April 15, 2021 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2021 • Episode: 3
Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!
In episode 003, I discuss Turquoise hydrogen. The current darlings of the hydrogen spectrum are blue and green but the leadership team at Monolith are doing some important things with Turquoise that will have a significant impact on technology that will create a cleaner world.
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Hello again, everyone. Let's answer another question today. What is turquoise hydrogen?
So the big questions in the energy industry today are, how is hydrogen the primary driving force behind the evolution of energy? Where is capital being deployed for hydrogen projects globally? And where are the best investment opportunities for early adopters recognize the importance of hydrogen? I will address the critical issues and give you the information you need to deploy capital. Those are the questions that will unlock the potential of hydrogen. And this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden, and welcome to the hydrogen podcast.
So why don't we want to talk about turquoise hydrogen, it's never in the news. No one ever talks about it ever. All anyone ever talks about is blue or green and what those costs are and where you can expect projects to be taking off. No one ever really talks about turquoise. But I think we can change that. And in today's podcast, I'm going to be referencing a blog from RBN Energy's Hydrogen Billboard. The blog is about Monolith's turquoise hydrogen plant in the United States in Nebraska. Now, monolith is based out of Palo Alto, California. And it was there that they set up their demonstration plant, and it wasn't initially set up to showcase the hydrogen production, but more the carbon black production. Now Carbon Black is solid carbon. So usually when you're talking about blue hydrogen, the byproduct is hydrogen and then you have co2.
Well, in turquoise hydrogen, you get solid carbon or carbon black. The pilot project was a four year demonstration and it was so successful that they went ahead and started up their first industrial scale plant in Hallam, Nebraska called Olive Creek one. Construction started in 2018. And now in 2021, it's become so productive, that they're actually looking to expand into a second phase of the project. So then why is this a big deal? Why is turquoise hydrogen a big deal? Well, if we compare turquoise to say, blue hydrogen, both use a natural gas to create hydrogen, where blue, you still get a co2 that you have to dispose of somehow, whether it's re injecting or compressing and selling or trying to strip the carbon from the oxygen afterwards. And with green, you just use renewable energy like wind or solar electrolyzed some water and you get hydrogen, you just release the oxygen, no carbon to worry about. But here's the really interesting thing about turquoise, especially at this plant for monolith. Here they can use either normal natural gas we all think of from oil and gas, or it can also use renewable natural gas.
And renewable natural gas is natural gas that comes from places like sewage plants, or landfills, or anything else that produces some kind of natural gas. Now, historically, turquoise had been created by transitioning this natural gas through molten metal. But at this monolith plant, they actually use plasma torch technology to reach those same temperatures. And through that process, you get a low carbon, hydrogen, and also solid carbon or carbon black. Another great thing about carbon black is that now you have just solid carbon, which can be used in different industries, such as anything needing a black pigmentation, whether it's ink for a printer, or car bumpers, essentially anything that's black and plastic, as well as anything made out of rubber. But that's not really the only reason why turquoise hydrogen is so interesting. The other reason is its generating price point. In 2020. The estimated price point in the US for turquoise hydrogen was about $1.40 per kilogram. Now why does that number sound so familiar?
Well, it's the exact same price point as blue hydrogen. The difference being that now with turquoise hydrogen, we have two commodities that we can sell versus with blue hydrogen, you have your hydrogen that you can sell, and now you have to find someone to take the co2 off your hands. Now that's not to say that there's not a market for co2. There's just a much larger market for carbon black. You know, all of this brings me back to the monolith plant in Nebraska.
What makes this plant so interesting on top of just that it's really cracked the code on how to make turquoise hydrogen a reality. They are also using 100% renewable energy to create the plasma needed to generate the hydrogen and carbon. And why is that a big deal? Right now, all of Creek one is producing 5000 metric tons a year of hydrogen, and 15,000 metric tons per year of carbon black. In phase two of this facility is going to see a 12x multiple of its carbon black and hydrogen output. And that is just an amazing amount of hydrogen and carbon to be produced out of this facility. So much so that no other green hydrogen plant in the world comes anywhere near how much hydrogen this plant will be producing.
Once phase two comes online, so is turquoise hydrogen a viable option compared to green and blue? Only time will tell but the work monolith is showcasing in Nebraska looks to be very positive, so much so that I would not be surprised to see a few demo plants open in Northern Europe. With their abundance of renewable energy as well as a solid supply of hydrocarbon and renewable natural gas. This technology could prove to be the best of both blue and green hydrogen. Alright, everyone, hope you enjoyed this little intro into turquoise hydrogen, as well as your introduction to monolith materials. Take care, everyone stay safe.
Hey, this is Paul. I hope you liked this podcast. If you did want to hear more. I'd appreciate it if you would either subscribe to this channel on YouTube, or connect with your favorite platform through my website at www.thehydrogenpodcast.com. Thanks for listening. I very much appreciate it. Have a great day.