Green H2 2021: developing climate-friendly energy mix
Green hydrogen is a key aspect of the energy transition, which also delivers incredible opportunities for the industry in the effort toward green power generation, innovation, and sustainability.
As demand for energy rises globally, there is a need to tap alternative energy sources that are greener, renewable, and abundant in supply. Hydrogen is one such source. Identifying the ability of this renewable resource, which can assist the world to achieve net-zero emissions and accomplish a circular economy.
The countries around the world are deploying resources and undertaking R&D programs to develop hydrogen as the next-gen fuel for ensuring sustainable power generation and supply.
In 2021, hydrogen development took center stage as the industry globally saw a spike in efforts with several countries with policies that precisely support investment in hydrogen technologies growing, along with the number of sectors they target. Several pilot projects are studying various applications for hydrogen use, and feasibility studies for its transportation are in progress.
Globally, 228 hydrogen projects have been announced, to be developed between 2021 and 2030, of which 17 are giga-scale green hydrogen projects. Most of the hydrogen activity will be situated in Europe, with 126 hydrogen projects.
Many European countries have invested in finding non-carbon intensive alternatives for industrial and transportation usage, in line with the European Union's Green Deal and an effort to strengthen the local value chain.
As per the Hydrogen Council Hydrogen Insights 2021 report, Europe leads globally in the number of announced hydrogen projects, with Australia, Japan, Korea, China, and the USA following as additional hubs. Of all announced projects, 55 percent are in Europe. While Europe is home to 105 production projects, the announced projects cover the entire hydrogen value chain including midstream and downstream.
The industry body also believes that hydrogen could meet 18 percent of total global energy demand in the long term and create a €2 trillion market. But for the moment, the market is still in its early stages and needs a lot of policy support. As per Bloomberg New Energy Finance, as of July 2021, 43 countries have released or are about to release hydrogen roadmaps.
Some governments have announced big numbers, like Germany, Spain, France, and the United States.
Multilateral initiatives and projects can promote knowledge-sharing and the development of best practices to connect a wider group of stakeholders.
In the midst of increasing viability of the technology, government support and investor interests in several markets, significant growth opportunities thrive for the green hydrogen sector in Asia Pacific over the coming years.
Asia Pacific region continues to be a high-potential market, as it remains the fastest-expanding region for energy demand and renewables growth over the coming decades. The potential also offers a possible secondary use for surplus power generation from intermittent renewables as a form of energy storage.
Japan sees hydrogen as a major way to decarbonize its economy while sustaining its industrial competitiveness. Hydrogen is among the 14 sectors identified under the Green Growth Strategy Through Achieving Carbon Neutrality in 2050. The Japanese government doubled down on hydrogen with an update to the green growth strategy, announced in June 2021, that adds specific action plans to priority sectors.
Three main objectives of the roadmap:
- Decarbonization of the Japanese economy with a net-zero carbons emissions ambition by 2050
- Hydrogen as an energy resource that could increase the country's energy self-sufficiency
- Reduced hydrogen costs to push the economy's competitiveness and become a hydrogen exporter
The country seeks in the long term to shift the source of hydrogen and fuel cells from fossil fuels like natural gas to renewable energy, involving a growing volume of domestically sourced renewable energy.
India has been taking promising steps in the direction of its ambitious plan of both producing and exporting green hydrogen.
Realizing the importance of hydrogen for the decarbonization of industry and helping the country to embark on a carbon-neutral energy system in the future, the government of India is laying a lot of emphasis on hydrogen, especially generating hydrogen from green power sources.
As a climate-conscious nation, India has taken several measures that strengthen its promise to the environment. The launch of the National Hydrogen Energy Mission as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to the nation on 15th August 2021 – the 75th Independence Day, also reinforced the country's commitment towards a clean and green future.
Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (independent charge) of the Ministry of Science launched the National Hydrogen Portal (www.greenhydrogen-India.com). The platform aims to become a one-stop information source for research, production, storage, transportation, and application of hydrogen across the country & Technology.
From companies run by billionaires Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani to State-owned oil refiner Indian Oil and electricity producer NTPC, Indian industries have announced ambitious plans to embrace hydrogen as fuel, as the nation transitions towards carbon-free fuel.
- Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has announced that it will be investing ₹75,000 crore in its new business focused on clean energy, which includes solar and green hydrogen.
- Gautam Adani's logistics-to-energy conglomerate is set to invest $70 billion over the next decade to become the world's largest renewable energy company and produce the cheapest hydrogen on the Earth.
- In another development, Adani Enterprises entered into an MoU with Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. to explore the development of industrial projects using NextChem and Stamicarbon's technologies and MET DEV's project development capabilities and proficiency to industrialize green chemistry and circular economy sectors in India.
- US-based renewable energy start-up, Ohmium International launched India's first green hydrogen electrolyzer Giga factory in Bengaluru
- ACME Group has set up the world's first integrated commercial-scale pilot plant for Green Hydrogen and Green Ammonia production in Rajasthan.
With the hydrogen economy set to boom in the next few years globally, Europe is emerging as the clear leader in planned installations and government policy, supporting the sector.
The European Green Deal combines the twin effort of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and preparing Europe's industry for a climate-neutral economy. Within this framework, hydrogen has been singled out as central for addressing both issues and for evolving our energy systems.
Apart from setting out policy and strategy guidance on hydrogen, the EU also supports many projects and initiatives on hydrogen.
