Cat tests hydrogen blends on drilling rig

By Jack Burke31 March 2023

Two wells were drilled with a fuel consisting of hydrogen blended with CNG

hydrogen test, Caterpillar Cat 3512C land drilling power module at EQT production site in Greene County, Pennsylvania. (Image: Caterpillar)

Caterpillar conducted a hydrogen demonstration to evaluated the performance of a land drilling power module fueled by varying blends of diesel, compressed natural gas (CNG) and hydrogen.

Caterpillar worked with EQT, the largest producer of natural gas in the United States, and Cat dealer Cleveland Brothers to design and manage a bench test and three-week demonstration. Two wells were drilled with a fuel consisting of hydrogen blended with CNG supplied by Certarus Energy. The demonstration, which was conducted on Patterson-UTI’s land drilling rig in Greene County, Pennsylvania and involved utilizing a 1 MW Cat 3512C land drilling module with dynamic gas blending (DGB) technology, confirmed the performance of hydrogen as a viable fuel across a series of steady-state and transient operational test points, Caterpillar said. The use of hydrogen blended with CNG also enabled a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

The project identified areas for future development, including the evaluation of the long-term effects of hydrogen combustion on engine components, acceptable hydrogen limits for broader deployment, hardware and software customization, and the identification of applicable regulatory certifications.

Caterpillar Oil & Gas said the test highlights the support and focus from Caterpillar to provide customers with a customized solution to help them meet their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.

EQT has a long-standing commitment to ESG and has pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from production segment operations on a Scope 1 and Scope 2 basis by or before 2025. This recent project is just one of several ESG initiatives designed to help EQT advance toward that goal.

“As an operator of choice focused on delivering long-term value for all our stakeholders, we have embraced our role as a catalyst for transforming technology, culture and environmental performance, and this demonstration project was an important step forward in understanding the viability of hydrogen as a fuel in a production environment,” said Jared Lowery, Principal Drilling Engineer at EQT. “For decades, we have depended on the reliability, durability and consistency of Cat power solutions at our production sites, which is why we selected Caterpillar and Cleveland Brothers to spearhead this demonstration project on our journey toward a reduced carbon future.”

The demonstration project is the latest in a series of initiatives across the Caterpillar enterprise to develop and commercialize hydrogen-fueled power solutions. In May, Caterpillar announced a project with District Energy St. Paul to demonstrate a 2.0 MW combined heat and power (CHP) system fueled by various combinations of hydrogen and natural gas.

Caterpillar has begun offering demonstrator Cat G3516H generator sets capable of operating on 100% hydrogen, including fully renewable green hydrogen, on a designed-to-order basis. 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 percent hydrogen.

“Caterpillar is a trailblazer in the use of hydrogen and other lower carbon fuels for power solutions across numerous markets and applications,” said Matt O’Sullivan, Caterpillar Oil & Gas general manager. “Our collaboration with EQT and Cleveland Brothers shows how we can support our customers in the energy markets by reducing their environmental impacts and helping them lead their industries in the energy transition.”

Caterpillar started manufacturing engines for the oilfield in the 1930s and is now a global leader in intelligent power solutions. Caterpillar is focused on delivering outcome-driven solutions that keep oil & gas operations powered while helping our customers meet their ESG goals every step of the way

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