April 20, 2023 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2023 • Episode: 207
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In episode 207, A massive hydrogen hub in the US moves forward and a breakthrough in solar panel manufacturing could lead to sizeable reductions and electrolytic hydrogen development costs all of this on today's hydrogen podcast.
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A massive hydrogen hub in the US moves forward. And a breakthrough in solar panel manufacturing could lead to sizeable reductions and electrolytic. Hydrogen development costs 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 an app. Those are the questions that will unlock the potential of hydrogen. And this podcast we'll give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden, and welcome to the hydrogen podcast.
In an article in the Chicago Tribune, Nara Schoenberg writes, Illinois teamed up with Indiana and Michigan in an effort to land $1.25 billion to build a clean hydrogen hub. A coalition based in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan has taken the next big step in its bid to obtain up to $1.25 billion in federal funding for regional clean hydrogen hub intended to reduce planet warming carbon dioxide emissions. The coalition the Midwest Alliance for Clean hydrogen or Mach h2 submitted its full application to the US Department of Energy last week. Mach h2 is one of 33 groups that were encouraged to submit final applications in the competition for six to 10 Hydrogen hubs spread across the country. In a quote from Colleen Wright, vice president of corporate strategy at the energy company Constellation, a MachH2 member, hydrogen can help us decarbonize sectors that are really hard to decarbonize things like steelmaking, glass manufacturing, heavy duty transportation, aviation, clean hydrogen, which can be produced using electricity and water can replace the high emissions gray hydrogen that is already widely used in industry.
In addition, clean hydrogen has potential new roles, such as aiding in the production of lower emissions aviation fuels, research on using hydrogen for airplane fuel is still in the early stages, Wright said, but the aviation industry is pursuing that as well. The hydrogen hubs would build networks of clean hydrogen producers and consumers with the aim of accelerating the growth of production, processing delivery storage and use. The Department of Energy considers clean hydrogen crucial to achieving President Joe Biden's goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Mach h2 coalition includes more than 60 entities, both public and private, including businesses, universities, government agencies, and community groups. Many coalition members are in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, but Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Kentucky and Wisconsin are represented as well. And an earlier stage of the application process Mach h2 estimated that a hydrogen hub would support 4500 construction jobs and 400 permanent positions.
Total construction spending was estimated at nearly $4 billion, including 1.7 billion in wages and 65 million to 70 million in state income taxes. Again, according to Wright those numbers would be higher now due to the expansion of the Machh2 coalition, but she declined to give an updated estimate. Today 95% of hydrogen used in the United States is made using hydrocarbons in energy intensive processes that are meant high levels of carbon dioxide but electricity can be used to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules and a process that does not produce carbon emissions. When the electricity that is used comes from wind, solar or nuclear power, the resulting hydrogen is considered to have near zero carbon emissions.
The Mach h2 coalition's advantages in the competition for the hydrogen hub include the availability of nuclear wind and solar energy to produce green hydrogen, and potential uses for green hydrogen in existing factories that now use high emissions hydrogen for steelmaking, oil refining and ammonia production. The Illinois portion of the hub would be focused on green hydrogen fueled by renewable energy, but the Mach h2 proposal as a whole does include blue hydrogen, which is more controversial. Blue hydrogen is produced with hydrocarbons, but a large portion of the carbon dioxide emissions is captured before it can escape into the air.
The emissions are either used or buried deep underground. And so with that being said Wright also said that the blue hydrogen in the Mach h2 proposal meets government standards for clean hydrogen 79 groups competed in the first round of the hydrogen hub selection process, of which 33 were encouraged to continue, including Mach h2. Wright also said that Mach h2 which declined to share its hydrogen hub proposal for competitive reasons, expects a decision in the fall and lastly, she said we feel like we have a good chance. Okay, so more information on hydrogen hubs in United States, continuing the process to be elected for the IRA grant money, in this case MachH2. So for those of you outside of the US who don't know, where Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Kentucky and Wisconsin are located, it's generally considered the Midwest or the northern central part of the United States. And this is also a massive area. Now, there are a few interesting things about this article. But the first thing I think should be pointed out is how quickly they mentioned synthetic fuels, or in this case, aviation fuels.
Now, if you've listened to the show before, you know, I'm a very big proponent of synthetic fuels, especially diesel and SAF. And if you look at their website, it's pretty obvious that they are looking at synthetic aviation fuel as a primary commodity for this hub. What I also like about this announcement is that they're not shying away from different technologies to produce hydrogen. Now, obviously, this article talks a lot about green hydrogen, but they're also talking about using a hydrocarbon source for hydrogen also, which for an area this big, they're going to need all of the technologies available in order to generate as much hydrogen as possible. But what I also find interesting is the inclusion of nuclear energy under their, quote, green umbrella. But what may end up being the most impressive thing about this coalition isn't the geographic size of the area, but the amount of partners within this coalition.
Now before when we've talked about other entities that are applying for this grant, we've gone through some of the partners for the different alliances, and the amount of partners in the Mach h2 program blows all the others out of the water. Those partners include Air Liquide, Ameren Illinois, which is a gas utility server, ArcelorMittal, which is the world's leading steel and mining company, Bayotech, which specializes in producing small scale hydrogen projects as well as transportation, Bloom Energy, Exxon Mobil, GTI energy, which is the leading research and training organization that knows everything there is to know about hydrogen, Nikola motors, plug power, and literally dozens of others in both the private and public sector. And so with all of these heavy hitters on board, when Wright says that she believes that they have a good shot of getting this funding, I have to agree with her.
And lastly, in a press release from Sun hydrogen, Sun hydrogen achieves a key photovoltage milestone in its path to delivering the market's most affordable green hydrogen solution. Sun hydrogen Inc, the developer of a breakthrough technology to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and water today, April 18, announced it has achieved a key photovoltage milestone that it believes will position the company's technology as one of the most cost effective green hydrogen production methods available. The sun hydrogen panel is currently the only self contained nanoparticle based hydrogen generation device of its kind that utilizes the sun's energy to split water molecules into high purity green hydrogen, and oxygen. Since the unveiling of Sun hydrogens largest prototype model to date, the company continues to make significant strides in the development of its nanoparticle based semiconductor units. Sun hydrogens single junction semiconductor units can now generate an open circuit photo voltage of over .9 volts, and when combined as two junctions that can reliably generate over 1.8 volt. Additionally, with a single junction, they have attained photocurrent densities as high as 13.2 milliamps per square centimeter per substrate. The above results have been achieved at a scale of 25 square centimeters per substrate at the same scale as the substrates used in the company's most recent one and a half square foot prototype panel.
Now achieving photo voltages over one and a half volts using inexpensive semiconductors is a feat that has long eluded the industry. While commercially available High Voltage tandem solar cells are expensive and require high solar concentration systems. Sun hydrogens approach uses only inexpensive semiconducting material, and does not require high solar concentrations, substantially reducing manufacturing and operational complexity and cost. Okay, so another new piece of great technology being developed for the hydrogen industry, and the fact that they were able to get such high voltages, while keeping the material costs low is a true milestone. And from what I'm reading here, it sounds like this technology can really be able to scale quickly. And so a big congratulations from us at the hydrogen podcast to Sun hydrogen on this major breakthrough.
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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.