump it into the salt domes that are right next to the facility,” said Newsom. “Then we’ll be able to use that at the time when it is needed.”

Mitsubishi, Siemens and others are researching and testing hydrogen-fired gas turbines for power generation. Researchers have said while hydrogen combustion offers a promising energy storage and conversion pathway, it is not a “drop-in” fuel for much of today’s natural gas fired energy conversion devices.  In other words, alterations are needed in the fuel handling systems, valves and piping, and combustor hardware.  These alterations are needed to address several issues of concern to stakeholders, including pollutant emissions, operability, and cost.

Mitsubishi Power says its hydrogen gas turbine requires minimum modification to the existing infrastructures at power plants. In 2018, Mitsubishi Power first achieved 30% hydrogen co-combustion and aims to achieve 100% hydrogen by 2025.

As of August 2021: Tracking Mitsubishi Power’s U.S. hydrogen projects (Source: Mitsubishi Power).

Orange County power station

The second Mitsubishi project Newsom pointed out is Entergy’s Orange County Advanced Power Station, a 1,215 MW dual fuel combined cycle power facility. The plant will be located near Bridge City, Texas and use a blend of natural gas and hydrogen.

Like the Intermountain Power Project, Mitsubishi is supplying two M501JAC gas turbines, starting at a 30% hydrogen blend before working up to 100%.

Entergy intends to file a request for approval to construct the station with the Public Utility Commission of Texas. If the commission approves its application, construction wouldbegin in the second quarter of 2023. Entergy expects the plant to be in service by summer 2026.

In 2020 Mitsubishi Power and Entergy signed a joint collaboration agreement to bring decarbonization projects to Arkansas, Louisiana Mississippi and Texas.

Blue hydrogen hub

Newsom also brought up Mitsubishi’s collaboration with Bakken Energy to bring a blue hydrogen hub to North Dakota and its Bakken Shale oil and natural gas field. The infrastructure would produce, store, transport and consume hydrogen. It would also be connected by pipeline to other facilities.

The Bakken Shale, which stretches below North Dakota and neighboring states, could possess up to two trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Blue hydrogen is derived from natural gas with CO2 emissions captured and sequestered.

Takasako Hydrogen Park

The fourth project Newsom highlighted is at Mitsubishi Power’s own factory in Japan. The Takasago Hydrogen Park is expected to be a dedicated center for the validation of hydrogen technologies, from production to power generation.

The facility began long-term verification testing as a 566 MW combined cycle gas turbine plant in July 2020. Now, Mitsubishi is beginning to test and demonstrate hydrogen production and storage there, along with hydrogen blending in gas turbines, aiming to begin operations in 2023.

Like in the other projects mentioned, Mitsubishi already announced a 30% hydrogen blend for large frame gas turbines. It plans to use the hydrogen park to commercialize small and large frame gas turbines on a path to 100% hydrogen firing starting in 2025.

Watch the full interview with Newsom here:

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