The advent of cheap, renewable hydrogen is nigh - And cheap wind turbine generation may bring on the hydrogen fuel cell revolution
Hydrogen gas has been the pipe dream fuel of clean-energy advocates for decades. Splitting electrons from H2 molecules creates electricity and a waste product: pure H2O. It has the added benefit of being storable (albeit at high pressures or low temperatures), and it can refuel a car or a generator in minutes, as opposed to batteries, which can take hours to recharge.
Unfortunately, most of the hydrogen that is mass-produced today is made by synthesizing it from natural gas (more specifically, methane, or CH4). But it's also possible to make hydrogen using electricity and water, using an electrolyser. If that electricity is renewable electricity, hydrogen can be nearly carbon neutral in its lifecycle.
The problem is that the electrolysers that can make hydrogen from renewable energy have historically been prohibitively expensive. But that's changing, according to a new paper in Nature Energy.
Researchers from universities in Germany and at Stanford University created a financial model for a wind farm connected to a hydrogen electrolyser. They modeled electricity and hydrogen prices as if this theoretical system were based in Germany and then in Texas. The researchers concluded that "renewable hydrogen is projected to become cost competitive with large-scale fossil hydrogen supply within the next decade."
|The advent of cheap, renewable hydrogen is nigh
As the price of wind turbines tumbles, the hydrogen fuel cell revolution is nigh.