THP-E294: Three Key Hydrogen Takeaways That You Absolutely Need To Know From The USHA Conference.

Paul Rodden • Season: 2024 • Episode: 294

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Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 294, On today’s show, I report back to you with my report from the US hydrogen Alliance policy leaders convention. And what specifically blew me away. It’s news that every single one of you is going to want to know more about. And I’ll cover it on today’s hydrogen podcast.

Thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy the podcast. Please feel free to email me at with any questions. Also, if you wouldn’t mind subscribing to my podcast using your preferred platform… I would greatly appreciate it.

Paul Rodden



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On today’s show, I report back to you with my report from the US hydrogen Alliance policy leaders convention. And what specifically blew me away. It’s news that every single one of you is going to want to know more about. And I’ll cover it 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’s 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. Hi, again, everyone. I have another special podcast today as I’m coming to you from the second annual us hydrogen Alliance policy leaders convention. The Friday reception and dinner was a great networking opportunity. Roxanna has done an amazing job of putting this conference together. And there have been some great speakers today representing both public and private interests. This conference has been an amazing gathering from both private industry as well as state and federal representatives. We got to hear from James Campos deputy secretary from Virginia as well as Glenn Davis from the Virginia Department of Energy discussing the setup of a state bank for funding of energy innovation. The concept appears to be a great opportunity for government support for project development. And I’m curious to see just how many states might look into this as a way to set up project development. There was also Tim Sasseen, Market Development Manager at Ballard giving a stellar presentation on the Ballard fuel cell stack development and their projected distribution over the next few years. More importantly, he also discussed the 45 V and the three pillars and made a very convincing argument on the necessity to revamp the guidelines for electrolysis time matching. Other great speakers and panels included some discussion around carbon capture with great insights from Nirav Patel with Big Hill Industries. Another panel that grabbed my attention and really piqued my interest, regarded hydrogen as a national and energy security consideration with Dr. Richard Hartman, the chief innovation officer with the US Air Force, and joining him on stage was Dr. Pat Spearman, Nevada State Senator both brought a wealth of knowledge on the topic and had a flood of questions from the audience. Day two had excellent coverage on how nuclear can and should be leveraged, and the hydrogen market as well as lessons learned from building hydrogen refueling infrastructure. And while all of those sessions were incredibly insightful, there were three that particularly stood out to me. The first being a keynote address from Senator Glenn Wakai discussing the hydrogen opportunities in Hawaii, and gave in what was in my opinion, the most honest report on the state of Hawaii’s electricity concerns, diving into issues to resolve first and where to invest going forward. And I wasn’t surprised to learn that their electricity prices were so high, but I was surprised to see that 50,000 People are leaving that state every year due to these rising costs, a lot of which revolve around electricity. The senator then went on to discuss his issues involving the policies the state has enacted around shutting down coal prematurely, and having to rely on oil, not natural gas but oil for their energy needs, which will then lead to further increases in electricity costs due to the lack of renewable infrastructure, making me think back to the many times I’ve said to treat this whole energy transition as a transition and not a light switch. These are the costly decisions from premature policies, and the Senator has taken notice. He did also go into Hawaii’s aspirations for hydrogen development and their offtake targets in South Korea, Japan, and Australia. Now overall, if Hawaii can overcome their recent struggles, and reach their hydrogen targets, they are in a prime location for Asian export as well as decoupling from mainland energy. Another speaker that I was keenly interested in hearing was the Hyperion CEO, Angelo Kafantaris, who had an amazing Fireside Chat discussing the work his company has done and is doing in the transportation market. Now, as you all know, I’m a bit of a car guy so so when I had the opportunity to sit and talk shop with Angelo, I jumped to the chance. He has an obvious passion not just for Hyperion, but the hydrogen market in general. His thoughts on pursuing small projects versus large scale solutions was brilliant and and his relating hydrogen to the photography industry made an impact to everyone in the audience. He essentially equated it with where we are now in the hydrogen industry trying to basically make a movie when we’ve just invented the camera. There are so many other aspects of market that need to develop in order to sustain the hydrogen economy. He also covered some new products Hyperion is working on to include a home hydrogen power solution that I’m very interested in knowing more about. But this third presentation was the one that really, really stood out to me. And it was given by Dr. Douglas Wicks, who’s a program director at the Advanced Research Project Agency or ARPA E. And he gave a brief overview of the agency’s history from inception in 2007, to where we are now with over 69 programs, and $470 million in current funding. His presentation drove into the recent findings for geologic hydrogen. Now I sat with Douglas and was able to get some amazing insight into the potential for the technology. I’m sure many of you have been keeping an eye out for developments in the space and Douglass’s team has been on