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Hydrogen powering CHP units

Helec Limited, a specialist in the specification, design and installation of gas fuelled Combined Heat and Power systems (CHP), is set up and ready to embrace hydrogen (H2). Fuelling CHP units with a blend of natural gas and hydrogen can help to reduce CO2emissions, and dependence on the electricity grid.

Helec has been delivering Energimizer CHP solutions into commercial applications throughout the UK for more than 11 years,  and its CHP units can be operated with a variety of gas fuel inputs, be it natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), or biogas. In addition, all Energimizer CHP models delivering co-generated power from 7.5kWe to 75 kWe are now “H2 Ready” to incorporate hydrogen as the fuel input required to operate.

Being able to admix hydrogen with natural gas will be particularly beneficial for businesses with on-site sources of renewable electricity, such as wind turbines and solar PV arrays. These renewables generate electricity when the wind blows and the sun shines, but demand to utilise the power produced can vary,  depending on the time of day. Producing hydrogen during periods of available excess electrical power through the process of electrolysis can produce, store and later deliver a “green” fuel source for ongoing CHP use when site demand requires co-generated thermal heat and power.

As hydrogen doesn’t emit CO2, it must be considered an environmentally friendly fuel compared with the standard fossil fuels used in the UK – and, if produced using electricity from renewable energy sources, it can result in zero greenhouse gas emissions. The other relevant emissions to consider are nitric oxides, on which special focus is directed with the use of a three-way catalytic converter within each CHP unit to achieve the required low NOx emissions. In summary, increased use of hydrogen gas can help the UK reach its target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Jonathan Passmore, UK technical sales manager at Helec, said: “Using stored hydrogen made from a renewable source is an extremely practical solution for CHP operators who are aiming for energy security and additional site cost savings. Hydrogen can be stored locally and used later to convert it back into electricity when PV or wind power is not available, or unable to fulfil site demand. This is a sensible use of on-site regenerative energy without logistical issues, or further strains on the regional grid.”

9 September 2020

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