WEC Energy Group and EPRI announced the successful demonstration of blending hydrogen in a natural gas generator.
During two weeks of testing in mid-October, hydrogen and natural gas were tested in blends up to 25/75 per cent by volume to power one of the reciprocating engine-generating units that serves customers of Upper Michigan Energy Resources, a WEC Energy Group subsidiary.
The testing was performed on an 18-megawatt unit that uses a technology known as RICE — reciprocating internal combustion engines. The RICE unit was continually monitored during the test to measure performance, output and emissions data.
WEC Energy Group has set some of the most aggressive environmental goals in the energy industry, including net-zero carbon emissions from electric generation by 2050 and net-zero methane emissions from natural gas distribution by the end of 2030.
WEC Energy Group and EPRI worked with numerous industry groups on the project, including Wärtsilä, Burns and McDonnell, and Certarus. The project would not have been possible without the cooperation and support of Cleveland-Cliffs, the primary user of the power generated by the test unit.
EPRI will share a complete project analysis in early 2023 to further inform the energy industry on ways to successfully use hydrogen for RICE power generation to support reducing carbon emissions.
Gale Klappa, executive chairman at WEC Energy Group, said, “The results of this project are a strong indicator that these dispatchable units can run on very low- and no-carbon fuels.”
Arshad Mansoor, EPRI President, said, “This project will provide key insights on how this could be replicated around the world, providing energy companies with a suite of solutions to reduce carbon emissions.”