the forefront of every development going on today. Essentially, ARPA E is looking to compress the last 200 plus years of oil and gas developments and to 20 for geologic hydrogen, effectively, they are throwing every reservoir stimulation and drilling technology at this new source, which is subsurface iron oxidation and discharging hydrogen as a result. From this, he discussed the 11 current projects underway globally as they prospect for geologic hydrogen and mapped out potential zones for production here in the US. But what he covered as the biggest advantage for geologic hydrogen is the cost of production. Douglas estimates that wells can be initially drilled for around $10 million, which isn’t a large jump from traditional oil and gas wells. When factoring in drilling and completion, with a greater than 20% Hydrogen return with volumes estimated at over 30,000 tonnes per year. This would mean a hydrogen development price of under $1 A kilogram and so this particular production method could then leverage every single aspect from Legacy oil and gas companies and their technical know how playing to their strengths. And so after hearing Dr. Wicks presentation, I wanted to dive even further into geologic hydrogen and some of the work that’s going on from the USGS and I came across this release from February 26. Basically, a press release from the USGS, the USGS and Colorado School of Mines established joint industry program to explore potential of geologic hydrogen. The article starts off with a quote from Geoffrey Ellis, who’s a research geologist with the USGS Energy Resources Program, and director of the new joint program. He says we have a perfect opportunity to merge our scientific expertise and Colorado School of Mines and the USGS to tackle this exciting potential new addition to the alternative energy mix. And a quote from Mengli Zhang, co director of the Center for gravity, electrical and magnetic studies and CO lead of new Joint Venture Program for mines. This is the first collaborative effort on geologic hydrogen between a federal agency and academia with combined expertise and electromagnetics, gravity and magnetics. In mineral exploration and exploration seismology, for natural gas at mines, we are uniquely positioned to tackle the subsurface Exploration Research in geologic hydrogen. Now, geologic hydrogen, if you don’t know is a naturally occurring gas with significant potential as an energy resource. It is also a resource that could help reduce the climate impact of many industries that can easily be electrified everything from heavy duty transport, to steel manufacturing to industrial heating. And so as an alternative to traditional production methods, scientists with mines and the USGS have begun investigating the hydrogen gas that naturally exists beneath the surface of the earth. Preliminary research suggests that vast quantities of hydrogen may exist in various rock formations both in the US and around the world, and the first industry supported hydrogen exploration consortium in the world. Researchers at mines and the USGS will advance the understanding of geologic hydrogen systems as well as develop surface and subsurface Exploration Technologies to locate the clean burning gas beneath the ground. Again, in a quote from Ellis fortunately, we are not starting from scratch here we can adopt and adapt the learning that we’ve developed For many decades of research into other resources such as mineral resources, petroleum and geothermal energy. To that end, the Consortium’s research will focus on the development of four key areas. The first a geologic hydrogen system model that identifies sources, migration pathways, and mechanisms, reservoirs, traps and seals, leading to accumulation of hydrogen in the subsurface. The second development area is surface exploration approaches, including remote sensing and surface geochemistry to refine their understanding of where hydrogen accumulations exist in the subsurface. The third is subsurface exploration tools, including multiple geophysical tools, advancing signal processing, and AI tools to image geologic hydrogen systems and potential economic accumulations suitable for energy production. And the fourth is 3d reactive transport model it integrates geology, geochemistry, and geophysics to improve the understanding of hydrogen systems and provide guidance to development of exploration strategies. Now funding for the research will come from a growing number of industry partners. Eight member companies have already signed on including major players from the mining and energy industries, and geologic hydrogen startups, BP, Chevron, Eden Geopower, Petrobras, Fortescue, Koloma, Hydroma USA, and HyTerra. The consortium began collaborative research between mines and USGS scientists in September of last year. The immediate objectives are the scientific understanding of hydrogen systems, including mechanisms and conditions of hydrogen generation, migration, and preservation as well as practical tools to find hydrogen accumulation and identify the potential for enhanced hydrogen generation. The consortium will also emphasize educating researchers and engineers in this emerging field. Mines’ involvement in the consortium is being led by Research Assistant Professor Mengli Zhang and Professor Yaoguo Li of the Department of Geophysics. The Department of Geology and Geological Engineering is also involved. The USGS’s involvement is led by Geoffrey Ellis, with support from the USGS Energy Resources Program. And so again, I want to give a big thank you to Dr. Douglas wicks for sending me down this rabbit hole. Now, I know I’ve talked before about natural or geologic hydrogen or whatever you want to call it. But I’ve never heard numbers like these being discussed so openly, it was refreshing to hear an upside potential that had nearly everyone listening to his presentation, taking a second look at their economics. 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 ever have any feedback, you’re welcome to email me directly at So until next time, keep your eyes up and honor one another. 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 Thanks for listening. I very much appreciate it. Have a great day.