Incorporating Hydrogen into the Clean Energy Mix
Posted on October 28, 2015
Around the world, leading industrial nations have agreed to cut greenhouse gases by phasing out the use of fossil fuels by the end of the century. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency and Obama Administration are calling on all 50 states to reduce emissions from coal-burning power plants in the latest Clean Power Plan. As a result of the new guidelines and goals, governments and energy providers will be forced to change the way in which millions of people around the world get their power. But for energy companies to incorporate renewable energy in the U.S. and globally they will need to have smart targets and a place to store it — at grid scale.
What are the Options for Storing Clean Power at Scale?
Often when people think of clean power alternatives, solar and wind are top of mind. “But if we want to be completely dependent on renewable energy then we need to find a way to store this energy for times when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. Storing this energy is one of the greatest barriers to the adoption of renewable energy. However, it is an area where hydrogen can play a key role,” noted an ACTA blog.
Considering Hydrogen as the Clean Alternative
“Using hydrogen as opposed to batteries allows you to maximise on your renewable energy. There is no limit to how much hydrogen you can produce and store.” Additionally, adding hydrogen to the clean energy mix would not require drastic infrastructure changes plus it holds the promise of increasing efficiency while decreasing carbon emissions.
According to one article in E&E News Europe, “Germany has already taken the lead in the international effort to develop the so-called hydrogen economy, focusing on ways to convert electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind power – which is sometimes so plentiful it is dumped – into hydrogen that can be stored and used for a variety of purposes, beginning with fuel-cell-powered cars and buses,”
To produce hydrogen from renewable resources like wind, power plant owners would incorporate electrolysis. “The theory has been that excess electricity from wind power could be used in electrolysis to split water into its two constituent parts: oxygen and hydrogen, a flammable gas that can later generate more electricity,” noted the E&E News Europe article. In this scenario, the resulting hydrogen would be used to cleanly power everything from homes to entire cities.
As energy providers look to meet the requirements of the Clean Power Plan in the US and goals set forth by the G7 around the world, hydrogen presents a very viable solution.