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NETL Experts to Discuss Use of Hydrogen-Fueled Turbines to Drive Clean Energy Economy
Illustration of a turbine spinning rapidly.

NETL experts will discuss research that supports expanding the use of hydrogen-fueled gas turbines to produce clean electricity while meeting environmental standards for low emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), pollutants that contribute to the formation of smog and acid rain.

Text that reads "Increase your H2 Iq"

Richard Dennis, technology manager for Advanced Turbines, Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (sCO2) Power Cycles and Energy Storage at NETL, will lead the presentation at the H2IQ Hour webinar from noon to 1 p.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 15.

The webinar, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, is free and open to the public. However, registration is required. Click here for more information and to register.

Dennis will be joined by NETL’s Peter Strakey, research scientist, Thermal Sciences Team; Vince McDonell, professor and associate director, Combustion Laboratory at University of California, Irvine; and Jeff Goldmeer, director, Emergent Technologies-Decarbonization, GE Gas Power.

The webinar will also feature presentations from the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. Presentations will be followed by Q&A with all speakers.

Reducing natural gas as a fuel and replacing it with hydrogen is a critical component of the nation’s strategy to address climate change and develop a decarbonized U.S. economy by 2050. Based on findings by the DOE, a Hydrogen Program Record has been drafted that establishes a position on NOx emissions from gas turbines fueled with hydrogen. This program record is under final review by DOE and other relevant agencies and will be published in the near term.

Primary pollutants emitted during the combustion of natural gas in gas turbines include NOx, carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2). NOx and CO are important criteria pollutants as described by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. CO2 is a greenhouse gas and a key compound that contributes to climate change.

CO and CO2 emissions are nonexistent during H2 combustion. In order for hydrogen to be considered a viable alternative to fossil fuels in generating electricity, NOx emissions must be controlled to acceptable levels based on today’s health-based emissions standards.

In their research, Dennis and his NETL colleagues have found that hydrogen combustion to power gas turbines can achieve the same standards for NOx emissions that natural gas turbines are currently required to meet. Post-combustion control options also exist to further reduce NOx emissions.

In addition, turbine manufacturers do have significant experience using H2 fuel blends in a variety of current applications. To address the unique characteristics associated with the use of H2 as a fuel, many manufacturers have used diffusion flame combustion systems. These technologies commonly include a diluent, typically water or steam, to reduce flame temperature to suppress thermal NOx formation.

Based on data from a literature survey and input from manufacturers, NETL has found that today’s modern gas turbines can reliably combust 30-60% H2 fuels with similar NOx emissions as compared to their pure natural gas counterparts. Public and private research is underway to produce a 100% hydrogen-fueled turbine. NETL anticipates that industry will achieve this technology by around 2030 based on current research progress and publicly announced forecasts.

NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By leveraging its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.