DOE seeking input on H2@scale: hydrogen as centerpiece of future energy system; 50% reduction in energy GHGs by 2050
Earlier this year, The US Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories identified the potential of hydrogen to decarbonize deeply a multitude of sectors in a proposal termed “H2@Scale”. Preliminary analysis performed by the national laboratories on the H2@Scale concept indicated that nearly a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is possible by 2050 via such large-scale hydrogen production and use.
The concept sees hydrogen—a flexible, clean energy-carrying intermediate—having the potential to be a centerpiece of a future energy system where aggressive market penetration of renewables (wind and solar) are coupled with renewable hydrogen production to meet society’s energy demands across industrial, transportation, and power generation sectors using clean, renewable resources and processes.
|Sankey diagrams showing (top) the energy use difference between a “2050 High Hydrogen Scenario” and the AEO 2040 scenario (quadrillion BTUs) and (bottom) the CO2 emissions difference between the two scenarios. Source: DOE workshop April 2016. Click to enlarge.|
In webinar held in July, DOE researchers noted that a number of key recent changes are bringing hydrogen back into the spotlight, including:
renewable energy is getting cheaper, and penetration levels are increasing at an exponential pace;
the costs of greenhouse gas emissions (climate change) and criteria pollutants (health concerns) are being acknowledged and are reaching a point where society is demanding change (renewable portfolio and zero emission vehicle standards); and
commercial viability of fuel cell vehicle technology has been demonstrated (commercial vehicles being sold).
Envisioned outcomes of H2@Scale include:
Increased penetration of intermittent renewable power generation;
Low cost green hydrogen for use in liquid fuels production, fuel cells, turbines, and other applications;
A decarbonized industrial sector through utilization of low-emission hydrogen production processes;
Enable expanded use of nuclear energy, through small modular and/or hybridized reactors;
A strong domestic industry and enhanced energy security through utilization of domestic energy sources and development of new technologies; and
Increased energy system resiliency and flexibility.
A key goal of the H2@Scale concept is to enable hydrogen production at $1/kg through advancements in electrolyzer technologies, use of low-cost electricity from the grid during off-peak times, and high-volume manufacturing of electrolyzers enabled by the use of hydrogen in a wide range of sectors.
RFI. Research in several relevant areas is currently addressed by many different DOE Offices, including the Offices of Nuclear Energy (NE), Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Fossil Energy (FE), Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE), and Science (OS), along with the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E).
Given the broad scope of H2@Scale, and the need to engage many stakeholders to ensure the proposal’s success, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has now issued a request for information (DE-FOA-0001655) seeking feedback on activities to advance the H2@Scale proposal in both the near and longer-term.
The RFI seeks input on six specific areas:
Concept of H2@Scale
Integration of Hydrogen Production with the Electricity Grid, and with Storage and Pipeline Infrastructure
Integration of Hydrogen Production with Process Heat, such as from Nuclear Generation, Industrial Waste Heat Sources, or Concentrated Solar Power
Leveraging Stranded Renewables, and Value-Added Applications for Hydrogen
Hydrogen from Fossil Fuels
Responses to the RFI must be submitted electronically to H2Scale@ee.doe.gov with the subject line “DE-FOA-0001655 - RFI” no later than 5:00pm (ET) on 4 November 2016.