FPL’s groundbreaking hydrogen hub reaches major construction milestone

Published on October 13, 2023 by Dave Kovaleski

© FPL

Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) groundbreaking clean hydrogen pilot project reached a major milestone this month – the production of hydrogen.

FPL’s first-of-its-kind Cavendish NextGen Hydrogen Hub pilot project draws from Florida’s most abundant natural resources – water and solar – to produce clean hydrogen. It will help the company explore using clean hydrogen to offset the use of natural gas to run a traditional power plant.

“Hydrogen is a ‘no brainer’ for Florida,” Dr. Arif Sarwat, eminent scholar chair professor at Florida International University and director of the FPL-FIU solar facility, said. “As the most abundant element on earth it can be stored as an energy source that can be used whether or not the sun is shining.”

How it works is, as the FPL Cavendish Solar Energy Center operates, a portion of solar energy will flow directly to the grid to serve customers, while the rest will go to power hydrogen production equipment, including a series of electrolyzers. Each electrolyzer splits water into its two basic elements: hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is released into the air, while the hydrogen will be compressed, stored and blended with natural gas, and used as fuel to produce electricity that will provide clean energy for FPL customers across the grid.

“What we discover could eventually help us hedge against the volatility and cost of fuel,” Tim Oliver, vice president of development at FPL, said. “This is about creating more options for affordable and clean electricity for Florida.”

For this project, a 5 percent blend of hydrogen will be tested in one of three natural gas combustion turbines.

Construction of the facility is expected to be complete by the end of the year.