Caterpillar announced a low-carbon-intensity fuel project with District Energy St. Paul (Minnesota) to demonstrate a 2.0 MW combined heat and power (CHP) system fueled by various combinations of hydrogen and natural gas.

Supported and partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), the project will be led by Caterpillar in collaboration with District Energy St. Paul and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The project will help Caterpillar further extend they expertise in hydrogen-fueled power systems performing under the highest expectations of real-world applications.

For the demonstration project, Caterpillar will deploy a flexible-fuel CHP system that includes the Cat Master Microgrid Controller (MMC) and a Cat G3516 generator set packaged in a standardized, factory-assembled solution to minimize complexity and infrastructure requirements.

The MMC will manage load dispatch requirements as the power system demonstrates the performance, efficiency and emissions characteristics of a hydrogen-fueled solution. Using 100% hydrogen fuel, 100% natural gas fuel, or natural gas blended with up to 25% hydrogen, the project will compare how hydrogen and hydrogen blends can be integrated into a waste-heat-and-power solution.

Caterpillar’s investment in hydrogen-fueled power

The demonstration project with District Energy St. Paul and the NREL is the latest illustration of Caterpillar’s advancements in hydrogen-fueled power solutions. The company has begun offering demonstrator generator sets capable of operating on 100% hydrogen, including fully renewable green hydrogen, on a designed-to-order basis. The Cat G3516H gas generator set is available in North America and Europe with a rating of 1250 kW for 50- or 60-Hz continuous, prime, and load management applications.

Additionally, Caterpillar offers commercially available power generation solutions from 400 kW to 4.5 MW that can be configured to operate on natural gas blended with up to 25% hydrogen. In the fourth quarter of this year, customers will be able to order retrofit kits that provide blending capabilities up to 25% hydrogen for generator sets built on select engine platforms. 

Caterpillar and the sustainability goals

The hydrogen CHP project is the latest example of Caterpillar’s contribution to a reduced-carbon future through continued investments in new products, technologies and services. Caterpillar helps customers achieve their climate-related goals by providing products that facilitate fuel transition, increased operational efficiency and reduced emissions. In addition to its hydrogen initiatives, Caterpillar offers: software solutions for monitoring, managing and monetizing on-site energy assets, including natural-gas and renewable power generation, storage and microgrids; photovoltaic solar modules, bi-directional power (BDP) inverters, energy storage system (ESS) modules, advanced microgrid controllers and full digital monitoring.

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