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

“Hydrogen’s always been one of these things that’s the next big thing,” said Rick Beuttel, V.P. of Hydrogen for Bloom Energy. “Well, the day has come.”

Beuttel sat down with Clarion Energy at CERAWeek to discuss projects involving the company’s solid oxide fuel cells and electrolyzers.

Bloom Energy introduced its electrolyzer to produce green hydrogen in July 2021.

The company signed an agreement with Idaho National Laboratory, which is currently testing the use of nuclear energy to generate clean hydrogen using Bloom’s electrolyzer.

“We have coupled the electrolyzer to their simulator, and they are modeling moving a nuclear reactor around it,” said Beuttel. “How does the electrolyzer respond and looking at it holistically as a system.”

Bloom’s electrolyzer is also being used to generate hydrogen for a blending project on the California Institute of Technology campus. In conjunction with Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), the demonstration is intended to show how the natural gas infrastructure can be decarbonized. The resulting 10% hydrogen blend would be converted into electricity through existing Bloom Energy fuel cells downstream of the SoCalGas meter, producing electricity for a portion of the university.

On a larger scale, the electrolyzer and fuel cell combination could enable long-duration clean energy storage and low-carbon distributed power generation through the gas network for businesses, residential neighborhoods, and dense urban areas. When configured as a microgrid, it also could provide power to protect businesses, campuses, or neighborhoods from widespread power outages.

Beuttel said Bloom Energy intends to market its electrolyzers at a 10 MW and 25 MW scale in 2023.

Last July, Bloom Energy announced plans to install its fuel cells in a combined heat and power (CHP) plant to be built in South Korea. The company’s collaboration with SK ecoplant is expected to generate 4.2 MW of electricity at capacity and capture the thermal energy to provide heat and warm water for a nearby recreational center.

Globally, Bloom has more than 700 MW of installed base in fuel cell technology.

Hydrogen: What’s New, What’s Next? is a content track planned for POWERGEN International happening May 23-25, 2022 in Dallas.

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