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Dominion Energy Utah's hydrogen blending project, ThermH2, is a multi-phase project designed to develop and deploy a natural gas hydrogen blend. Hydrogen, a clean and versatile energy source, has a variety of potential uses to decarbonize multiple industries, including the residential and commercial customers that Dominion Energy Utah serves. Industry research indicates that when blended with natural gas, modest amounts of hydrogen (up to 5%) can be used in existing infrastructure and appliances without any modifications and the added benefit of reduced emissions, with the goal to prepare our system for a hydrogen blend by 2030. With these goals in mind, DEU set off on it's hydrogen blending journey.

The first phase of the project took place at the Training Academy in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2021. DEU blended 5% hydrogen in a test gas distribution system to confirm copious amounts of industry research on the efficacy and safety of blending hydrogen with natural gas. Throughout a year of rigorous testing, the company was able to confirm this existing research.

Training Academy
Training Academy

The next phase of ThermH2 moved to the live system of Delta and surrounding areas of Hinckley, Oasis and Deseret. DEU began blending natural gas and hydrogen at a up-to 5% level into the system, which serves approximately 1,800 customers, in March of 2023. In the fall of 2023, a new element to produce green hydrogen on-site will be introduced.

Producing hydrogen on-site through the process of electrolysis will provide additional emissions savings for residents in the area about 110 tons of carbon annually. This is equivalent to planting around 5,000 trees or taking 20 cars off the road!  DEU celebrated this milestone of introducing an electrolyzer to the project with a ribbon cutting in Delta on October 5, 2023.

Once the phase in Delta is complete, DEU plans to build upon their previous progress by pursuing phases 3 and 4. It is anticipated that phase 3 will include blending hydrogen in a high-pressure system while phase 4 will be focused on methanation, creating methane (or synthetic natural gas) by combining hydrogen and carbon dioxide over a catalyst. Details of timing and locations will be announced at a later date.

Currently, DEU is one of the few utilities in North America to have successfully blended hydrogen into a live system. Furthermore, they are among one of the first to introduce an electrolyzer into a project to produce hydrogen on site from renewable energy.

About Hydrogen: The Next Frontier Of Clean Energy

Frequently Asked Questions

The demand for clean, renewable energy is growing. Hydrogen is an emerging clean energy source that could reduce the environmental impact of nearly every part of our daily lives. Just like blending ethanol with gasoline in your car, blending hydrogen with natural gas lowers emissions.

Dominion Energy is exploring how hydrogen can help us achieve our goal of net zero emissions and also help decarbonize other industries.

Hydrogen: The Next Frontier Of Clean Energy

While 5% may not seem like a lot, the emissions savings is compounded the longer versatile energy sources such as hydrogen are used. Delta, for example, at a 5% hydrogen blend, will annual save between 110-120 tons of carbon - that is equivalent to planting 5,000 trees or taking 20 cars off the road.

How Does Hydrogen Work?
  1. Hydrogen starts here
  2. Control system uses flow information from meter set to determine how much hydrogen to add
  3. Hydrogen is added here based on demand
  4. Gas chromatograph double checks that hydrogen amount is correct
  5. Blended hydrogen travels underground into the Delta system

Today, hydrogen is generally produced one of two ways -through steam methane reformation or through electrolysis.

Steam methane reformation, currently the most commonly used method, breaks existing methane into carbon and hydrogen.

With electrolysis, hydrogen is produced by taking water and splitting it into it's basic elements, hydrogen and oxygen, using renewable electricity feedstocks. This is currently the cleanest way to produce hydrogen because, when produced using 100% renewable electricity or carbon credit offsets, it results in zero lifecycle carbon emissions.

Learn more about Electrolyzers.

  • Appliance Compatibility: Appliances operated normally and safely.
  • Pipeline Material Safety: No impact to the integrity of existing gas distribution infrastructure.
  • Emissions Reduction: Lower carbon emissions and no increase in other key emissions.
  • Leak Detection Technologies: Odorant, which is added to natural gas to allow for detection, was
    unaffected. In addition, industry-standard leak detection equipment was unaffected.
  • Natural Gas Quality Impacts: No change to quality or heating value of the natural gas

Delta was selected for several reasons:

  • Starting small: The customer base and system size/configuration
  • Modern system: The community has a modern natural gas system
  • Proximity: Delta is close to renewable energy resources and future hydrogen projects

Delta is uniquely positioned to be a leader in this emerging area of energy innovation.

Delta Map

Customers that are part of the ThermH2project will continue to receive safe, reliable, and affordable service that will include the environmental benefits of hydrogen blending with traditional natural gas.

