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Los Angeles To Convert Its Largest Natural Gas Power Plant To Hydrogen

Los Angeles will convert its largest gas-fired power plant to one operating with green hydrogen, the LA Times has reported, citing a unanimous vote by the LA City Council.

The conversion will involve installing new turbines at the Scattergood Generating Station, which will be operated with hydrogen. The hydrogen will be produced through electrolysis using power from solar or wind power installations. The report notes that green hydrogen power generation has never been done on such a scale.

The plant will not begin burning only green hydrogen from the start. At first, it would only add the low-carbon fuel to natural gas, the report noted.

The unanimous vote by the City Council comes after its own Energy and Environment Committee expressed some concern about the project and made certain recommendations prompted by criticism from different groups, including environmentalists.

Some critics, as noted in the LA Times report, have called into question the benefits of the project for local communities, slamming it as “a greenwashing boondoggle”, per the LA Times.

Others, the Los Angeles Daily News reported last week, are concerned about possible adverse effects of using green hydrogen for power generation. Some environmental groups appear to be worried that green hydrogen in power generation may affect the climate. The committee also asked the city’s Department of Water and Power about the possibility for adverse effects on public health.

Following consultations, the committee recommended that the authorities make sure the conversion does not lead to increased pollutant emissions and does not create public risks associated with the production, storage, transportation, and use of green hydrogen.

All hydrogen is highly flammable, which makes its storage and transportation a challenging task.

The LA City Council, meanwhile, celebrated its vote.

“It was widely seen as being an impossible goal. And we’re now on the precipice of achieving that,” Council President Paul Krekorian said, as quoted by the LA Times.

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Brian Frankie on February 10 2023 said:
    So, let's see if I got this right.

    Los Angeles is going to take a solar/wind installation of some amount of electricity - let's say, just to put some arbitrary numbers on it, 100 MW of solar wind power - and use this to generate hydrogen through electrolysis. Average electrolysis efficiency is around 75%, so you get about 75 MW worth of H2. This H2 is then burned in turbines, with a typical simple cycle efficiency of about 40%, or combined cycle of 55%. So the 75 MW of H2 is turned into about 40 MW of electricity.

    So - you've taken 100 MW of solar/wind electricity, enough to power on order of 50,000 homes, and, after spending a lot of money to do so, managed to turn it into around 40 MW of electricity, enough to power on order of ... 20,000 homes.

    Brilliant. I can't think of another word to describe the plan.

    Just ... brilliant.
  • George Kafantaris on February 09 2023 said:
    “It was widely seen as being an impossible goal. And we’re now on the precipice of achieving that.”
    Exactly. And that’s true for hydrogen in general. We’re at the cusp of the hydrogen revolution, with the technology about to overtake us, but as with AI, we’re clueless on what to do about it.
  • Steven Salgo on February 09 2023 said:
    Why not store that solar and wind power in batteries?

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