CenterPoint Energy (CenterPoint) announced that its green hydrogen project in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is operational. The project uses renewable electricity to safely split hydrogen from water. The zero-carbon hydrogen is then blended at low concentrations with natural gas in the utility’s local distribution system.
CenterPoint is one of the first natural gas utilities in the United States to produce and add green hydrogen to its distribution system. Because there are no carbon emissions from either its production or end use, green hydrogen has the potential to be an important zero-carbon supplement to conventional natural gas. CenterPoint Energy is Minnesota’s largest natural gas utility, serving approximately 900,000 residential and business customers in the state. The green hydrogen project is located on existing company property near downtown Minneapolis. According to CenterPoint, the system was designed and packaged by a Minnesota company and the major equipment for the project was made in the United States.
“CenterPoint Energy is committed to evaluating innovative solutions that reduce carbon emissions and advance a clean energy future,” said Scott Doyle, executive vice president of Utility Operations at CenterPoint Energy. “With this pilot project, we are exploring the potential of green hydrogen as a safe, zero-carbon energy resource that can be delivered through our local gas distribution systems to benefit both our customers and the environment.”
The project’s 1-MW electrolyzer is powered by renewable electricity and can produce up to 60 dekatherms of hydrogen gas per day, using approximately two gallons of water per minute. The water is sourced from the municipal water supply and purified before it enters the hydrogen production system.
CenterPoint said that the green hydrogen produced by the system is added in low concentrations, up to 5%, to the natural gas in a low-pressure section of the company’s local distribution pipeline system. As a substitute for natural gas that would otherwise be used, the green hydrogen is expected to avoid approximately 1200 tons (1089 tonnes) of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
Last year, CenterPoint Energy announced enterprise-wide carbon reduction goals. The company is working toward net-zero emissions by 2035 for direct emissions resulting from the company’s own operations and energy use (Scope 1 and Scope 2). The company has also made a goal to reduce its Scope 3 emissions by 20% to 30% by 2035.