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Hydrogen Economy. Travis Bayer Energy Law, 2010. Overview. Hydrocarbon Economy vs. Hydrogen Economy Past excitement vs. Current focus Hydrogen Basics How we produce it How we can use it Costs The future?. Current Hydrocarbon Economy. Fossil Fuels Pollution Local Global

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Hydrogen economy l.jpg
Hydrogen Economy

Travis Bayer

Energy Law, 2010

Overview l.jpg

  • Hydrocarbon Economy vs. Hydrogen Economy

  • Past excitement vs. Current focus

  • Hydrogen Basics

  • How we produce it

  • How we can use it

  • Costs

  • The future?

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Current Hydrocarbon Economy

Fossil Fuels

  • Pollution

    • Local

    • Global

  • Energy Dependent

  • Cost

    • Supply

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What about a different solution?

Benefits of Hydrogen

  • Replace a limited fuel supply

  • Security

  • Clean?

  • Possible safety from cyber-attacks?

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Excitement in early 2000s

  • President Bush’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative in 2003

  • EPAct of 2005

  • 2006 Advanced Energy Initiative

  • EISA

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Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu:

“We asked ourselves, ‘Is it likely in the next 10 or 15, 20 years that we will convert to a hydrogen car economy?

The answer, we felt, was ‘No.’”

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Hydrogen Basics

  • Most Abundant Element

  • Almost always found in compounds

    • E.g. H20

  • High specific energy

  • An energy carrier, not a form of primary energy

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What we use it for today

  • Producing Ammonia for crop fertilizers – 60%

  • Hydrocracking – 23%

  • Methanol – 9%

  • Miscellaneous

    • Includes space programs!

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How do we produce Hydrogen?

  • Breaking down compounds

    • Fossil Fuels

    • Water Electrolysis

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Production: Fossil Fuels

  • 48% Natural Gas, 30% Oil, 18% Coal

    • Natural Gas Steam Reforming:

      • CH4 + H2O + Energy → CO + 3 H2

      • CO + H2O → CO2 + H2

    • Kvaener-process:

      • CnHm + Energy → nC + 1/2mH2

Production water electrolysis l.jpg
Production: Water Electrolysis

Electrical power sources are connected to two electrodes which are placed in water:

  • Anode (oxidation): 2 H2O(l) → O2(g) + 4 H+(aq) + 4e−

  • Cathode (reduction): 2 H+(aq) + 2e− → H2(g)

    Most of the 4% produced by electrolysis is a side product in the production of industrial chlorine

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Electrolysis Efficiency

  • Consumes about 50kWh of electricity per kg of Hydrogen produced

    • Energy efficiency is in the range of 50-80%

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Renewable Sources and Electrolysis: The Carbon Free Solution?

  • Solar

    • E.g., Daniel Nocera

  • Wind

    • E.g., Xcel and NREL

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Green Dream Solution?

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Solar Solution?

  • Under the Recovery Act, Sun Catalytix received $4 million through ARPA-E

    • Claims near 100%efficicency

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Wind Solution?

Approval Granted in 2007, already making fact findings

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Hydrogen’s role in our energy system Solution?

  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells

  • Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine

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Hydrogen Fuel Cells Solution?

  • Basics

  • Different Varieties

  • Efficiency

  • Possible Uses

    • Vehicles

    • Stationary Sources

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Fuel Cell: Basics Solution?

  • Electrochemical energy production

    • Not exactly like batteries

  • Reliable

    • 99.999% reliable in ideal conditions

      Basic Design:

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Fuel Cell: Varieties Solution?

  • Fuel Cells are defined by the electrolyte used

    • Mobile: Proton exchange membrane fuel cell

    • Stationary: PAFC

    • Many others

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PEMFC Solution? & PAFC Diagram

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Fuel Cell: Efficiency Solution?

  • High Theoretical Electrical Output Efficiency

  • In practice, about 40-50% efficient

  • Compare to practical efficiencies of:

    • Internal Combustion Engines: about 20%

    • Lithium-ion battery: about 90%

  • Still, a Hydrogen fuel cell requires about 2.5x more energy to make it than it provides in its service life.

