October 27, 2022 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2022 • Episode: 158
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In episode 158, The UK looks to inject hydrogen into power stations, and a thought provoking article in Reuters about hydrogen uses and delivery methods. All this on today's hydrogen podcast.
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The UK looks to inject hydrogen into power stations, and a thought provoking article in Reuters about hydrogen uses and delivery methods. All 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.
In an article from CNBC Anmar Frangoul writes UK trial will inject hydrogen into a gas fired grid connected power station. Hydrogen will be injected into a gas fired grid connected power station during a trial project set to last 12 months in the latest example of how major companies are looking to integrate the energy carrier into their operations and existing infrastructure. In a statement earlier this week, London listed Centrica said the hydrogen would be injected by Centrica business solutions into a gas peaking plant, and Lincoln Shire East England. Centrica said the 49 megawatt facility had been designed to meet demand during peak times or when generation from renewables is low, typically operating for less than three hours a day. It also said that mixing hydrogen in with natural gas reduces the overall carbon intensity. Some of the funding for the project is coming from the net zero Technology Center, which was established in 2017. With backing from the UK and Scottish Government's.
The trial will also involve a firm called HiiROC which specializes in the conversion of hydrocarbons into hydrogen and what it calls a solid carbon byproduct. The latter substance can be used in inks, car tires, and plastics, among other things. On Monday, Centrica said it upped its stake in HiiROC to around 5%. In a statement from Centrica, it's anticipated that during the trial getting underway in q3 2023, no more than 3% of gas mix could be hydrogen, increasing to 20% incrementally after the project. They also said that longer term, the vision is to move towards 100% hydrogen and to deploy similar technology across all gas fired peaking plants. Described by the International Energy Agency as a versatile energy carrier. Hydrogen has a diverse range of applications and can be deployed in a wide range of industries. It can be produced in a number of ways. One method includes electrolysis with an electric current splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen. If the electricity used in this process comes from a renewable source such as wind or solar, then some call it green or renewable hydrogen.
Today, the vast majority of hydrogen generation is based on hydrocarbons. HiiROC says it uses a process called thermal plasma electrolysis to produce hydrogen. The last few years have seen big companies like Centrica make moves in the hydrogen sector. Just this month, Madrid headquartered energy firm Cepsa said would work with the Port of Rotterdam to develop the first green hydrogen corridor between southern and northern Europe. And an announcement Cepsa of the project would establish a green hydrogen supply chain between the port of Algeciras in southern Spain and Rotterdam, the Dutch city that's home to Europe's largest port and September, the European Commission approved up to 5.2 billion euros and public funding for hydrogen projects. A move it said could unlock further 7 billion euros of investments from the private sector. The EU's executive branch said it wants 40 gigawatts of renewable hydrogen electrolyzers to be installed in the EU by 2030. And last month, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen expressed support for hydrogen during her State of the Union address and remarks translated on the Commission's website. von der Leyen said hydrogen can be a game changer for Europe. And we need to move our hydrogen economy from niche to scale.
In her speech von der Leyen also referred to a 2030 target to produce 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU each year. Okay, so an interesting announcement coming out of the UK. And honestly something that should have happened last year with the energy issues that have been facing Europe and especially the UK projects like this one should have been initiated before they shut off natural gas. But aside from that, it is worth noting the technology that HiiROC is using to make the hydrogen and that is thermal plasma electrolysis. Now this is a different kind of electrolysis than that used with water even though you can use this technology with water they're using With hydrocarbons, and by doing so, you get a very similar product as you do with pyrolysis, that being just hydrogen and solid carbon. Now HiiROC claims that it's just as economical as steam methane reforming, obviously, it's going to be green. Since there is no co2 emitted, they also say it's going to be scalable, and efficient. Now, if that's true, then this technology should be looked at for small hub implementation. Next, in an article from reuters.com, Paul Day writes hydrogen uses to be determined by delivery methods. Paul writes near or far gas or derivative, the hydrogen economy will need a robust transportation infrastructure to feed it. In a quote from Uber Vikon hain, a partner with a focus on energy and infrastructure at the Roland Berger consulting firm. Everyone focuses on hydrogen production costs. That's important, but few take into account that the only thing that matters for the user of clean hydrogen is the cost at the point of use. And he says this includes high transportation costs.
