Green hydrogen demonstration project begins at Brentwood Power Station on Long Island


By Susan Craig

The New York Power Authority (NYPA), in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), General Electric (GE), Airgas, Sargent & Lundy, and Fresh Meadow Power, have commenced a demonstration project to assess the potential of substituting renewable hydrogen for a portion of the natural gas used to generate power at its Brentwood Power Station on Long Island. This is a part of the State’s comprehensive decarbonization strategy as outlined in New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act).

The demonstration will evaluate the effects of different concentrations of hydrogen blended with natural gas at regular intervals to assess the blend’s effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and its overall system and environmental impacts, including nitrogen oxide emissions. At the close of this short-term project, peer-reviewed results will be shared with the industry and public to better inform what efforts can help New York State reach its goal of reducing carbon emissions 85 percent by 2050.

NYPA Chairman John Koelmel says, “As the first utility to perform a demonstration project aimed at evaluating how an existing power generation facility can operate with a hydrogen and natural gas blend, NYPA is continuing to lead the nation in exploring new and innovative paths towards decarbonizing electricity production. We are proud to work with our distinguished partners on this effort and look forward to sharing results.” Justin Driscoll, interim president and CEO at NYPA, ads, “The Green Hydrogen Demonstration Project is important to our path to decarbonization. We are excited to learn from this project and share our learnings with the industry so we can together step further along the path to a clean energy economy.”

Gil Quiniones, president and CEO at NYPA, says, “For us to achieve an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, we are going to have to use every tool in our toolbox and use new tools and technologies, some that we may not have even discovered yet. This project is an example of diverse energy leaders coming together to test solutions to one of today’s most pressing challenges, climate change. We will share the results of this demonstration project with the entire industry so we can, together, move toward a carbon-free economy in an informed way.”

NYPA’s Brentwood Power Station, powered by a GE LM-6000 combustion turbine fueled by natural gas, was commissioned in 2001 to increase power generation capacity for Long Island and New York City in anticipation of shortages. As the gas turbine original equipment manufacturer, GE will supply a state-of-the art hydrogen/natural gas blending system and support the project’s planning and execution. Sargent & Lundy, acting as the engineer of record for the project, will provide overall engineering and safety reviews. Airgas is supplying renewable hydrogen, and Fresh Meadow Power is providing piping system design, material procurement, and installation services. Headquartered in Chicago, Sargent & Lundy specializes in power plant and power transmission system engineering and design also provides construction, operation, and maintenance support. The firm has offices throughout the United States and in Canada, United Arab Emirates, South Korea, and India.

“Reaching net zero requires energy sector collaboration and using all available tools and resources. Demonstrating hydrogen blending in gas turbines is an excellent example of moving the needle forward in the effort to reach our decarbonization goal,” says EPRI President and CEO Arshad Mansoor. “New York has one of the most ambitious clean energy targets in the country, and this initiative could be replicated throughout the state and nation, as we work together to reduce our collective emissions. EPRI is thrilled to be working with NYPA on this groundbreaking project, bringing additional industry expertise through our partnership with the Gas Technology Institute and 48 industry sponsors of the Low-Carbon Resources Initiative.”

“GE is honored to provide NYPA with its industry-leading equipment and help deliver one of the world’s first hydrogen demonstration projects, showing the valuable role that gas-fired power plants can play in the energy transition in New York and around the world,” says Scott Strazik, CEO of GE Power. “As an industry, we must continue to take action to reduce emissions from power generation today, while investing in and developing technologies which will enhance the fight against climate change in the years to come.”

Fresh Meadow Power Vice President John Valvo says, “Fresh Meadow Power is honored to be providing design and installation support for this innovative project. The opportunity to provide local service support utilizing a local labor work force offers optimism for a brighter, cleaner future for our community.”

Sargent & Lundy Senior Vice President Paul Eiden said, “Sargent & Lundy is proud to support NYPA and EPRI by providing engineering oversight and safety reviews for the nation’s first full-scale demonstration project transforming an existing power generation facility to operate on a hydrogen-blended fuel. We look forward to seeing the impact hydrogen-based fuels may have on the landscape of the energy sector and, most importantly, the environment.”

New York State’s climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy-wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York’s investments to ramp up clean energy, including over $21 billion in 91 large-scale renewable projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting more than 150,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2019, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state’s 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit and finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.