THP-E119: The United States Puts Its Political Differences Aside To Take Advantage Of Hydrogen Investments And Caterpillar Is Going Big With A Major Hydrogen Announcement.

June 02, 2022 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2022 • Episode: 119

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Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 119, Popular Science highlights the difference between red and blue state hydrogen politics. And Caterpillar announces a new demonstration project in Minnesota. All of this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

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Paul Rodden



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Popular Science highlights the difference between red and blue state hydrogen politics. And Caterpillar announces a new demonstration project in Minnesota. All of this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

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 who 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.

And an article in Popular Science Thor Benson writes red and blue states race to become hydrogen energy hubs. states like California, Texas and Colorado are currently vying to become hubs for hydrogen production. While hydrogen offers the potential for additional renewable energy. Many are not solely doing it because they’re committed to a clean energy future. The Biden administration rolled out a plan in February to provide $8 billion to numerous states around the country to reduce process and store hydrogen as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Applications for the funding opened up this month, and the Department of Energy is working on deciding where it will be awarded to.

The vast majority of the hydrogen currently produced, the United States goes to the industrial processes by creating ammonia fertilizer and refining petroleum. But that isn’t the only way it can be used. It can also be used to store energy and generate renewable energy. Interest in hydrogen power has grown significantly over the past few years. But the country currently isn’t generating a lot of hydrogen power. For example, only around 260 megawatts of power from fuel cell electric power generators is currently in use, while solar is generating about 121 gigawatts. However, hydrogen fuel cells are also being used to power new electric vehicles. Jacob Leachman, an associate professor of mechanical and materials engineering at Washington State University tells Popular Science that hydrogen fuel cells are more common than we’d probably expect. He says 33% of the nation’s groceries are completely moved with hydrogen fuel cell forklifts. He notes that hydrogen fuel cells are used extensively in freight and logistics. In terms of what hydrogen power actually looks like.

There are a couple of different ways it can be used on the grid. You can use hydrogen for grid energy storage, which can help backup solar and wind power when they’re not generating a lot of power. Essentially, that involves using clean energy for electrolysis of water to create hydrogen fuel for generating electricity. Renewable energy power is a process that can actually store energy for later. You can also burn hydrogen in a power plant to produce electricity, but that’s typically done by mixing it with natural gas, which means it still contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. That said many power plants that run solely on hydrogen are currently being developed in Europe and elsewhere. Hydrogen hub is considered a region where a new hydrogen production center is formed. This can create jobs and make hydrogen resources more available for various uses.

Many states are working together often forming consortiums to plan for this and compete for the new funding. Texas has begun hydrogen production in the Houston area, but several consortiums of states are linking up to create regional hubs, including the Pacific Northwest and California, Rocky Mountain states like Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming and a northeast consortium including New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Considering hydrogen has so many uses states that are looking to become quote, hydrogen production hubs have a range of reasons for wanting to get into the game. Leachman says that conservative states may look to produce hydrogen mostly for industrial uses, and liberal states could use hydrogen energy to increase their clean energy capacity. There’s also a push for renewable energy in conservative states. Again, according to Leachman, every state and region has a different play on the hydrogen hubs, many of them are very much about renewable energy.

All of the regions, though, have a different way that they can play this that really benefits them. Distributing hydrogen production across the country will mean all states will have access to hydrogen resources and other uses and will become more familiarized with it. Leachman says this will have an important effect. He says the hydrogen hubs initiative requires the hubs to be regionally distributed across the United States, which means inherently we will have hydrogen hubs that will be placed in locations where we’ve never had a hydrogen resource. He continues saying that is going to result in huge fundamental shifts in the goods and services and energy across the United States in ways that are very difficult to imagine. Leachman says having new hydrogen production in so many parts of the country could mean that hydrogen becomes a more in normalised energy source, people can see facilities in their own communities and the jobs that will be created because of them. hydrogen production appears to be on track to become a rapidly growing industry in the United States.

And it’s clearly going to affect every part of the country. Goldman Sachs claim hydrogen generation could become a $1 trillion market in the not too distant future. And soon we may be using it to power our homes instead of just making fertilizer. Okay, so a really good article in Popular Science written by Thor Benson, that really starts to look at the hydrogen market in industry at a high level, and how the conservative states look at hydrogen versus the liberal states and how they look at hydrogen. And what I love about articles like this is that it puts into context that it doesn’t really matter your reasons for switching to hydrogen, because no matter how you use the hydrogen, it’s going to be a cleaner effort than burning straight hydrocarbons. And it’s also a very simple and elegant solution of storing energy created by renewable energy.

And before you say wait, we can use massive battery tanks to store that same energy. Keep in mind that the average modern car battery can store 250 Watt hours of energy for every kilogram of lithium ion. But that same kilogram of hydrogen, meanwhile, has over 33,000 of those same watt hours per kilogram, and hydrogen doesn’t wear out batteries do next in a press release on May 31. Caterpillar to launch a demonstration project using hydrogen fuel combined heat and power system. On May 31, Caterpillar announced a three year project with Minnesota based District Energy St. Paul to demonstrate a hydrogen fueled combined heat and power system. The project is supported and partially funded by the US Department of Energy and backed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. According to Joe Creed, Caterpillar group, president of energy and transportation said, Caterpillar is focused on supporting our customers with reliable sustainable power solutions. This hydrogen demonstration project will enable us to evaluate additional hydrogen fuel options for an existing energy efficient engine, providing even more possibilities for helping our customers meet their climate related goals and objectives.

CHP systems from Caterpillar provide both electricity and heat simultaneously, increasing overall efficiency and reducing exhaust emissions to assess the potential of a hydrogen fueled CHP system. Under real world operating conditions. power and heat from the demonstration project will integrate into District Energy St. Paul’s electrical and thermal infrastructure. District Energy St. Paul distributes chilled water and hot water to heat and cool buildings and single family homes in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota and adjacent areas. This project is scheduled to start early next year, the demonstration project builds on caterpillars 35 years of experience with high hydrogen fuel. The company currently offers a 1250 kilowatt generator set capable of operating on 100% Hydrogen, including fully renewable green hydrogen on a designed to order basis as well as commercially available power generation solutions from 400 kilowatts, to 4.5 megawatts that can be configured to operate on natural gas blended with up to 25% Hydrogen. Okay, so an interesting announcement from Caterpillar.

Now I’ve covered their announcements a few times on the show. And the work that they’re doing in building out hydrogen systems really is remarkable. Now most people think of Caterpillar as a company that creates large construction equipment. But the company really is much more robust than that, and create some of the best generators on the market for industrial applications. And this announcement shows that they’re pushing that investment even further. Now, what this announcement doesn’t include is where they’ll be getting their hydrogen. And while they don’t specifically announce anything, I do know that just outside of the Minneapolis St. Paul area is the Xcel Energy hydrogen project. And that was a $10 million project to utilize the Xcel energy’s nuclear power plant in the area to create hydrogen. Now that wasn’t expected to start until 2024. So it may not be available to supply hydrogen for this demonstration project. But it could be a possibility later on down the road.

All right. That’s it for me, everyone. If you have a second, I would really appreciate it. If you could leave a good review on whatever platform it is that you listen to Apple podcast, Spotify, Google, whatever it is, that will be a tremendous help to the show. And as always, if you have any feedback, you’re always welcome to email me directly at And as always, take care. Stay safe. I’ll talk to you later. Hey, this is Paul. I hope you liked this podcast. If you did and want to hear more. I’d appreciate it if you to either subscribe to this channel on YouTube or connect with your favorite platform through my website at Thanks for listening. I very much appreciate it have a great day