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DOE selects consortium to bridge early demand for clean hydrogen

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) has selected a consortium to help accelerate commercial liftoff of the clean hydrogen economy and support the launch of the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs). (Earlier post.)

The consortium—which consists of the EFI Foundation (EFIF), a leader in clean hydrogen economy development, in partnership with the commodity markets information experts S&P Global (S&P) and the financial exchange operator Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)—will design and implement demand-side support mechanisms for unlocking the market potential of the H2Hubs.

Over the next six to nine months, DOE will work with the consortium and the H2Hubs to design robust demand-side support measures that will facilitate purchases of clean hydrogen produced by H2Hub-affiliated projects. The team will also develop an operational plan for how to administer these mechanisms once finalized.

Developing a hydrogen demand-side initiative is critical to enhancing the early commercial viability of the H2Hubs, as demand formation for new energy sources often lags the creation of new reliable supply. Demand-side support and other “demand pull” measures bridge the gap between producers, who need medium- to long-term offtake certainty for a significant portion of their projected output to secure financing to build a project, and buyers, who often prefer to buy on a short-term basis for energy inputs that are beginning to be produced at scale, like clean hydrogen. “Demand pull” measures have been a valuable tool in the scale-up of renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar.

EFIF, S&P, and ICE will leverage their expertise in clean hydrogen, project finance, and commercial contracting to support design of measures to de-risk clean hydrogen projects and increase demand certainty. The consortium will help craft demand-side support agreements for clean hydrogen projects affiliated with the H2Hubs to unlock final investment decisions and catalyze the formation of a mature clean hydrogen market.

Ultimately, the demand-side initiative will support the growth and sustainability of the H2Hubs program by providing improved offtake certainty to help hydrogen producers attract private sector investment and end-use buyers. It will also lay the foundation for broader private sector scale-up and use of the clean hydrogen market by providing price transparency and standardized contracts for the projects it supports.



Sheffield University reckon that hydrogen heat pumps do better in GHG than running a heat pump on mains electricity:

In my view much of the commentary on hydrogen focusses on its losses, not its plusses.

For the UK turning the electricity from North Sea wind turbines into hydrogen is lossy.

But it can then be pumped ashore largely through upgraded NG pipelines.

As critics say, due to lower energy density than NG, like for like you can only move around a a third as much by energy content of hydrogen through a pipeline as NG.

But why would you need to move as much, when currently most space heating etc is done by burning natural gas?

Around a third as much, when you are using the hydrogen on the spot at very high electrical plus thermal efficiency of over 90% in heat pumps and fuel cells is a pretty good rough fit.

Moving wind turbine output ashore as electricity not only needs shed loads more cabling than hydrogen pipes, but does nothing at all for storage, making matching demand and supply of renewables tough.

If you are burning NG centrally then sending electric to homes etc, then much of the energy goes straight out through the cooling tower.

Of course, hydrogen has its challenges to pipe, but none of them according to any sensible assessment that I am aware of are show stoppers.

Most of the supposed inefficiencies of hydrogen are arrived at by ignoring that it also acts as an energy store, and assuming very inefficient usage in gas boilers, instead of combined heat and power right where needed, incidentally with excellent opportunities to integrate rooftop solar etc.

Those savings more than make up for the initial energy losses in converting the electricity from North Sea windfarms to electricity.

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