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Fuel Cell: Possible Uses Solution?

  • Vehicles

    • No longer US administrations target, but:

    • Ford Airstream Concept car:

    • 2008 Honda FCX Clarity:

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Fuel Cell: Possible Uses Solution?

  • Stationary Sources

    • Cogeneration in Homes and Offices

      • Don’t need pure hydrogen, and don’t use platinum in anode

      • PAFC fuel cells can provide efficiencies close to 80%

      • New focus on SOFC

    • Mixed Source plants – Renewable + Fuel Cell

    • Distributed Generation?

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Hydrogen ICE Solution?

  • Possible, but recall that fuel cells are more efficient than combustion engines.

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Costs Solution?

  • Storage

  • Hydrogen Production

  • Cell Production

  • Distribution

  • Bottom line

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Costs: Storage Solution?

  • Liquid H

    • Too expensive

  • Compressed Gas

    • Container issues

  • Stored as a chemical hydride

  • Absorb in a solid storage material

    • Nanotubes?

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Costs: Hydrogen Production Solution?

  • 1 kg of H is roughly equivalent to 1 gallon of gasoline

  • Baseline cost of water electrolysis is currently about $6.25/kg of H

    • DOE goal of $3.10 by 2012

  • Steam Reformation of Natural Gas is around $1.50/kg right now

    • Highly dependant on natural gas prices

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Costs: Fuel Cell Production Solution?

  • Platinum very expensive

    • A commodity, like natural gas, fluctuates in price

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Costs: Fuel Cell Production Solution?

  • Cost of most widely deployed stationary fuel cells: $4,500 per kilowatt

    • Cost of diesel generators: $800-1,500 per kilowatt

    • Cost of natural gas: $400 per kilowatt

    • DOE fuel cell goal: $400 per kilowatt

  • Cost of automobile fuel cells: $61 per kilowatt

    • Cost of internal combustion engine: $25-35 per kilowatt

    • DOE fuel cell goal: $30 per kilowatt

Costs hydrogen distribution l.jpg
Costs: Hydrogen Distribution Solution?

  • Hydrogen Pipelines + Refueling Stations

    • Embrittlement issues

      • Solvable problem

  • California Hydrogen Highway

    • The Chicken and the egg problem

    • GM still thinks feasible

      • With governmental incentives

    • Happening in other countries

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Where does that leave us? Solution?

  • Fuel cells in cars?

    • GM v. Chu

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DOE Solution? Goal

  • Lower Fuel Cell Costs to as low as $400 per kilowatt by 2020

    • Keep in mind, Secretary Chu’s focus is on stationary fuel cells

  • EPAct of 2005 tax incentives

  • State financial incentives

  • State RPS

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Where does that leave us? Solution?

  • Fuel cells in stationary sources?

  • Private and Academic research?

    • GM and other automakers pushing towards Hydrogen? Can they do that without government support?

    • New electrolytes and catalysts that can lower costs?

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THE END Solution?

  • Sources:

  • NREL:

  • http://www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/proj_wind_hydrogen_video.html

  • http://www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/pdfs/47302.pdf

  • DOE data:

  • http://fossil.energy.gov/programs/powersystems/fuelcells/index.html

  • GM Study:http://www.h2andyou.org/pdf/GM-SH%20HYDROGEN%20INFRA%20PAPER.pdf

  • Wikipedia: http://www.wikipedia.com

  • Energy, Economics, and the Environment: class textbook

  • Howstuffworks.com: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/alternative-fuels/fuel-cell4.htm

  • Scientific America: http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=rip-hydrogen-economy-obama-cuts-hyd-2009-05-08

  • Fuelcells.org: http://www.fuelcells.org/BusinessCaseforFuelCells.pdf

  • Report to Congress: http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/epact_743_fuel_cell_school_bus.pdf

  • http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/fuelcells/fc_challenges.html