Reporting from PowerGen 2023: The H2-Orange Initiative

Hydrogen test at Clemson University CHP using SGT-400

Peter Hoeflich, Director of Generation Technology at Duke Energy, and Thomas Koeppe, Head of Business Development and Innovation at Siemens Energy, presented on the H2-Orange project at PowerGen 2023 in Orlando, Florida. In 2019, Duke Energy completed a 15-MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant at the Clemson University campus. A follow-up project, known as H2-Orange, evaluates multiple forms of hydrogen production. Siemens Energy helped by using its Silyzer electrolyzer to produce hydrogen to power the existing SGT-400 natural gas turbine at the Clemson plant. The presentation discussed approaches for how decarbonization can be achieved with hydrogen and how to leverage the benefits of CHP power plants for district energy and university applications.

Koeppe said work began on the project in 2020, starting with the analysis of Clemson University to see how to decarbonize the campus. The university campus uses an SGT-400 turbine for a CHP application, providing heat during the winter and air conditioning during the summer. It exhumed 110,000 lbs/hr of CO2 during peak. Its output was 14.3 MW during peak periods. Overall, the purpose of the study was to explore the role hydrogen can play on the route to decarbonization.

One of the many challenges was how to make the numbers work. The main issue was the price tag associated with green hydrogen. The results of the study catalyze how the problem can be approached. The gas turbine in question is owned by Duke Energy. Safety considerations are key due to the equipment being located on the campus itself, as well as the site’s footprint. It’s a multilateral, cross-industry effort with significant complications not typically seen in an ordinary green or brownfield application.

Hoeflich focused on looking at existing assets and converting them to zero carbon while still providing value to customers. Some solutions were hydrogen storage, compressed gas storage, and pressure vessels. In this instance, an evaporative cooling system worked to regulate temperatures when working with extreme gas. Automated controls and monitoring/trending maintained reliability while logging maintenance requirements. Hydrogen onsite is compressed to 3,000 psi and stored in cylinders. There is space to increase storage capacity and can offtake excess hydrogen for reuse.