As the first US-based plant expected to use green hydrogen as a supplement to its solar power output, it’s vital for Duke Energy’s DeBary solar plant to be able to convert the hydrogen it will produce and store on site into power that its consumers can readily use during peak demand periods.
Duke Energy will work with GE Vernova to modify one of DeBary’s GE Vernova 7E gas turbines to burn either natural gas, liquid fuel, 100% hydrogen, or a blend of hydrogen and natural gas. GE Vernova will also modify the connected infrastructure to support hydrogen operation, a modification expected by 2024.
Our existing solar field and gas turbines… provide a unique opportunity… to produce green hydrogen, store it onsite, and then combust it to ensure reliable service when electricity demand is high. This combination of technologies will allow gas turbines to become decarbonized, dispatchable assets that support the addition of more renewables to our grid.
Senior vice president of generation and transmission strategy, Duke Energy
Companies like Duke Energy in the United States are seeing the potential for bringing cleaner, more renewable sources of energy online for their customers who demand it. They also know that these sources come with the built-in challenge of keeping electricity levels consistent and uninterrupted, especially during peak demand periods when primary wind and solar may be unavailable.
In what is expected to be a first-of-its-kind operation, Duke Energy started the DeBary Hydrogen Project at its solar farm outside of Orlando, Florida. Using a set of electrolyzers, part of the plant’s vast solar array will be dedicated to producing green hydrogen, which will be stored on site to distribute during those peak demand periods.
GE Vernova collaborated with Duke Energy on a hydrogen plant readiness assessment in 2021. Now, Duke has called upon GE Vernova’s expertise to modify one of DeBary’s 7E gas turbines to operate on 100% hydrogen, as well as natural gas, liquid fuel, or a hydrogen/natural gas blend. These modifications also include updating the fuel-handling systems, valves, and piping so that they can accommodate higher hydrogen blends.
Duke Energy aims to have the turbine operating under 100% hydrogen sometime in 2024, and if the experiment is successful, modifications to the plant’s three other 7E units could be on the horizon.