## DOE to award $60M to advance clean hydrogen technologies and decarbonize grid ##### 24 August 2022 The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced$40 million in funding to advance the development and deployment of clean hydrogen technologies. To further decarbonize the grid, DOE is also launching a \$20-million university research consortium to help states and Tribal communities successfully implement grid resilience programs and achieve decarbonization goals. (DE-FOA-0002792)

This funding opportunity will advance DOE’s Hydrogen Shot goal of reducing the cost of clean hydrogen to 1 dollar per 1 kilogram in 1 decade (“1 1 1”), while supporting DOE’s H2@Scale initiative, which aims to advance the affordable production, transport, storage, and utilization of clean hydrogen to enable decarbonization and revenue opportunities across multiple sectors.

Areas of interest in support of Hydrogen Shot include:

1. HydroGEN: Solar Fuels from Photoelectrochemical and Solar Thermochemical Water Splitting

2. Development and Validation of Sensor Technology for Monitoring and Measuring Hydrogen Losses

3. Materials-based H2 Storage Demonstrations

4. M2FCT: High Performing, Durable, and Low-PGM Catalysts/Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) for Medium- and Heavy-duty Applications

DOE envisions multiple financial assistance awards in the form of cooperative agreements, with the period of performance being approximately two to four years. DOE encourages applicant teams that include stakeholders within academia, industry, and national laboratories across multiple technical disciplines. Teams are also encouraged to include representation from diverse entities such as minority-serving institutions or through linkages with Opportunity Zones.

The Hydrogen Shot and University Research Consortium Grid Resilience FOA will also provide three-year funding for a regionally diverse university consortium focused on developing a decarbonized and more resilient electrical power system in coordination with universities in Mexico and Canada. This North American consortium will address cross-border grid dependencies and electrical interconnections throughout region.

The application process for both the clean hydrogen FOA and University Consortium funding will include two phases: a concept paper and a full application.

H2 is an abundant element chemically bound in water / H2O or carbohydrates. It's an excellent energy carrier and when oxidized no pollutant products occur; only water / H2O. H2, in its molecular state, has a high affinity to other gases in the atmosphere. Its adverse short - and long term effect differs considerably. Its short term adverse effect (20 - 30 years duration) on climate is 30 times higher than that of CO2; its long term effect (100 years duration) is approx. 11 times higher than that of CO2.
https://acp.copernicus.org/articles/22/9349/2022/
https://www.rechargenews.com/energy-transition/shell-boss-high-gas-prices-will-make-blue-hydrogen-uncompetitive-with-green-for-some-while/2-1-1271384

@yoatman:

Many thanks for some excellent links.

I am a bit mystified by your selection of stuff to draw from it though, as you don't give the page reference, and the overall conclusions of the report are widely different.

From the Shell link:

' Tightening natural gas supplies and soaring prices will encourage green hydrogen schemes and use in Europe, while making blue hydrogen less attractive, according to the chief executive of UK oil major Shell.'

ie, right now in Europe green hydrogen is cheaper than blue, and rapid expansion of renewables and falling electrolyser costs mean that there is good prospect of that continuing.

I would have thought that good news, not bad, for those of use interested in mitigating climate change.

For the main report, in their conclusion the authors themselves say:

' We found that hydrogen's warming potency strongly depends on the time horizon and (similar to methane) can be at least 3 times more potent in the near term than in the long term relative to carbon dioxide when using the traditional GWP framework with pulses of equal emissions. If a constant emission rate is used in the calculations instead, hydrogen's warming potency may be 50 % higher for time horizons of several decades or longer. When assessing the relative climate impacts of replacing fossil fuel technologies with their hydrogen alternatives (based on a unit of clean H2 deployed relative to the avoided CO2 emissions for a generic case), we found that there are vastly different climate outcomes depending on emission rates, time horizons, and production method. For example, blue hydrogen with high hydrogen and methane emissions (a 10 % and 3 % emission rate, respectively) can be worse for the climate for decades compared with fossil fuel technologies, but green hydrogen with low hydrogen emissions (1 %) can nearly eliminate climate impacts from its fossil fuel counterparts over all timescales. On the other hand, the best-case blue hydrogen alternative (1 % for both hydrogen and methane) can show roughly the same climate benefits as the worst-case green hydrogen alternative (10 % emissions) – far from climate neutral but still halving the impacts of its fossil fuel counterparts within a decade. However, the perceived benefits of clean hydrogen alternatives compared with fossil fuel technologies will depend on how much carbon dioxide and methane are avoided, which needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis with reliable emission data.'

