A Utah project to ultimately replace coal-fired generation with natural gas and then zero-carbon hydrogen, is undertaking its first major power equipment step.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems has announced that it was awarded a contract for two M501JAC power trains by the Intermountain Power Agency. The advanced class gas turbines will go into the Intermountain Power Plant (IPP) in Delta, Utah, and become part of a transition from the current coal-powered facility (which will be retired) to natural gas, hydrogen-gas mix and, ultimately, 100 per cent renewable hydrogen power generation.

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“Our mission is to provide affordable, reliable power with a future vision of becoming a net-zero carbon energy resource,” Dan Eldredge, general manager of the Intermountain Power Agency, said in a statement. “The unique Intermountain Power Project site and existing regional energy infrastructure provide an ideal opportunity for accomplishing this mission.”

IPA’s order includes two 1-on-1 M501JAC power trains with gas turbines, steam turbines, heat recovery steam generators and auxiliary equipment. MHPS would also service the plant under a 20-year agreement.

The 840 MW facility would replace coal-fired generation at the IPP. The new MHPS gas turbines will be commercially guaranteed of transitioning to a mix of 30 per cent hydrogen by 2025, reducing the carbon emissions more than 75 per cent, reportedly, compared to the retiring coal-fired technology.

From 2025 to 2045, the hydrogen capacity will be systematically increased to 100 per cent renewable hydrogen, according to the release. This can be produced using clean energy to power electrolysis facilities to create the hydrogen.

The renewed generation facility will be owned by IPA and operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). It will provide the power to the IPA subscribers it serves, including Los Angeles and municipalities in other parts of California and Utah. The power plant is connected to the Los Angeles power grid by an existing high voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission line.

The transactions also expand MHPS’ footprint in Millard County, Utah, where last year it announced a partnership with Magnum Development to create the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project adjacent to IPP. The ACES project will use renewable power to produce hydrogen through electrolysis (separating water into its oxygen and hydrogen components).

“We worked hard to develop a total solution for our customer IPA that included not only gas turbines capable of using renewable hydrogen fuel, but also the nearby ACES project, which will affordably generate and store large quantities of renewable hydrogen,” MHPS Americas president and CEO Paul Browning said. “We believe both IPP and ACES will be essential renewable energy infrastructure that will eventually help enable a 100 per cent renewable power grid for the entire western interconnect of the United States, and will also provide renewable hydrogen for industrial and transport uses.

The hydrogen will then be stored in an underground salt dome at the site and eventually used as energy for the IPP plant. It could be powered by on-site renewables or excess energy within the interconnected grid.

Numerous power industry companies are looking into hydrogen-fired generation as the utility world works to lower carbon emissions. Among those are MHPS, GE, Siemens, MAN Energy Solutions, INNIO and Ansaldo Energia.

MHPS also launched a website devoted to hydrogen issues and included a whitepaper on renewable hydrogen creation, storage and power generation.

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The future of hydrogen-fueled generation will be part of the Lowering Carbon with Thermal Generation track in the conference workshop at POWERGEN International. POWERGEN 2020 will be December 8-10 in Orlando, Florida.

Originally published on power-eng.com