November 10, 2022 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2022 • Episode: 162
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In episode 162, Forbes discusses the emerging hydrogen economy. I'll go over the article and give you my thoughts on today's hydrogen podcast.
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Forbes discusses the emerging hydrogen economy. I'll go over the article and give you my thoughts 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 forbes.com, Ken Silverstein writes, the hydrogen economy will soon be ready for takeoff, including planes and power plants. And the article Ken writes, does the aviation sector have its head in the clouds indeed, the experts are working hard to make hydrogen a sustainable aviation fuel. Given the expansion of the production tax credits, and the funds for regional hydrogen hubs, hydrogen stock is rising, its possibilities lie in the hard to decarbonize industrials, or things that cannot quickly electrify that applies to planes, trains, ships and long haul trucks. electric generators can also run on a blend of hydrogen and natural gas. In a quote from Judith Judson, head of hydrogen at the national grid, we see the technology coming and the cost coming down. The price of natural gas is lower than today's price of hydrogen. But with tax credits, the economics are moving in the right direction, like wind and solar, the prices will come down and meeting our net zero goals. Hydrogen has a role to play.
Our goal is to see green hydrogen produced from renewable energy, we plan to eliminate hydrocarbons, but we want to do so affordably green hydrogen derived sustainable aviation fuels might be a long flight, but that plane will take off within 15 to 20 years. Consider Delta Airlines Louisiana based DG fuels is supplying it 385 million gallons with 75 to 85% fewer lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, then conventional jet fuel. Various forms of renewable energy make up sustainable aviation fuels that includes food waste, animal waste, and sewage sludge, which easily mixed with jet fuels. The US Department of Energy says its carbon footprint can be 165% Smaller than petroleum based jet fuel. A study by Clean Sky 2 and fuel cells and hydrogen 2 says that hydrogen powered aircraft could be ready for flight as early as 2035. Although 2050 may be more doable for longer flights, Azul Airlines, British Airways, Jet Blue, KLM, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Australia, and Virgin Atlantic have already used biofuels for commercial flights. As for Jet Blue, it is using sustainable aviation fuel at its hub in Los Angeles International Airport. It works with World Energy and world fuel services 2 get sustainable aviation fuel, and a quote from Axel Krein executive director of Clean Sky 2 joint undertaking.
Our ultimate goal is to achieve Climate Neutral aviation by 2050. Turning this ambition into reality requires the seamless integration of a range of important new technological advancements, one of which is hydrogen powered aircraft. Besides the production tax credits provided by the inflation Reduction Act, the bipartisan infrastructure law that passed a year ago includes up to $7 billion to establish between six and 10 regional hydrogen hubs across the country. The goal is to create a network of hydrogen producers and industrial consumers with an interconnected infrastructure to accelerate the use of clean hydrogen part of the White House's plan to reach Net Zero targets by 2050. For example, the hubs want to optimize each region's strength comprised of their natural resources and their industrial base. Some regions are rich in natural gas, while others have a lot of solar and wind energy potential. At the same time, companies must stand ready to buy the resulting hydrogen critical to the pursuit, converting legacy infrastructure and building new pipelines. And a quote from Thomas Green, a fellow with the Energy Department's hydrogen fuel cell technology office, the regulatory environment is key. We need to lower the barriers and ensure stakeholders are engaged while assuring the highest amount of environmental fidelity.
Today 99% of all hydrogen is produced in reactions involving coal and natural gas, which is considered gray hydrogen that does nothing to eliminate co2 emissions. The aim is to produce hydrogen from low carbon energy sources or green hydrogen and expand its use in the transportation and power generation sectors and its hydrogen economy outlook. Bloomberg New Energy Finance says it could supply 24% of the world's energy demands by 2050 while cutting co2 levels by 34%. Now for that to happen, the price of green hydrogen has to fall. The Energy Department is taking an earth shot launched in June 2021. To seek to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1 per one kilogram in one decade. Currently, hydrogen from renewable energy costs about $5 per kilogram. If the program is successful and the price falls, the potential has no bounds, steel manufacturing clean ammonia energy storage and heavy duty trucks. This according to the agency Judson from the National Grid says that her utility would be a corporate buyer of the hydrogen fuel, it would help balance the supply and demand benefiting electricity customers. She says that hydrogen and renewable natural gas derived from organic waste could be blended powering gas turbines while using the existing wires and substations. Hydrogen can be used in fuel cells to generate power, a chemicals process that splits hydrogen from oxygen.
There are no emissions only water vapor how, for example, battery stored solar electricity is run through an electrolyzer to create pure hydrogen gas, while solar costs have dropped by 85% over 10 years. The focus is now on achieving economies of scale for electrolyzers. While hydrogen can be injected directly into the existing natural gas turbines, or the pipelines that carry it, the blending rate is only 20%. The inner Mountain Power Project in Utah is converting from a coal plant into a combined cycle natural gas plant, creating a pure form of green hydrogen and transmitting it to Los Angeles. There are 550 megawatts of fuel cells installed across the country. This according to Connor Dolan, Vice President of External Affairs for the fuel cell and hydrogen Energy Association. The users are critical faculties like data centers and hospitals that can't afford to lose power at any time. Microsoft wants to power its new data centers with hydrogen. The cost to do so is high but those prices will decrease. The hydrogen hubs are essential to achieving economies of scale. Again, in a quote from Dolan, this will help bring about cost parity and drive adoption. We will see hydrogen for export from the US, we would see a huge amount of domestic production and we might have access to ship around the world. Planes, Trains and Automobiles are coming. Honda, Hyundai and Toyota are creating fuel cell powered cars, while FedEx Express is running a hydrogen fueled delivery truck in New York State with a range of 240 kilometers.
But more than 20,000 hydrogen powered forklifts are already here and used by companies like Walmart and Target. The groundwork is laid and the public policies are in place, providing rocket fuel for an emerging hydrogen powered economy. Okay, so a great take on the hydrogen economy from Ken Silverstein and Forbes. And while I like that this article mainly covers airlines, I don't see that as the first adopter of the hydrogen economy, which at least here in the US, I see being either heavy industry or heavy duty transportation, followed by power generation and power backup. Now in Europe, I can see it playing out differently with countries like Germany, and such a desperate need for electricity. But there are a couple of conflicting statements in this article that I want to talk about. The first is from the quote from Judith Judson, who's the head of hydrogen at the national grid, saying that they want to eliminate fossil fuels, and rely entirely on green hydrogen produced from renewable energy. Now, here's one of the problems with using the colors. And that's we don't really know what she means by green hydrogen. Is she just talking electrolytic hydrogen, or is she talking about hydrogen produced from other sources of hydrocarbons, such as sewer waste, or landfill waste gas, because that distinction is important that you discuss later on in the article using those other renewable natural gases to produce hydrogen.
And the reason that's an important distinction is that the methane is pulled from under the ground are the same methane molecules that are pulled from waste sites and sewer sites. And so again, the critical metric Isn't the color or the technology, but the carbon intensity involved in the hydrogen production process. And one thing that I do think is important to clarify. And while I said that I don't believe airlines are going to be the first user of hydrogen. What this article does touch on a little bit is synthetic fuels, or fuels like jet fuel, diesel, other fuels like that, that are made by combining specifically hydrogen and carbon. And in that case, synthetic fuels are burning much cleaner and more efficiently than traditional fuels. And it's in those cases that yes, I do see the aviation industry and the trucking industry. adopting that kind of fuel being adopted first, with the emerging hydrogen market being the source for that fuel.
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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.