THP-E44: Photoelectrocatalysis And Nano Technology Will Turn Green Hydrogen On Its Head. Also, Plug Power Stock Is Up Big… Find Out Why It Matters To The Hydrogen Industry. All Hands On Deck For Hydrogen

September 06, 2021 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2021 • Episode: 44

Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 044, New technology by Repsol looks to make direct solar to hydrogen commercially viable by 2030. Plug Power stock gaining momentum again and the CEO of DNV talks about the need for both blue and green hydrogen. All of this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

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New technology by Repsol looks to make direct solar to hydrogen commercially viable by 2030. Plug Power stock gaining momentum again and the CEO of DNV talks about the need for both blue and green hydrogen. 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 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.

Repsol says a very disruptive solar to hydrogen project will be commercially viable by 2030. This coming in an article from recharge Oil and gas from Repsol by 2024 plans to build a demonstrator plant at its Porto Yano industrial complex in Spain for their production of renewable hydrogen by directly tapping into solar energy, a process that claims could be commercially viable by the end of the decade. The Spanish group says it’s aiming for the technology which doesn’t need the intermediate step of electrolysis crucial to other green hydrogen production methods to reach the commercial maturity by 2030.

Repsol is developing a process called photoelectrocatalysis together with Spanish gas grid operator Enagas. The demo plan is slated to occupy close to half a Hector and have a production of 100 kilograms of renewable hydrogen per day. It is planned to be followed by the 2028 by the installation of an industrial scale plant about 60 Hector’s and with a production capacity of up to 10 tonnes of green hydrogen per day. According to Repsol Technology Lab researcher Anna Martinez, it will allow us on one hand to store renewable energy on a large scale, on the other hand, use it as a fuel in different sectors such as mobility in the residential and industrial fields, and also as a raw material in industry. While during electrolysis, solar or other renewable power is first transported to an electrolyzer where the water molecule is separated into hydrogen and oxygen. Photoelectrocatalysis integrates the two steps into a single process. Scientists have been investigating uses sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The device receives direct solar radiation and using photoactive material generates electrical charges that causes separation that avoids losses associated with the transport of electricity, which means that the photoelectrocatalysis as technology improves the efficiency of the process of converting solar energy into hydrogen. With respect to electrolysis. The Enagas hydrogen coordinator Monica Sanchez quoted that this technology is very disruptive. She says that it’s a part of our commitment to renewable gases, particularly hydrogen and bio methane as keys to achieving the carbon neutrality that we want to reach at a European level. And as a company by 2040.

Energy Research Institute’s such as the Catalan Institute for Energy Research, the University of Alicante and Aragon hydrogen foundation are also involved in the project. The research has grown from the first concept test of the photoelectrochemical cell of no more than one square centimeter to the startup in November 2020 of a pilot plant at the Repsol Technology Lab, Repsol said the renewable hydrogen from the new plant will be applied in refining and chemical processes. There are other photoelectrocatalysis initiatives in Europe, the US or Japan reps all said, but in global terms, we are sure that the great potential of this technology, it will permit the decarbonisation of hydrogen production on an industrial scale, optimizing efficiency at costs.

Producing hydrogen directly from solar power without the intermediate step of electrolysis has been the subject of research for years. But so far the technology didn’t have a commercial breakthrough yet. That being said the Santa Barbara California based company of Sun Hydrogen, earlier this year said that its partner Suzhou GH New Energy had produced 100 demonstration units that use multijunction a morphus silicon solar cells to directly produce green hydrogen. The company with the nanoparticle technology intends to provide a proof of concept and demonstrate the potential for scalable growth and ultimately commercial viability.

Sun hydrogen said that by optimizing the water electrolysis at the nano level, the company’s low cost nanoparticles mimic photosynthesis to efficiently use sunlight to separate hydrogen from water. Okay, so why is this news a big deal? Well, I’ve said in the past there are two facets to making green hydrogen more economical. There’s the software side and the hardware side. This is a big jump forward in the hardware side to decrease the cost of green hydrogen. And while I would say that right now, the exact cost decrease is speculative. And while this is still a very young technology groups with such large bank accounts, such as Repsol pushing this technology could make it extremely viable in the next few years. And so if you’re interested in this technology, I would pay very close attention to Repsol and Sun hydrogen. And next up Plug Power.

In an article from, Plug Power gains as wolf rates it outperform on hydrogen play, plug power stock rose four and a half percent Wednesday, September 1, as wolf research initiated its coverage with an outperform rating and a target of $34 which is 24 and a half percent higher than the current level of $27.30. Analyst Steve Fleishman said he likes Plug’s positioning, as the hydrogen market develops with its integrated strategy, established business and broad set of relationships. According to him, most hydrogen names are concept stocks with small existing businesses, but have huge growth potential as hydrogen begins to drive the energy transition. Plug Power claims to be the largest buyer of liquid hydrogen globally.