He says it's not only about the large export hubs from the Middle East or Australia. It's also about the last mile transportation that really makes the whole hydrogen story very complex and expensive. For the first time being. Transportation is a crucial puzzle to solve since the most favorable production locations are found in often remote, renewable rich areas, while demand will be focused in heavily industrialized and densely populated areas. Weichenhain said in a Roland Berger study, he authored hydrogen transportation the key to unlocking the clean hydrogen economy. The report examines the three hydrogen carrier technologies, liquefied hydrogen, ammonia, and LOHC, with a focus on demand centers in Europe and notes that There is as yet no one size fits all solution in terms of ease of use and cost. Whether a country becomes a domestic producer of hydrogen or a net importer will depend on where the end user is located, says Weichenhain.
If you look at Western Europe, then it's very clear that most likely two thirds to three quarters of the hydrogen will need to be imported. He also says location production costs will be higher, yes, but the main reason is you hardly have any space for renewable development. Because it's very densely populated. And without the proper infrastructure to move gas long distances, industrialized parts of northern Europe are going to need to find the most cost effective way to import the energy contained within hydrogen produced in sun rich regions to the south. Some steel companies in Sweden are looking to solve this problem by bringing production to the factory. Offshore wind generates electricity that is then used to produce hydrogen on site. H2 Green Steel, for example, aims to install electrolyzers as an integral part of the steel plant to produce the hydrogen needed to manufacture two and a half million tons of high quality steel a year in the first few years and 5 million tons by 2030. But what about pipelines, natural gas pipelines that already criss crossed much of Europe can be repurposed for hydrogen, but gradual replacement by mixing requires a coordinated effort to decrease natural gas use at a similar rate to increased hydrogen use, further complicated by hydrogen not being a one to one replacement in terms of energy to volume as natural gas.
Also, greater hydrogen concentration can damage steel pipes and the gas can seep through piping not designed especially for its transportation. Pipelife, based in Austria and currently present in 25 countries, installed nearly 900,000 kilometres of pipes in 2021 enough to circle the Earth over 20 times. The company has developed a spoolable piping system, which it says is KIWA certified for hydrogen applications up to 42 Bar of operating pressure and is maintenance free, flexible and corrosion resistant. The proprietary system is considerably cheaper to install and own and is ideal for local hydrogen distribution networks, since its operating pressure can be adjusted to match demand. This According to Jan Berg, General Manager of SoluForce a sales brand of Pipelife producing the hydrogen pipes. The first application is expected to be at the Groningen seaports in the Netherlands, some four kilometers of infrastructure will be installed in 2023 for localized hydrogen distribution to various chemical and industrial offtakers at the seaport of Eemshaven. This according to Berg. SoluForce however, does not manufacture pipelines needed to move large quantities of hydrogen internationally a logistical challenge that may require a different solution entirely.
So what about international distribution? Complications of moving hydrogen long distances has many looking at alternative uses for the gas which are easier and cheaper to shift namely liquid hydrogen, ammonia and LOHC. Well, liquid hydrogen, which involves freezing the gas at close to absolute zero of negative 253 degrees Celsius, and keeping it there to avoid loss through boil off can be complicated to ship. Ammonia shipping is already well established. Almost half of all hydrogen produced today, around 31 million tons per year is used primarily as feedstock to produce ammonia. This according to the International Energy Agency, and almost all of that is from hydrocarbons. producing green ammonia from emission free hydrogen would help decarbonize that industry, which accounts for around 1.8% of global carbon dioxide emissions. This according to a Royal Society study, and would help solve the intractable question of how to ship hydrogen over long distances. And a quote from Thomas Weiss, business line manager hydrogen at TUV SUD, for intercontinental transport and for liquid hydrogen derivatives like ammonia, methanol and sng. Pipelines aren't an option.
Here shipping stays the only feasible solution, as ammonia is already traded internationally shipping infrastructure is available. And as long as grey ammonia is replaced by green or low carbon ammonia infrastructure is sufficient. And he finishes by saying each scenario will need to be assessed and there will be a market developing for all different types of hydrogen. And transport means like it evolved, until then large scale project will still depend on long term bilateral offtake agreements. Okay, so really some great insights on how hydrogen transportation currently and in the future will determine its uses in industry. And for those of us who are solely considering manufacture costs, it is important when we look at the entire economy that we factor in storage and transportation of hydrogen, as that is a critical component of the final cost of hydrogen. Now, I am very interested to read up more about pipelife. And this new splittable piping system that they've developed that's hydrogen certified.
I would also be curious to see if they have any sales staff in the US. 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 podcasts, Spotify, Google, YouTube, whatever it is, that would be a tremendous help to the show. And as always, if you have any feedback, you're welcome to email me directly at email@example.com. 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 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.