Duke Energy plans to begin construction of a new demonstration project in DeBary, Florida, featuring an end-to-end system that will create 100% green hydrogen. According to the company, this will be the first demonstration project of its kind in the United States and will help add renewable energy sources to the grid.
The system will be powered by a preexisting 74.5-megawatt solar plant in DeBary, which will provide renewable energy to power two electrolyzer units.
Hydrogen generation uses electrolyzers to separate water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen atoms, resulting in the creation of emissions-free energy. Once green hydrogen is generated, it will be stored in nearby containers to be used during high energy demand. The system will include a combustion turbine that will be upgraded to run on a blend of natural gas and hydrogen or on 100% hydrogen.
Hydrogen’s Role in the Clean Energy Transition
Hydrogen is considered a highly versatile energy carrier that may support a wide range of clean energy sources, and it is especially useful for energy storage. It may also be made available on demand, unlike solar, wind, or other intermittent clean energy sources.
“Duke Energy anticipates hydrogen could play a major role in our clean energy future,” said Regis Repko, senior vice president of generation and transmission strategy for the company. “Hydrogen has significant potential for decarbonization across all sectors of the U.S. economy. It is a clean energy also capable of long-duration storage, which would help Duke Energy ensure grid reliability as we continue adding more renewable energy sources to our system.”
Construction of the hydrogen project will begin later this year and is expected to be operational in 2024.
Project Follows Additional Clean Energy Advances From Duke Energy
Duke Energy, which has a goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, has taken additional steps toward grid stability and renewable energy adoption this past year.
In September, the company said it was able to prevent over 17,000 power outages during Hurricane Idelia through its self-healing system. The tool reportedly allows linemen to identify outages and then restore power to areas affected by a major storm. Eventually, the new hydrogen system will support this purpose, restoring power when demand is especially high or during weather emergencies.
The company also recently built a utility-scale solar panel installation in Kentucky, where 5,600 panels were placed on Amazon’s Air Hub. The new project supplies energy to around 400 businesses and homes in the surrounding area.