Power Plant to Substitute H2 for CH4

Nuon Magnum power plant in Eemshaven, © Vattenfall

In the Netherlands, a power plant running on natural gas is said to be converted into a hydrogen facility. In mid-March, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems announced it would adapt one of Nuon Magnum’s three 440-megawatt combined-cycle units in Eemshaven, in the Groningen region, for hydrogen by 2023. The change in fuel would be part of the ongoing Carbon-Free Gas Power project.

The plant’s operators, Nuon/Vattenfall, Statoil and Gasunie, had commissioned MHPS to conduct a feasibility study about the use of hydrogen to produce power at the plant. MHPS, based in Yokohama, was formed in 2014 as a joint venture between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Hitachi. Alexander van Ofwegen, Vattenfall Netherlands, said that to fulfil the Paris agreement, the Dutch electricity industry’s carbon dioxide emissions had to be between 55 percent and 75 percent lower in 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Replacing natural gas with hydrogen could make an important contribution to meeting that target.

By contrast, the power plant burning hard coal in Lünen, Germany, will be reducing production and is said to be completely shut down next March. In 2015, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems had installed a power-to-gas system at the plant, as part of an EU program that covered 80 percent of the cost, or EUR 11 million. The system created methanol from hydrogen produced through electrolysis and from carbon dioxide released during flue gas desulfurization.

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