Research Mentor(s): Taehoon Han
Authors: Joelle Wimberley, Taehoon Han
The plant that provides about one-third of DTE’s more than 10,000 megawatts of generation for its 2.2 million Michigan customers is headed for closure as soon as 2038. Why close one of the largest power sources in Michigan when we are able to implement a photocatalyst (PC) hydrogen method with little to no emissions? Water splitting is a promising approach to produce clean and renewable hydrogen fuel, which holds great potential for addressing energy and environmental challenges. PC devices are used in order to produce hydrogen by separating H2 and O2 from water using sunlight; called Solar to Hydrogen (STH). Photocatalytic hydrogen (H2) production is a process that converts solar energy into chemical energy by means of a suitable photocatalyst. PC devices operate by employing photosensitizers that absorb light and transfer the generated energy to catalysts ultimately producing hydrogen with little to no CO2 emission, and hydrogen can be used as a fuel for power generation. By burning hydrogen, electricity can be produced with zero greenhouse gas emissions since the only byproduct is water vapor. Thus, this study evaluates the feasibility on the application of sustainable photocatalytic H2 production to the powerplant in Michigan, as well as the economic and environmental evaluation of the green hydrogen powerplant replacement using TEA (Techno-Economic Analysis) and LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) tool.
Michigan’s number one power plant is DTE Monroe Plant in Monroe County producing 13,054,699 metric tons of CO2. While working towards the closure of the Monroe Power Plant, solar and wind energy has been mentioned which would split a limitless resource-water-to create hydrogen for electricity, heating and industrial power, with benign oxygen as the by-product. Monroe is currently utilizing the coal to fire method for energy production. If our method of green H2 production was implemented to then produce electricity this can prevent the closure of the Monroe power plant or replace it.