Delta City Chosen for Dominion Hydrogen Pilot Project

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After a year of testing, an energy company wants to prove its concept in the municipality

Delta City natural gas customers could get a dose of green hydrogen in their appliances if a pilot project proposed by Dominion Energy is able to overcome a few safety issues.

A group from the energy company presented a two-year pilot program to city officials two weeks ago that would see it produce and store green hydrogen at their current regulating station and blend up to 5 % with natural gas for customers in the region.

The concept has already been proven in the company’s training center in Salt Lake City. The company now needs a small municipality to test it further and Delta has proven to be the perfect fit.

Customers won’t notice any changes, said Steven Ridge, vice president and general manager of Dominion’s Western Gas Distribution division, including on rates.

“From a customer perspective, we expect them to notice no difference and that’s very important to us,” he told members of the Delta City Council.

Andrew Hegewald, Dominion’s business development manager, said blending is already underway in other countries and being considered by utilities in at least 15 states.

“We are not alone in this space. There is a lot of momentum, capital and brains in using hydrogen as a fuel,” he said, later adding that instead of relying on data from other services public, Dominion wants to collect its own during the pilot project.

The project is unrelated to the other hydrogen experiment taking place nearby: Intermountain Power’s conversion of the power plant to natural gas and green hydrogen.

According to a project engineer, Dominion plans to set up its own electrolyser capable of producing most of the hydrogen needed, using about 100 gallons of city water a day, about what five homes could consume.

The hydrogen would be produced and stored at the regulating station located along the city’s northeast border, where the company regulates pressure from the natural gas mainline to the region’s low-pressure natural gas network. . This is where mixing could safely take place, when the main line pressure is reduced from 400 pounds per square inch to 45 pounds for distribution to customers.

The 5% hydrogen in the mix is ​​a maximum amount, Ridge said, where the threshold would typically be smaller, especially during the winter months when grid usage is highest. Ridge said if the draft hits 5%, it would be during the summer months, when usage is lower.

However, one concern raised by fire officials who attended the meeting was the enormity of the planned storage site. Dominion wants to store up to 50,000 cubic feet of hydrogen in a series of small cascading tanks. That’s about 20 times the capacity considered safe by International Fire Code standards, said Delta City Fire Chief Lynn Ashby, who is expected to approve the project.

“There’s a big danger out there with the hydrogen,” he said, later adding that any emergency would require residents to evacuate at least a mile from the facility, covering just about the entire city. .

Alyssa Wahlin, the project engineer, said the company would include a number of safety features at its storage site to mitigate the risk of fire. She said the storage containers would be located as far away from any traffic lanes as possible. A firewall would be built to contain the storage units. And fire and heat sensors would be placed to detect any sort of combustion, triggering a total system shutdown if something went wrong.

She said the company is confident it can handle hydrogen safely because it does the same with natural gas every day, which itself is a dangerous gas. Additionally, a year of testing in the company’s training center reinforced confidence that it could be safely deployed to customers.

Still, Ashby was unconvinced.

“So you want a variation of this to store 20 times that amount (allowed by fire code)?” Ashby asked. “Right in the middle of town. It’s not looking very good.

Ridge said one of the reasons the company wants to produce much of the hydrogen onsite is because it doesn’t store a large amount there or handle heavy truck traffic to the site.

“The more we produce ourselves, the less we have to store. There is a bit of a compromise there. We felt that producing it ourselves was actually safer than hauling it around on truck trailers for the entire two-year period and storing it there,” he said.

When asked if state officials, such as the Public Service Commission, had approved the plan, Ridge said state officials had seen it.

“There were no red flags raised, I can say that,” he said. “We are not looking for a rate change. I think they liked it.

When asked Monday if Dominion officials had contacted him to discuss their plans further, Ashby said no. He said if it looked like a plan could go forward, it would also be after consultation with state fire officials.

Dominion has a web page with additional information on the pilot project (Go to www.dominionenergy.com/projects-and-facilities/natural-gas-projects/hydrogen-blending-in-delta-utah).

According to the website, the company wants to finalize plans in the second half of 2022 and install the necessary equipment in late 2022 or early 2023. Blending would begin early next year.

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