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Testing confirms performance of hydrogen as viable fuel for land drilling operations

Caterpillar announced the results of a hydrogen demonstration project commissioned by EQT Corp aiming to evaluate the performance of a land drilling power module fueled by varying blends of diesel, compressed natural gas (CNG) and hydrogen.

During the 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 was conducted on a Patterson-UTI land drilling rig in Greene County, Penn., and involved utilizing a 1 MW Cat 3512C land drilling module with dynamic gas blending (DGB) technology. It confirmed the performance of hydrogen as a viable fuel across a series of steady-state and transient operational test points. 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.

EQT 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 project is just one of several ESG initiatives designed to help EQT reach that goal.

The demonstration project is also 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.

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