A natural gas-fired power plant under construction in southeastern Ohio plans to also use hydrogen to lower its emissions profile and become one of the first electric generators in the country to burn the fuel. 

The 485 MW natural gas plant underway at the Long Ridge Energy Terminal that straddles Monroe County, OH, and Wetzel County, WV, was sanctioned by Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure LLC (FTAI) early last year. However, in a collaboration with affiliate New Fortress Energy LLC (NFE) and General Electric (GE), the plant would use a combustion turbine to burn 15-20% hydrogen by volume in the gas stream.

With commercial operations slated for November 2021, FTAI said Long Ridge could be the first purpose-built hydrogen-burning power plant in the United States. Ultimately, the GE H-class gas turbine has the capability to transition to 100% hydrogen. Long Ridge has enlisted engineering firm Black & Veatch to assist in developing plans to integrate hydrogen blending. 

The terminal is also working with Zero, a new NFE division, which is investing and deploying emerging hydrogen production technologies to meet zero emissions targets. NFE’s core business is introducing liquefied natural gas in markets that lack access for power generation and other needs. 

“Long Ridge has many advantages in the pursuit of green hydrogen and zero-carbon power and this partnership allows us to get firsthand knowledge and experience blending hydrogen and natural gas in GE turbines,” said NFE CEO Wes Edens. “Our singular focus has been to identify and support clean technologies that can eventually produce hydrogen at commercially attractive prices. As we continue to make progress in our efforts and advance proof of concept projects, this experience will bring tremendous value.”

Hydrogen, the buzz of energy markets, had gained attention in the past with limited success. However, across Europe, countries are promoting more hydrogen use to meet aggressive emissions reductions targets. In California and in Canada, officials also are pursuing opportunities. Hydrogen can be produced from various resources, including fossil fuels, biomass and water electrolysis with electricity. 

Other power plants that could use hydrogen are under construction. A plant is underway in Utah to feed power demand in Los Angeles. Farther north of the Long Ridge terminal, another hydrogen project is in the works at a 1,084 MW plant in Harrison County, OH.