WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC) and EPRI announced today the successful demonstration of blending hydrogen in a natural gas generator. The project is the first hydrogen power test of a utility-scale, grid-connected reciprocating engine generator in the world.
During two weeks of testing in mid-October, hydrogen and natural gas were tested in blends up to 25/75 percent by volume to power one of the reciprocating engine generating units that serves customers of Upper Michigan Energy Resources, a WEC Energy Group subsidiary.
The testing was performed on an 18-megawatt unit that uses a technology known as RICE — reciprocating internal combustion engines. The RICE unit was continually monitored during the test to measure performance, output and emissions data.
"We're very pleased to take a leading role exploring the potential of this technology as we focus on providing customers with affordable, reliable and clean energy," said Gale Klappa, executive chairman — WEC Energy Group. "As we bring more renewable energy online, we must ensure that we can keep the lights on when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. The results of this project are a strong indicator that these dispatchable units can run on very low- and no-carbon fuels."
“We are proud to be a part of the successful demonstration of blending hydrogen in a natural gas power generation facility for WEC Energy Group, “says Todd Sundbom, vice president of gas and heavy industrial at Burns & McDonnell. “As the energy industry strives to reach its carbon reduction goals, hydrogen is emerging pivotal fuel source for utilities seeking to decarbonize their existing power generation assets. We’re excited about how technology advancements, like hydrogen blending in a RICE unit, have the potential to provide reliability and decarbonize the grid.”
Demonstration projects like this one are critical to advancing clean energy technologies needed to meet net-zero goals," said EPRI President and CEO Arshad Mansoor. "This project will provide key insights on how this could be replicated around the world, providing energy companies with a suite of solutions to reduce carbon emissions. We look forward to working with WEC Energy Group and other energy stakeholders throughout the clean energy transition."
WEC Energy Group has set some of the most aggressive environmental goals in the energy industry, including net-zero carbon emissions from electric generation by 2050 and net-zero methane emissions from natural gas distribution by the end of 2030.
WEC Energy Group and EPRI worked with numerous industry groups on the project, including Wärtsilä, Burns and McDonnell, and Certarus. The project would not have been possible without the cooperation and support of Cleveland-Cliffs, the primary user of the power generated by the test unit.
EPRI will share a complete analysis of the project in early 2023 to further inform the energy industry on ways to successfully use hydrogen for RICE power generation to support reducing carbon emissions.
About WEC Energy Group
WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC), based in Milwaukee, is one of the nation's premier energy companies, serving 4.6 million customers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota.
The company's principal utilities are We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, Michigan Gas Utilities, Minnesota Energy Resources and Upper Michigan Energy Resources. Another major subsidiary, We Power, designs, builds and owns electric generating plants. In addition, WEC Infrastructure LLC owns a growing fleet of renewable generation facilities in the Midwest.
WEC Energy Group (wecenergygroup.com) is a Fortune 500 company and a component of the S&P 500. The company has approximately 38,000 stockholders of record, 7,000 employees and more than $40 billion of assets.
About Burns & McDonnell
Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies bringing together an unmatched team of 7,600 engineers, construction professionals, architects, planners, technologists and scientists to design and build our critical infrastructure. With an integrated construction and design mindset, we offer full-service capabilities with more than 60 offices globally. Founded in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is 100% employee-owned. Learn how we are designed to build.
Founded in 1972, EPRI is the world's preeminent independent, non-profit energy institute, with offices around the world. EPRI's trusted experts collaborate with more than 450 companies in 45 countries, driving innovation to ensure the public has clean, safe, reliable, affordable, and equitable access to electricity across the globe. Together, we are shaping the future of energy.
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