A blend of hydrogen and natural gas will fuel the 485-MW Long Ridge Energy Terminal combined cycle power plant beginning in November 2021—for the first time in the U.S.—also putting the unit on a path to burn 100% hydrogen in the next decade, plant owner New Fortress Energy said on Oct. 13.

The $588-million project is a collaboration with GE Power that will use the firm's H-class gas turbine, which can burn 15% to 20% hydrogen.

The project, under construction in Hamilton, Ohio, on the Ohio River in the Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas formations, will be the U.S. pioneer in blending hydrogen in GE’s H-class gas turbine, according to GE.

The project executed an EPC contract with Kiewit Power Constructors Co. for design and construction in early 2019. Black & Veatch is assisting with engineering the integration of hydrogen into the natural gas.

Clean Fuel Adjustment

GE says it has more than 70 gas turbines globally that support power generation with hydrogen and associated fuels. Its turbines are adjusted for the hydrogen, which burns hotter than natural gas and is more reactive, the company says. 

Certain GE gas turbines that burn hydrogen and other alternative fuels can be upgraded to for greater levels of the alternatives. Some can burn 100% hydrogen, “a compelling reason why gas turbines can and will play an important role in the future of electricity,” the company says.

One challenges of using hydrogen as a fuel is efficiently extracting it from hydrocarbons, according to the U.S. Energy. Dept. Combining high-temperature steam with natural gas to extract hydrogen accounts for most of the hydrogen produced in the U.S., the agency said. Hydrogen fuel also can be produced from water through electrolysis.

GE has a source of industrial by-product hydrogen and will produce green hydrogen with the electrolysis, with salt formations used for long-term hydrogen storage, it says.

Singular Focus

New Fortress Energy is an energy infrastructure company founded to help accelerate the transition to clean energy, the firm said. It funds, builds and operates natural gas infrastructure and has a division that will deploy new hydrogen-production technology.

“Our singular focus has been to identify and support clean technologies that can eventually produce hydrogen at commercially attractive prices," says New Fortress Energy CEO Wes Edens. "As we continue to make progress in our efforts and advance proof of concept projects, this experience will bring tremendous value."

The energy terminal is a massive 1,600-acre project that includes rail terminals and a natural gas pipeline. It received $20 million in federal funding for a railyard and pipelines to increase project capacity and connect it to existing rail lines—giving the region’s natural gas better access to global markets, said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown,(D-Ohio), when the funding was announced in December 2018.

GCM Grosvenor, a private global alternative asset-management firm, owns 49.9% of the Long Ridge Terminal through its labor impact fund, which invests in infrastructure projects that encourage the use of union labor.