Which makes the bits you have picked out look pretty much cherry picked, and deeply misleading.

What the study does claim and seeks to support is that in particular short term warming effects of hydrogen have been underestimated.
But the main thrust of the report is to highlight the importance of hydrogen leakage, and that it needs to be minimised.

They are not speaking about gold hydrogen anymore. Maybe it's because there is too much leak.

Well, Gorr, you are always concerned that all the steps in hydrogen production and distribution are being made in Europe, not North America and Canada, you feel.

Perhaps this will perk you up.

There is a largish(!) project in Nova Scotia, using offshore wind to produce hydrogen, stored in their salt caverns there, and for export to Europe, but perhaps they will be able to spare a bit for your car...

In stages it is to expand up to 500GW of capacity and 43billion kgs of hydrogen!:

Glad to see it in canada. We need it now.

I'm giving myself a small pat on the back for having got the BBCto correct some of their misstatements on hydrogen:

' Correction August 22 2022: This article was updated to reflect that hydrogen can be harvested directly from the ground.'

This was the result of a series of emails, as the BBC was previously repeating the canard that hydrogen is not an energy source, can only be got after processing from other sources like NG and water, etc etc.

This is in spite of it having been commercially extracted neat for a decade or so.

Can this be upped to be commercially significant?

The simple answer is no one knows either the size of the resource or how practical and economic it would be to mine directly, as no one has looked.

Certainly the BBC don't know, and fortunately are not now repeating false information on it.

Of course, much of the rest of the article is opinion based, rather than based on demonstrable fact.
So for instance their notion that hydrogen from abroad will be transported as liquified hydrogen, with energy losses given on that assumption.

In fact, ammonia is the usual carrier being looked at, and some of the pathways for that are potentially very efficient, or at least have little to do with their notion that the typical way of transport will be as liquid hydrogen.

And the notion that the relative efficiency of hydrogen production and transport from solar panels in the desert can be directly compared with German solar production is nonsensical, as there is very little solar when it is most needed in northern Germany in winter, whilst hydrogen stores the energy for use when needed.

But at least one bit of missinformation has been addressed.

I've just learnt this:

' Zgonnik says in his ten years of research into the topic, he’s seen many raised eyebrows when natural hydrogen came up. Up until a few years ago, many people were in disbelief that with thousands of wells drilled around the world, natural hydrogen could be overlooked.

One reason may be the technology used to look for natural gas. It was assumed there was no hydrogen in nature and therefore it was used as a vector in gas for detectors used to analyse the composition of natural gas.

“Most of those detectors, they're working on hydrogen like a vector gas. So, in order to inject your sample, you need some gas to bring your sample into the detection chamber, and this vector gas you commonly used was hydrogen. Then of course, if you are using hydrogen, you will not see it in your sample,” explained Zgonnik.

This means when companies and governments were looking for gas deposits underground, they underestimated how much hydrogen was present there. “It’s only now we’re starting to understand it’s much more widespread than previously thought,” said Zgonnik. He added the estimates are increasing by an order of magnitude every decade.'

Oops!

If there was significant free hydrogen in NG deposits, it would have been discovered early on both by the reduction in calorific value and when any attempt was made to liquefy the methane.  That puts a ceiling on the elemental H2 content of the gas.  Helium is often found in NG deposits but it has very different thermodynamic properties from H2 which would make the difference obvious.  Acid gases such as CO2 and H2S are removed in "sweetening" plants, leaving N2 as the major inert gas reducing the fuel value.

