U.S. Department of Energy Starts New Program to Produce Hydrogen
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) started a novel US$ 8 billion program to create a network of hubs to produce hydrogen as a clean fuel. It is considered to be a milestone for the Biden administration’s constant number of strategies for tackling climate change.
Hydrogen is capable of reducing emissions in the atmosphere from some of the end-use industries that have now become the hardest to clean up. It may also replace coal which is utilized for making fossil fuel or steel that power cargo ships or diesel trucks. It produces water vapor instead of greenhouse gas emissions when burned.
However, not all hydrogen is developed the same way and can be brought with numerous pitfalls, as well as benefits. Most hydrogen is made by using gas at the moment. Methane reacts with high temperature steam to make hydrogen from gas under high pressure. The process further releases carbon dioxide. Methane leaks across the gas sector pose a threat to the climate. As compared to carbon dioxide, methane is considered to be more potent.
The Biden administration decided to clean up production of hydrogen before it can be used to decarbonize various other industries. The DOE thus implemented unique plans to clean up the process and filed a Notice of Intent (NOI). It is a novel document that states the organization’s plan to declare a funding opportunity to develop clean hydrogen hubs in September or October. It will be called H2Hubs.
The NOI further states that the DOE is set to consider funding between six and ten hubs to begin this new program. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers funds for nearly four hubs at present. At least one hub under the DOE is expected to make hydrogen by using renewable energy.
The second hub is likely to accelerate hydrogen production with the help of nuclear energy. The third hub is projected to make clean hydrogen by utilizing fossil fuel. It would do so by blending new technologies for acquiring and sequestering emissions of carbon dioxide.
The DOE further declared that it would work on two more hubs in regions having natural gas resources in abundance to help many more H2Hubs to operate on fossil fuel and replace renewable energy.
The DOE should tighten up its standards to initiate its clean hydrogen project. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law only considers the impact of carbon dioxide emissions at those sites that produce hydrogen.
A few non-profit organizations stated that the DOE needs to evaluate all greenhouse gas emissions to initiate a safer approach. It should start looking at those emissions that come from the process of producing hydrogen and the whole supply chain. The DOE will have to scrutinize various applications for funding.
The Biden administration is also striving persistently to lower the entire cost of producing green hydrogen with renewable energy-based electrolysis. President Joe Biden also approved the usage of the Defense Production Act to augment domestic supply chains for developing clean energy technologies, including electrolyzers. Last year, the DOE had introduced a new initiative to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to US$ 1 per kilogram by the end of the decade.
Many clean energy experts are likely to watch the DOE’s moves very closely as the topic is hydrogen. All the hype for hydrogen may provide a boost to the gas industry if the organization is not careful about the kind of projects it selects. Moreover, the hydrogen production process that blends gas with carbon capture does not totally create a clean fuel.