WEC Energy to Pilot Hydrogen Blend at Michigan Natural Gas Power Plant

Upper Michigan Energy Resources plans to co-ignite hydrogen with natural gas as part of a pilot project at one of its power generation plants in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, parent company WEC reported. EnergyGroup.

“As we bring more renewable energy online, we need to make sure we can keep the lights on when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing,” said WEC Executive Chairman Gale Klappa. “The potential to add hydrogen as a clean production fuel to our fleet of dispatchable plants is an important step as we move towards a bright and sustainable future.”

In addition to utilities, midstream companies are exploring opportunities with hydrogen, renewable natural gas and other emission-reducing fuels.

Under the pilot project, which Upper Michigan is conducting with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), hydrogen and natural gas will be blended up to a 25%/75% blend to power one of regional power plants, the WEC said. The plants use reciprocating internal combustion engine technology manufactured by Wärtsilä and in operation since 2019, the company added.

EPRI has actively sought to commercialize low and zero carbon energy technologies. He plans to oversee the technical implementation of the project and disseminate the results, WEC noted.

EPRI CEO Arshad Mansoor called the demonstration projects “critical to advancing the clean energy technologies needed to meet zero emissions goals.”

Mansoor said the pilot “will provide key insights into how this could be replicated across the country, providing energy companies with a suite of solutions to reduce carbon emissions…along the transition to a clean energy”.

WEC’s utilities serve 4.6 million customers in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The company aims to achieve net methane emissions from natural gas distribution by the end of 2030 and net carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

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