Siemens Energy has teamed up with the Intermountain Power Agency cooperative to carry out a conceptual design study on integrating a green hydrogen storage system into a combined cycle power plant in the US and use H2 in gas turbines.

The project that won a $200,000 grant from the US Department of Energy late last year is set to begin in March at the 840MW Intermountain Generating Station in Delta, Utah. It will analyse the efficiency and reliability of CO2-free power supply involving large-scale production and storage of hydrogen, and integrate that system into an existing power plant and transmission grid.

“The study will be designed around Siemens Energy’s Silyzer technology, which uses electrolysis to generate hydrogen. The scope of our research will include hydrogen compression, storage and intelligent plant controls,” said Tim Holt, executive board member at Siemens Energy.

“This is an exciting opportunity to work with the Intermountain Power Agency on integrating the cost-efficient use of CO2-free hydrogen in a power plant on a large scale basis.”

The aim of the collaboration and the DOE project is to precisely evaluate the renewable sources that will feed the electricity to the Silyzer to produce the hydrogen, a Siemens Energy press official told Recharge.

At this point it is difficult to specifically say which sources will feed the electrolyser as it may end up being a combination of sources from within the region, she added.

Using green hydrogen as storage or directly in power plants in theory would be an ideal back-up for for intermittent renewable electricity, but so far has not received much attention due to its still prohibitive price when compared to the direct use of renewables for power generation.

100% hydrogen by 2045

The Intermountain Generating Station is currently being upgraded to run on natural gas instead of coal, with plans to integrate 30% of hydrogen fuel at start-up in 2025, and eventually 100% hydrogen by 2045.

The power plant provides electricity to customers in Utah and Southern California.

“By switching from coal to a mixture of natural gas and hydrogen we can reduce carbon emissions by more than 75%,” said Dan Eldredge, general manager of Intermountain Power Agency.

“We are committed to being a leader in the transition to a clean energy future while taking advantage of the significant energy infrastructure already in place at the Intermountain Power Project.

“This study will help pave the way for the successful transition to net-zero carbon power generation.”

The Intermountain Power Agency is a cooperative of municipalities in Utah and California that currently runs two coal-fired power stations.