Hi EP.

You certainly would have thought that they would know all about associated hydrogen if it were about in any quantity, wouldn't you?

Part of the meme for years is that hydrogen can't exist on its own, naturally occurring, and that was this month that as respected an organisation as the BBC was claiming that, although it has been in commercial production for ten years, and was known about for decades before that!

People are remarkably good at ignoring anything which does not fit in with their preconceptions.

And no one really knows how the hydrogen is formed, some saying biotically, some abiotically, but in any case it can more properly, so far as we know, be viewed as a flux, with hydrogen produced constantly by the earth, with any potential reservoirs a separate, unknown, issue.

Here are a couple of articles discussing it:

https://www.energy-observer.org/resources/natural-hydrogen

' Once considered a rare occurrence as a free gas, recent comprehensive reviews show that hydrogen is in fact much more widespread in nature than previously thought. The misconception of free hydrogen being rare can be explained in various ways. Firstly, if no one expects to find free hydrogen, no one samples for it. And this is why, even today, sensor systems and analysing technics are not that good at detecting hydrogen. Another factor, hindering natural hydrogen discovery, is the fact that most wells around the world have been drilled in sedimentary layers, where oil and other fossil energy sources are found. However, these rocks are not the most likely places for hydrogen to be abundant. Lastly, hydrogen being the lightest element on earth, it diffuses rapidly in air and other environments and cannot be retained in geological traps for long periods of time.

Unlike fossil fuel stocks that require millions of years to form, natural hydrogen is created continuously, with a timeframe for renewal that is about the length of a human life.'

OTOH, a rather different take here:

https://www.renewablematter.eu/articles/article/natural-hydrogen-a-geological-curiosity-or-the-primary-energy-source-for-a-low-carbon-future

' However, this field of study is relatively new so we should not pretend to have a perfect understanding of the system. Nevertheless, available data to date converge towards the concept of continuous production (over years) in significant quantities. Since we now know that hydrogen, in industrial quantities, is produced every day by the water-rock interaction, and that it escapes, its production seems to depend only on us; now we have to determine the most promising locations and according to the context either to separate it on the surface in the geothermal flows or to drill and stimulate the reactions. In parallel with this prospecting, an evolution of the mining law to classify native H2 will be necessary since in some countries it does not yet fall into any category allowing to apply for an exploration or production permit. Overall, our latest data and understanding suggest that natural hydrogen is available at globally-relevant volumes with potentially easier and cheaper accessibility and lower emissions, which means it could be the dominant primary energy source we need for a low-carbon future.'

So we have made progress, as it is now perfectly clear that hydrogen can and does occur on its own.

Whether that can be exploited in significant quantities is an open question which we simply don't have the answers to, but it is entirely possible that we are talking about resources comparable to NG resources.

'I don't know' is always a great starting place in my view! ;-)

BTW, EP, here is a rather good summary of progress in molten salt reactor technology, especially in China:

https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2022/08/chinas-2-megawatt-molten-salt-thorium-nuclear-reactor-has-start-up-approval.html

I certainly fancy the idea of waterless reactors, which would have solved a lot of issues in the drought in Europe, and it is encouraging that the first is to be built by 2030.

You and I are as one in arguing that it would be way better to have 500GW of reactors in Europe rather than 500GW of wind in Canada, and somehow transporting the power, likely as hydrogen, across the Atlantic.

As an interesting aside, the UK is to connect up to Morocco to use their renewable resources by cable, but Morocco is a truly wonderful place for renewables, and the power can be far more continuous than is typically the case, as they have great resources in wind as well as solar.

Presumably for the Canadian venture, should it be decided to build cable of hydrogen pipeline instead of using tankers, the salt cavern storage there could provide similar buffering ability, to enable a smooth flow of power or gas.

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