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The challenges with transitioning to H2 in power facilities

At World Hydrogen North America 2023 in Houston, Texas, Eliecer Viamontes, President and CEO of Entergy Texas, delivered a presentation titled "Debating the use case for hydrogen to decarbonize the power sector." The presentation focused on the challenges of integrating hydrogen (H2) into power facilities.

Entergy Texas services nearly 500,000 customers across 27 counties in Texas, attempting to balance stakeholders' affordability, reliability and sustainability needs. Although H2 has several net-zero benefits, various barriers to its integration exist—for example, H2 embrittlement, which may require dedicated H2 pipelines at scale.

H2 embrittlement is the corrosion of solid metal's (e.g., pipelines) structural properties due to H2. According to Viamontes, successful demonstrations of H2 blending have achieved up to 12 vol%–15 vol%, and to achieve 100% H2, dedicated pipeline infrastructure may be required.

The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) greatly incentivized green H2 production. According to Viamontes, green H2 is still above the delivered cost of natural gas, even with the IRA. A large portion of this cost is transportation and storage, which will be the main component of the cost competitiveness of green H2.

The U.S. has 1,600 miles of H2 pipelines, and 90% are in the Gulf Coast region. H2 storage in solution-mined caverns can provide utility-scale, long-duration energy storage to support grid integration of renewable energy generation and H2 fuel management. There are four H2 storage caverns worldwide, three in the U.S. and two in the Entergy Texas service territory.

Viamontes said there is strong customer interest in developing H2 in southeast Texas. He is projecting the production of 2,300 tpd of H2 by 2030, generating nearly 5.4 GW of new industrial load in the region. Entergy Texas is developing the Orange County Advanced Power Station to provide more reliable, lower-cost and cleaner energy in Southeast Texas, intending to co-fire H2, leverage existing infrastructure and adapt to future decarbonization policies.

Story by: Tyler Campbell, Managing Editor, H2Tech