Bills will not increase as a result of hydrogen blending. No appliance or equipment changes will be required and appliance performance won't be impacted.

Customers that are not currently part of the ThermH2 project will see no change to their service or bills as a result of this project

 

Yes! ThermH2 is currently the first of our gas distribution companies to reach phase 2. Ohio currently kicked off phase 1 of their blending project, Hydrogen Heights, and is testing in their training environment. North Carolina will begin testing in 2023.

All three gas distribution companies are currently involved in their regional hydrogen hubs: Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub (WISHH), Southeast Hydrogen Hub (SHH) and Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2).

The Department of Energy has committed $8 billion in funding to develop hydrogen projects and research by supporting at 8-10 of the 79 hydrogen hubs in the United States. As part of WISHH, Dominion Energy Utah and other project partners are being included for consideration to further hydrogen research and increase access to clean energy in their respective states.

Map of Hydrogen Hub Coalitions With DE Involvement

You can learn about the hydrogen hub that DEU is a part of.

No. Dominion Energy does not intend to blend at higher levels in the Delta System at this time. While research indicates that blending up to 20% is acceptable for many materials and appliances, Dominion Energy chose to begin with a lower-level blend of up to 5%.

Hydrogen has a lower energy or heating value than methane which is the primary constituent of natural gas. In other words, one cubic foot of hydrogen will contain less energy than one cubic foot of natural gas. However, Dominion Energy charges customers for delivered gas based on the energy content of the product they are receiving. This is done by measuring the heat value at the location where the gas is delivered and using that heat value to calculate the customer bill. Thus, any changes to the energy content or heat value of the gas delivered to your home or business by blending hydrogen will be factored into your bill calculation. You can rest assured that you will be equitably billed for the energy value of the gas you consume even after the hydrogen-blending commences.

Delta's natural gas system is comprised almost entirely of modern, polyethylene (plastic) pipe that operates at distribution pressures no greater than 45 pounds per square inch (and mostly far less than that). Both industry consensus as well as our own extensive, year-long, in-house testing demonstrated that an up to 5% hydrogen blend will not alter the performance or integrity of the Delta natural gas system.

The American Medical Association (AMA) statement regarding hydrogen blending came at the request and on the basis of research performed by Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). PSR’s website (psr.org/issues) highlight’s the groups primary objectives which include (1) replacing fossil fuels with 100% renewable energy; (2) reining in military spending to reinvest in community needs; and (3) promoting the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Several of PSR’s research and position assumptions are either not relevant to the Delta blending project which seeks to blend no more than 5% hydrogen for use in low-pressure residential and commercial applications or not consistent with broad industry research and Dominion Energy’s year-long testing and evaluation at our Salt Lake City Training Academy.

1. AMA/PSR claim: Producing hydrogen creates CO2
Response: This is not true. The source from which hydrogen is derived determines if/how much CO2 is created. In the case of the Delta hydrogen blending project, we are using a process called electrolysis that creates hydrogen and oxygen by introducing an electric current to water. When the electricity used in that process is sourced from renewable energy resources or utilizes carbon offsets or credits, the hydrogen produced is considered “green”. The production of green hydrogen does not create CO2. Nor does it produce NOx emissions. Except for during a start-up and the commissioning process, the hydrogen used in the Delta blending project will be derived from the green electrolysis process.

2. AMA/PSR claim: Hydrogen cannot used in appliances that have not been retrofitted
Response: This is not true. Appliances using natural gas within the blending footprint including Delta will not need to be retrofitted in order to accommodate the up to 5% hydrogen blend. This is true for common residential appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers, and stoves/ranges. It is also true for commercial appliances such as school or pool boilers. Multiple research sources, including THyGA (thyga-project.eu) and our own year-long testing confirm that blending up to 5% at low pressure does not negatively impact the performance of natural gas appliances. The AMA/PSR’s claim is based on research related to the use of hydrogen blending in large turbines seen only in power plant and large industrial applications and not residential and commercial applications. The blending project footprint does not include power plants or large industrial users.

3. AMA/PSR claim : Burning hydrogen produces more NOx than just natural gas
Response: This is not true. Again, the AMA/PSR is citing research that is applicable to burners which are used for power plants or very large industrial applications and not burners used in low-pressure residential and commercial applications like those found within Delta and the blending footprint. Extensive internal testing for a year at our Salt Lake City Training Academy, which replicates the various appliance equipment/configurations/vintages utilized across our gas footprint, confirms external research that demonstrates that premixed burners, which are the industry standard for residential and commercial U.S. gas appliances, do not produce additional NOx when burning hydrogen blends of up to 5%.

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ThermH2 also has a dedicated line at 801-324-3644 for any inquiries.

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