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⚡ "The Road Ahead for Green Hydrogen"

Renewable Energy SmartPod

Photo by Federico Beccari / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Sean McMahon
Guest: Janice Lin | Founder & President | Green Hydrogen Coalition
Category: ⚡ Renewable Energy

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[2:28] “So the GHC as we call it was founded in October of 2019 […] as an educational 501c3 nonprofit, whose mission is to advance the green hydrogen economy. Our unique angle on this is that there is a way to accelerate the production and use of green hydrogen simultaneously and its use in multiple sectors to achieve scale. So the goal is using commercially available pathways to make green hydrogen today, aggregate demand and scale it as quickly as possible. Because by achieving scale, that's how we can drive down the cost.”

[3:23] “Green hydrogen is hydrogen that's made from non fossil fuel feedstocks and does not use fossil fuels in its production. Most people aren't aware of this, but hydrogen is an industrial commodity. It's been around for many, many decades. It's used all over the world. But most of the hydrogen use today is made from fossil fuels. And the really great news is there are other ways to make hydrogen that involve renewable resources.”

[4:06] “In the United States, hydrogen has been a target and alternative fuel option that has been worked on for many decades. You've probably heard of hydrogen fuel cell cars, there are fueling stations being put in in many states around the country. So there's lots of progress on that front. The challenge with that application, it's very high value, but there's just not a lot of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. […] Our angle is a little different. And we're approaching hydrogen and trying to accelerate applications of green hydrogen that can scale in mass scale very quickly. And the foremost one we're looking at is using green hydrogen as an energy storage solution for power generation.

[5:04] “A hydrogen hub is basically a targeted location, where you can aggregate demand. […] We happen to believe that power generation can scale demand much more quickly. One power plant can use a whole lot of green hydrogen. And where storage comes in […] is that hydrogen is a really convenient way of storing low cost renewable electricity. And what's different today from maybe even […] 10 years ago, is that renewable electricity is so affordable at the margin. It's the lowest cost form of electricity that you can buy today. The only challenge is when you need that electricity is not necessarily when the sun is shining, or the wind is blowing. And you can use that electricity to split water, it's called electrolysis, and then you end up with hydrogen and oxygen. That hydrogen is a storage mechanism for storing that low cost abundant wind and solar. You just need to put it somewhere. It can be stored in a pipeline in an above ground container, or in an underground geologic storage facility.”

[6:49] “We are blessed in this country with basically unlimited amounts of really low cost wind and solar, especially in the southwest United States, we've got a lot of wind resources in the West. Those resources can be used to make a zero carbon fuel. And so how the storage works is you use that really low cost renewable electricity, split water, you make the hydrogen, you store it, it can be stored indefinitely. And by the way, there are salt caverns that already store hydrogen in the United States. So this is not a new technology. It's just that they store gray hydrogen hydrogen made from fossil fuels, and soon we're going to start storing hydrogen made from renewable energy.”

[7:31] “The reason I call this stored hydrogen storage is because once you have that hydrogen stored, you can then turn it back to electricity at a later time, whenever you want. It can be converted back into electricity with a fuel cell. […] Fuel cells are very, very small, they're modular, you can put them anywhere, they can provide a really great resiliency benefit to port micro grids. You can also convert that stored green hydrogen back into electricity through traditional gas turbines like the ones that you see installed all over the country. Pretty much all of the gas turbines that are installed around the country can today combust a blend of hydrogen and natural gas. And several manufacturers are commercializing turbines that can combust 100% hydrogen in the near future.”

[8:41] “In terms of green hydrogen hubs, we're working on one right now. It's called HyDeal Los Angeles. […] We're hoping that HyDeal LA will be the country's first significant green hydrogen hub. Los Angeles already has […] 15 to 20 miles of hydrogen pipeline right there near the port of LA. Another factoid is the United States leads the world in terms of hydrogen pipeline, I think we have more than 1600 miles of hydrogen pipeline, mostly in the Gulf region, in and around Texas, primarily connecting oil refineries, because that's one of the largest users of hydrogen today. And of course, that infrastructure is all storing, moving and using hydrogen made from fossil fuels. Our vision is to create new infrastructure that can move mass scale quantities of green hydrogen to hubs, strategically targeted locations that have been designed for multisectorial green hydrogen off take. And so LA is a perfect example, where we have strong demand for green hydrogen for power generation. We have a number of oil refineries that could convert to green hydrogen, we have more fueling stations for fuel cell EVs than anywhere else in the country. And of course, there's lots of other industrial uses of green hydrogen, including someday using hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels for shipping.”

[11:06] “One of our challenges is, the locations of where we can make the green hydrogen at very low cost at mass scale, are not in the same places as infrastructure is today. So we're going to need new pipelines, or the ability to inject that really low cost green hydrogen into the existing natural gas pipeline. And there are a number of projects around the world demonstrating that it is possible. […] The use of that existing gas pipeline, which is ubiquitous, we have a gas pipeline infrastructure pretty much all over the country. That's a really amazing asset that can be used for […] moving green hydrogen and decarbonizing the pipeline. To achieve the green hydrogen economy of where we really want to go, we're going to need 100% hydrogen pipelines. And if you follow Europe's lead, what they're doing is they're repurposing and converting their gas transmission pipelines into 100% hydrogen pipelines.”

[12:39] “I would say Germany, for sure, is in the lead. In fact, they just enacted transitional regulation for hydrogen pipelines at a country level […]. Australia has also been an early leader in green hydrogen, but their goal, at least historically, has been around taking advantage of tremendous export opportunities, exporting green hydrogen to energy hungry nations in the Asian Pacific region, to Japan, South Korea. Chile has announced their intention to also be a low cost global producer. […] Saudi Arabia is dumping into it as an exporter. Our perspective is the US, given our abundant renewable resources, should be part of this emerging global trading network, as well as be part of the global decarbonized maritime shipping refueling network.”

[19:00] “There's multiple pathways to make hydrogen. We're talking about electrolytic pathways, which is zero carbon or renewable electricity being used to split water, wherever you have low cost renewables, whether that's wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear. There are certain areas of development where nuclear energy is really abundant and not necessarily matched with demand. So again, hydrogen is a great way to deal with that mismatch, especially if you have it on a seasonal basis. Remember, there are other ways to make hydrogen. You can make hydrogen from bio gas by reforming bio gas through gasification or pyrolysis of organic matter. So anywhere you have a lot of organic waste, municipal waste, agriculture waste, that can happen pretty much anywhere in the country.”

[30:15] “My prediction is that [in 10 years] HyDeal Los Angeles will be one of the four green hydrogen hubs or clean hydrogen hubs that the US federal government wants to see advanced in the near term. We're able to develop the infrastructure and deliver mass scale hydrogen into the LA basin to satisfy those applications. The Port of Los Angeles, maybe the Port of Long Beach, becomes the first port in North America to provide green hydrogen refueling options for maritime shipping, partnering up with Singapore and some other progressive parts in the Asia Pacific. We see the first green hydrogen passenger flight happening between Los Angeles and maybe nearby cities, and LAX starts offering decarbonized green hydrogen fuel for long haul flights. At the same time, because of all this aggregated demand, and now the low delivered cost of green hydrogen, we achieve really low cost in the LA basin. Heavy duty trucking and vehicle travel gets accelerated. So we see a mass conversion of diesel trucks to […] green hydrogen fuel trucks. And the emissions […] in  that whole region goes from being a basically a disadvantaged poor air quality area to one of the most pristine air quality locations in the country. That also has tremendous economic development, and opportunity to export low cost green hydrogen to Hawaii and Japan.”

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 38 min | 🗓️ 08/31/2021
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