Over three decades, the EU's hydrogen strategy aims at investing at least €470 billion in the generation of hydrogen, preferably from renewable sources, with €340 billion being allotted to photovoltaics and wind energy development. By 2030, a green hydrogen production capacity of 80GW is to be achieved in the EU. For this purpose, the EU established the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance (ECH2A).
Recently, the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance announced a pipeline of projects that the European industry is undertaking to roll out the European hydrogen economy on a large scale.
Europe is leading electrolyzer capacity deployment, with 40 percent of global installed capacity, and is set to remain the largest market in the near term, on the back of the ambitious hydrogen strategies of the European Union and the United Kingdom.
THE UNITED STATES
The U.S. is already heavily engaged in the hydrogen economy with hundreds of millions of dollars of public and private investment per year.
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Energy Earthshots Initiative aims to accelerate breakthroughs of more abundant, affordable, and reliable clean energy solutions within the decade.
The first Energy Earthshot, launched on June 7, 2021— Hydrogen Shot — pursues to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80 percent to $1 per 1 kilogram in 1 decade ('1-1-1').
The Hydrogen Shot establishes a framework and foundation for clean hydrogen deployment in the American Jobs Plan, which includes support for demonstration projects. Industries are beginning to implement clean hydrogen to reduce emissions, yet many hurdles remain to deploy it at scale. Currently, hydrogen from renewable energy costs about $5 per kilogram.
Achieving the Hydrogen Shot's 80 percent cost reduction goal can unlock new markets for hydrogen, including steel manufacturing, clean ammonia, energy storage, and heavy-duty trucks. This would create more clean energy jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and position America to compete in the clean energy market on a global scale. These efforts would ensure that environmental protection and benefits for local communities are a priority.
In July, the DOE announced that its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will supply $36 million, and the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management will supply $16.5 million for the Hydrogen Energy Earthshot, bringing total funding to $52.5 million
The projects include scaling efforts and R&D for:
- Electrolyzers used to produce green hydrogen
- Hydrogen supply chain components and fuel cell technologies
- Hydrogen storage technologies
- Fuel cell subsystems and components
- Analyses for hydrogen production pathways, storage, and fuel cell systems
Although the U.S. already produces significant quantities of hydrogen, production predominantly uses hydrocarbon feedstocks and industrial processes that release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The adoption of other, cleaner modes of hydrogen production in the U.S. is still in very early stages.
Hydrogen projects in the US
- SoCalGas and SDG&E have submitted blending proposals of up to 20 percent hydrogen in natural gas pipelines for combustion over the next five years. This proposal did not address NOx emissions concerns.
- Florida Power & Light is slated to complete a 20MW green hydrogen plant by 2023. This hydrogen will be used in a 20 percent blend at FP&L's 1.75GW Okeechobee gas-fired plant.
- JERA Americas has announced plans to blend hydrogen at its Linden Cogeneration plant in Linden, New Jersey. Linden Cogen will take Bayway Refinery produced hydrogen-containing fuel gas and blend it with natural gas used to fuel the 172MW Linden Cogen unit 6 gas turbines. The modification will enable using a fuel gas blend containing up to 40 percent hydrogen.
- New Jersey Resources Corp. has begun construction on a green hydrogen project in Howell, N.J. The project will use electricity from a nearby solar farm to generate green hydrogen which will then be injected into the company's gas distribution system beginning in October 2021.
- NRG has filed for a repowering of their Astoria, Queens peaker power plant, based on a plan to convert to hydrogen by 2040
- Danskammer in New York has released a $500 million proposal to convert the River-Road peaker power plant into a full-time facility, based on a plan to convert to at least 30 percent hydrogen by 2030 and 100 percent hydrogen by 2040
- JERA Americas has signed an agreement with GE to develop a green hydrogen demonstration project in Dover Plains. The agreement calls for using hydrogen for 5 percent of the fuel in one of the three units at the power station. This initiates the first step toward converting to a 100 percent hydrogen fuel capable plant.
- Dominion Energy North Carolina has asked regulators for approval of a $215,000 pilot project to blend 5 percent hydrogen with natural gas.
- Duke Energy Carolinas, Siemens Energy, and Clemson University have partnered to create hydrogen and combined-heat-and-power project that will electrify and heat the university's campus. Siemens Energy will study the use of its Silyzer electrolyzer to produce hydrogen fuel to help power the existing SGT-400 natural gas turbine at the Clemson plant.
- New Fortress Energy is currently building new GE H-class gas turbines in its Hannibal, Ohio plant. The 485 MW plant will burn a 15-20 percent blend of hydrogen and natural gas (the highest amount the H-class turbines can burn), starting in November 2021.
- Atlanta-based utility-holding company Southern Company has started its HyBlend research and development project through a partial grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Gulf region utility Entergy has announced plans to use existing oil industry hydrogen pipeline networks and underground salt caverns to ship and store hydrogen and replace natural gas-fired power. The utility has announced plans to build a plant near its existing hydrogen pipelines in Sabine, Texas, that will run on a 30 percent hydrogen/natural gas blend when it begins commercial operation.
- The Intermountain Power Project has partnered with Mitsubishi Power on a $2 billion power plant upgrade that will have the plant running a 30 percent natural gas/hydrogen blend by 2025.
- Balico LLC has signed a hydrogen integration contract with Mitsubishi Power for its 1.65GW natural gas-fired power plant in Charles City County, Virginia.
- Dominion Energy has also stated that they will be pursuing a 5 percent blend of hydrogen in their natural gas pipelines beginning this year.