And according to Fleishman, he says we think the plug will be among the first a transition from story to one that has meaningful cash flow and growth. Experts believe green hydrogen will play an essential role in meeting greenhouse gas emission targets worldwide, particularly in the transportation and logistics sectors. And growth in the hydrogen economy is expected to accelerate reaching up to 500 to 800 million tonnes per year by 2050. And supplying 20% of global energy demand. This is according to plug power. Last month, the company broke ground on the site of a green hydrogen production plant in Georgia’s Camden County. The company will invest 84 million in the facility, the plant which will serve customers in the southeastern US or produce liquid green hydrogen using 100% renewable energy, it will employ at least 24 full time local employees. So why is this information important? Well, plug power has long been the darling of Wall Street least in the hydrogen sector, but it has been floundering as of late.

So this news of a 24 and a half percent increase could showcase a possible de risking in the industry. That being said more economic reports on hydrogen companies will need to come out to determine if this information is anecdotal. And lastly, the consultancy chief says pressing need to ramp up clean hydrogen production to meet global co2 reduction targets means all colors of main decarbonisation alternatives are required. This in an article again from rechargenews, the ramp up of clean hydrogen production to decarbonize the world’s heavy industry and aviation, shipping and long haul trucking sectors, which together account for some 35% of global co2 emissions stands among the greatest challenges of the energy transition. This according to Remi Ericsson, who is the CEO of DNV. And according to the consultancy, which this week released its latest energy transition outlook. Global hydrogen production for use in energy sector is currently negligible, and will only start to scale from late 2030s, meaning 5% of global energy demand by mid century, that’s a far cry from the levels needed to help meet emission reduction goals set by the Paris Agreement.

And in a quote from Ericsson, he said, maybe we can get to 70% of global energy demand from electricity, that being renewables, but the remaining percentage is to come from something else. 10% we believe could come from bio energy, which leaves 20% to come from hydrogen and hydrogen products, such as ammonia and E fuels. And this is where we are the furthest behind that remaining 20 to 30%. And that is why we need strong incentives in many forms to develop the hydrogen economy. Hydrogen DNV stresses in the ETO is seen as the main decarbonisation alternative for the so called hard to abate sectors, with biofuels in a Supporting Role mainly in aviation.

But direct hydrogen use is often not suitable and ships and aircraft require hydrogen derivatives and E fuels such as ammonia and synthetic jet fuel. And while debate over the need to develop blue gas fired with carbon capture ahead of green renewables generated hydrogen Ericsson argues it’s a case of all hands on deck if the sector is going to contribute meaningful to slowing climate change accelerating emissions. Ericsson goes on to say that we need as in hydrogen to meet 20% of energy demand so that we need both Blue and Green, because we can’t get a sufficient volume from either one of these alone. And you need the CCS anyway for other reasons than blue hydrogen.

So I think it’s an all hands on deck. The ETO authors continue by saying government incentives similar to those given to renewables over the last 20 years are needed to stimulate technology development, and accelerate uptake of hydrogen and E fuels. And from 2050, according to the to report calculations, most hydrogen will be generated from dedicated renewables based electrolyzers with 18% of hydrogen grid based and 43% coming from production capacity powered by photovoltaic, onshore wind and fixed offshore wind, while blue hydrogen will account for 18% of the supply by this date. Lastly, Ericsson says we believe green hydrogen from electrolysis will be the main long term solution for decarbonizing hard to abate sectors, including hydrogen as a basis for other e fuels. The future production of hydrogen for energy purposes will be dominated by electrolysis, using dedicated off grid renewables such as solar and wind farms.

Okay, so now, why is this article important? I would say ultimately, that is the very broad statement of all hands on deck, and that in recent months and even years, there’s been too much talk back and forth between green or blue and which one is really the best for the environment. And really, you can forget the latest research reports coming out of certain colleges, with very few exceptions, hydrogen generation, and utilization is cleaner than just burning natural gas. But I also feel like this argument needs to be taken a step further. It’s not just blue or green is not just electrolysis, or Steam methane reforming. There are so many other technologies now that are coming to light that are not just viable, but could possibly supplant blue or green as the main pathway to hydrogen production, two of those being plasma gasification and methane pyrolysis. But there’s also a third to add to that list. And I’ll cover that later in an upcoming interview with Proton technologies. Well, that’s it for me today. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about today’s episode, please come and visit me on my website at and let me know. I would really love to hear from you. 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 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.

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