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Zero-Carbon by 2035: US’ DOE to Prioritise Clean Hydrogen Electricity

The United States Department of Energy has recently announced its merely US$25 Million Fund to support the six research and development projects to study the advancement of clean hydrogen technologies for electricity generation.

Across the Department, we’re working to make clean energy sources like hydrogen more affordable and accessible to help decarbonise America’s electrical grid and directly combat climate change.

– Jennifer M. Granholm, U.S. Secretary of Energy.

Jennifer stated that public-private collaborations have just been established to assist the US President’s initiatives to address climate change, increase renewable energy consumption, and generate good-paying clean energy employment for Americans. This includes better carbon dioxide (CO2) linking with hydrogen production from carbon-based resources, as well as technology to utilise hydrogen more effectively in gas turbines for power generation.

The six industry-sponsored initiatives will expedite the development of solutions to increase the performance, reliability, and flexibility of existing and future hydrogen technologies. Clean hydrogen electricity will contribute to President Biden’s objective of achieving a zero-carbon American power sector by 2035.

When coupled with oxygen in a fuel cell, the combustion of hydrogen results in the production of electricity, as well as the by-products of water and heat. Hydrogen is an environmentally friendly fuel that can be produced through a wide variety of low-carbon pathways, such as using domestic resources like as natural gas and waste coal, in conjunction with carbon capture and storage; through the use of biomass; and through the use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

Because of these features, it is an appealing option for use as a fuel in the generation of electrical power and in industrial applications, such as in the construction industry and in manufacturing. The selected projects will be managed by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), which is part of the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM). These are:

One organisation will complete an engineering design study for a new hydrogen production plant that produces 99.97% pure hydrogen while capturing 90% – 99% of CO2 emissions. The hydrogen will be transported and stored at the Painter Reservoir Gas Complex in Evanston, Wyoming.

The Gas Technology Institute (Des Plaines, IL) will investigate the use of ammonia-hydrogen fuel mixtures in gas turbines to potentially increase ammonia’s use as a clean, low-carbon fuel for electricity generation.

To explore and address combustion problems associated with burning extremely reactive hydrogen fuels, another company will design and test gas turbine components with natural gas-hydrogen fuel combinations of up to 100% hydrogen. In addition, another branch of the company will investigate the functioning of hydrogen-fuelled turbine components, which could significantly enhance gas turbine efficiency for both simple-cycle and combined-cycle power generation applications.

A Research Centre will design and evaluate the effectiveness of natural gas turbine engine components in high-temperature rigs with increasing hydrogen content using natural gas-hydrogen fuel mixtures. At the same time, they will research, develop, and test an ammonia-fired gas turbine combustor with minimal nitrous oxide emissions, robust operability, stability and efficiency better than 99.99 per cent.

The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides US$8 billion for hydrogen hubs. Leveraging FECM’s past project investments – it sponsors R&D, demonstration, and deployment initiatives to decarbonise power generation and industrial production to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and minimise fossil fuel production and use’s environmental repercussions.

Priorities include point-source carbon capture, carbon dioxide conversion, carbon dioxide removal, reliable carbon storage and transport, hydrogen with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and essential minerals extraction.

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