Powering Strong Communities

DOE awards $9.4 mil grant to EPRI-led advanced hydrogen production project that includes NPPD

A team led by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has been awarded a $9.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to support research and development related to hydrogen production from fossil assets without carbon emissions.

The team includes Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), Bechtel, Gas Technology Institute, Hamilton Maurer International, Inc., Nexant Energy and Chemicals Advisory, and Wärtsilä North America, Inc.

The award is part of a DOE Initiative “to advance innovative power plant concepts that are capable of flexible, net-zero operations while producing hydrogen to support economy-wide decarbonization goals,” EPRI noted in a Nov. 23 news release.

The project will investigate design options for hydrogen production in a hybrid coal and biomass power plant. The integrated design study will assess multiple gasification systems that utilize the water-gas shift, a process that converts carbon monoxide and steam to hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

The system will be paired with pre-combustion carbon dioxide capture and pressure-swing adsorption, which produces high-quality hydrogen and a synfuel capable of generating flexible power using an engine or gas turbine, EPRI said.

The design study is a stepping stone to a future demonstration plant that will be strategically located at NPPD Gerald Gentleman generating station. NPPD is a sponsor of the Low-Carbon Resources Initiative, jointly led by EPRI and the Gas Technology Institute.

John Swanson, Director of Generation Strategies and Research at NPPD, noted that Nebraska is an area where opportunities for enhanced oil recovery and sequestration are being investigated for carbon dioxide storage, “and where the need for clean power and hydrogen is increasingly important to support low-carbon and long-term storage targets.”

The primary biomass to be used in the demonstration project is corn stover -- stalks, leaves and cobs left over after a corn harvest. Corn stover, which is abundant in Nebraska, will be mixed with Powder River Basin coal, necessitating a flexible gasifier that can use this fuel source, among others, including waste.

The study will begin in early 2021, which complements technology assessments underway as part of the Low-Carbon Resources Initiative, EPRI said.

EPRI conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery, and use of electricity.