Hydrogen advocates look to capitalize on California’s goal to replace diesel for back-up generation

At-a-Glance:

California regulators are on the lookout for cleaner alternatives to replace the widespread use of back-up diesel generation – particularly among data centers in Silicon Valley and other areas of the state – and some industry players think hydrogen could be the answer. To learn more, read “Hydrogen advocates look to capitalize on California’s goal to replace diesel for back-up generation.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Hydrogen fuel cells are advantageous for several reasons: they occupy less space than batteries, possess long-term storage capability, are quiet, reliable, and 100% zero-emission.
  • The key draw of hydrogen is its cost effectiveness at longer durations.
    • For a completely resilient, 100% renewable data center with zero emissions, using hydrogen would translate to a levelized cost of electricity amounting to $119 per MWh.
    • Batteries would lead to over $4,000 per MWh levelized cost to ensure 48 hours of backup power.
  • Taking a step back from the issue of replacing diesel back-up generators, environmental advocates are urging the state to prioritize the adoption of renewable, zero emissions technologies.
  • Ben Schwartz, policy manager at Clean Coalition, said California could adopt policies to promote the efficiency of solar and storage alternatives to diesel generation.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Renewable fuels, such as hydrogen, can help utilities overcome the variability challenges posed by seasonal conditions and extreme weather. One approach that can be leveraged in the transition to a 100% renewable energy system is power-to-gas (PtG). PtG technology uses excess energy from wind and solar to produce synthetic hydrogen and methane. The combination of stored fuel potential and thermal capacity yields a long-term energy storage system that acts like a gigantic distributed “battery.” Coupled with traditional, shorter-term storage technologies, this system can help meet seasonal energy demands when renewables are variable, and provide a reliable and secure supply of electricity during periods of extreme weather.

 

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DOE announces $160m for hydrogen production, transport, storage and utilisation

At-a-Glance:

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has announced plans to make $160m in federal funding available to help develop technologies for the production, transport, storage and utilisation of fossil-based hydrogen. To learn more, read DOE announces $160m for hydrogen production, transport, storage and utilisation.” Reading this article may require a subscription.

Key Takeaways:

  • In announcing these funds, DOE said its efforts will help recalibrate the nation’s vast fossil-fuel and power infrastructure for decarbonized energy and commodity production.
  • This funding opportunity will be used to solicit applications for research and development in areas of interest that align with the following seven program areas:
    • Net-zero or negative carbon hydrogen production from modular gasification and co-gasification of mixed wastes, biomass, and traditional feedstocks
    • Solid oxide electrolysis cell technology (SOEC) development
    • Carbon capture
    • Advanced turbines
    • Natural gas-based hydrogen production
    • Hydrogen pipeline infrastructure
    • Subsurface hydrogen storage

Path to 100% Perspective:

Renewable fuels, like hydrogen, will play a significant role in transitioning to a 100% renewable energy power system, especially as the market for these fuels continues to grow in the transportation and industrial sectors. Flexible gas power plants can generate electricity from hydrogen produced by Power-to-X facilities out of renewable electricity and CO2 captured from air. Investing in research and development around hydrogen is a strategic move that will advance key technologies and knowledge needed to optimize flexible gas power generation.

 

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash