ORIGINAL REPORTING: Green hydrogen gets real
Green hydrogen gets real as utility business models and delivery solutions emerge; The fuel may be the only way to meet power system needs in zero emissions scenarios and the market signals to produce and use it are finally clear.
Herman K. Trabish, March 2, 2020 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Momentum is accelerating behind green hydrogen as the bridge to a zero emissions economy.
Here are three things power sector policymakers are reaching agreement on: The mid-century goal is a zero emissions economy; wind and solar alone cannot do that; and green hydrogen may be a solution.
Green hydrogen is produced by a renewables-powered electrolyzer that splits water (H2O) to make hydrogen (H2) gas. The process makes renewable hydrogen (RH2) gas more expensive than the wind or solar used to create it, but it can generate zero emissions electricity in turbines or fuel cells, be stored in higher densities and lighter weights than batteries to meet long duration storage needs, and be used in high-heat industrial processes.
As renewables deployments rise and costs fall, "there is likely to be a good business case for renewable hydrogen," Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) Senior Principal for Industry and Heavy Transport Thomas Koch Blank told Utility Dive. Green hydrogen is not new, but today's zero-emissions ambitions and abundant, low cost wind and solar are demanding reconsideration of its value and affordability.
A groundbreaking project led by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will use an H2-natural gas blend and pilot RH2 storage at the site. These may be big steps toward a business case for RH2 in a zero-emissions economy.
"Hydrogen is a key industrial commodity around the world that we know how to use and store, but over 99% is derived by using fossil fuels, which aggravates the climate crisis, but green hydrogen can accelerate decarbonization," Green Hydrogen Coalition Founder and President Janice Lin told Utility Dive.
RH2 can be "stored for long periods and used on demand" for grid balancing and can be "combusted to generate high-temperature heat for industry," a November 2019 Center for Climate and Energy Solutions paper reported. RH2 may also be "particularly useful" as an emissions-free fuel for large vehicles like buses, trucks, airplanes and ocean shipping… click here for more