Hydrogen – A Renewable Reliability Gap Solution?

May 21, 2021

Hydrogen – A Renewable Reliability Gap Solution?

With the uptick of renewables to the grid a consistent topic of discussion turns to reliability of the source, the wind stops blowing, the sun stops shining and energy storage is quickly trying to make up the difference but is there another option? With many plant closures and the decline of fossil fuels, is hydrogen the answer? Green, Pink, Grey Hydrogen is nothing new but could it be used in a new way?

This webinar will touch on new opportunities, technology and solutions that could make financial sense.

Briggs White of the National Energy Technology Laboratory and a panel of regulatory and industry representatives will explore how hydrogen provides another viable option to ensure grid reliability as variable renewables are used with greater frequency to decarbonize the U.S. energy sector.

Hydrogen is a zero-emission fuel that produces heat and water when burned. It is the universe’s most abundant element, but Earth’s hydrogen doesn’t occur in a pure form in nature and requires energy to separate it from other compounds.

Hydrogen may be produced from a variety of sources, with varying costs and emissions. The most likely sources of hydrogen are either fossil fuels paired with carbon capture technologies or water splitting driven by renewable electricity; these pathways are commonly referred to as “blue” and “green” hydrogen, respectively.

Based on current equipment and electricity pricing, green hydrogen remains expensive (roughly twice the price needed to be widely competitive), while a mature blue hydrogen industry already exists to provide the low costs needed for broad utilization. White expects the webinar to explore the importance of blue hydrogen to help meet the Biden Administration’s goals for a carbon emission-free electricity sector by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050, including a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

“Blue hydrogen can support many applications that are difficult to decarbonize as the cost of renewably driven electrolysis of water to produce green hydrogen continues to fall,” said White, whose work at NETL includes managing the High Performance Materials, Water Management and Energy Storage research and development programs for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy.

Hydrogen has garnered significant interest lately given its potential to lower the carbon emissions from a broad range of applications, including industrial applications such as steelmaking that are not readily amenable to decarbonization through electrification. Hydrogen can also be stored in large amounts and then utilized in a hydrogen turbine or fuel cells to generate zero-carbon electricity for the grid.