The New Hydrogen Revolution?
If I was reading an energy and utilities review 15 years ago I would have been reading about the Hydrogerevolution.
Hydrogen was to be the fuel of the future, the Hydrogen economy was in vogue.
But fashions change and all the excitement evaporated as progress was slower than anticipated.
However, the fundamental challenge of transforming the sector into an economically viable low carbon industry is now firmly in the spotlight and both technologies have a role to play which are potentially closely intertwined. Today, Hydrogen has dropped off the headlines to be replaced by the advent of the “electrification of heat and transport”.
New developments on the hydrogen front include the production of hydrogen within a chemical slurry. For applications where transport of the hydrogen of significant distances is not required this offers a low cost means of storing energy.
Imagine a wind farm linked to a Hydrogen production facility in which the Hydrogen was stored in a slurry which could be fed to a fuel cell to generate electricity. The wind farm then moves from being an intermittent and unpredictable generator of low value (since back up fossil fuel generation is needed to cover low production/high demand periods) to one which is fully dispatchable and with an output profile that matches the market. Avoiding the back-up generation cost transforms the value of the wind farm’s output.
Imagine a Nuclear power station linked to such a plant. Again the output of the plant could then be tuned to the market rather than baseload. One could argue that no-one would want to create a Hydrogen plant at this scale – however might that not lead to the development of Hydrogen transportation infrastructure and give impetus to Hydrogen fuelled heating and electricity at community and domestic scale as well as the emergence of Hydrogen vehicles.
Are we on the cusp of seeing the new Hydrogen revolution?