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How Clean Hydrogen Could Impact Texas Electricity

By Tiffany Reynolds

Hydrogen shares a long history with energy, ever since the compound powered the first internal combustible engine. The demand for clean hydrogen has steadily risen over the years to cater to the expanding energy needs of different users. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has set aside about $9.5 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These funds intend to create Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs to supplement the hydrogen market and enhance the use of clean hydrogen.

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Power Wizard encourages using renewable energy sources to help combat the ill effects of climate change from carbon emissions. Green Hydrogen is an excellent alternative to non-renewable fossil fuels that can contribute to building a sustainable future. Here is further insight into the future of hydrogen renewable energy and its impact on Texas electricity.

What Is Clean Hydrogen?

Hydrogen is the simplest, lightest, and one of the most abundant elements in existence. This gas is an energy carrier like electricity, as it offers a convenient way to transport, deliver, and store energy produced from different sources. While hydrogen is a colorless gas, it is sometimes classified into different color codes to distinguish different modes of clean hydrogen production. Today’s hydrogen market has green, blue, turquoise, and pink hydrogen color codes.

Hydrogen gas used in energy production doesn’t naturally occur on earth and is derived from different manufacturing processes. The gas is lighter than air and usually rises into the atmosphere at normal temperature and pressure. Hydrogen production occurs through thermal, electrolytic, biological, and solar-driven hydrogen production processes.

Thermal hydrogen

Thermal hydrogen production is a high-temperature process that involves steam reforming. Energy companies produce hydrogen by reacting steam with a hydrocarbon fuel. The different fossil fuels reformed to produce hydrogen include diesel, methane natural gas, green liquid fuels, gasified biomass, and gasified coal. Steam reforming contributes to 95% of today’s hydrogen market.

Electrolytic clean hydrogen

Electrolytic clean hydrogen production involves the separation of hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis. The process happens in an electrolyzer which can vary from an appliance-sized kit for small-scale production to a central manufacturing unit for large-scale production. Renewable energy mission innovations have given rise to various fuel-cell-like electrolyzers that comprise different electrolyte materials.

Biological clean hydrogen production processes use microbial bioreactions that break down wastewater. The organisms achieve hydrogen production through microbial biomass conversion. Other processes like solar-driven processes utilize light energy in the production of hydrogen. Photoelectrochemical, photobiological, and solar thermochemical processes are a few popular solar-driven procedures.

Photoelectrochemical processes utilize special semiconductors to derive hydrogen from water. In photobiological processes, green algae and bacteria use their photosynthetic ability to produce hydrogen. Solar thermochemical processes use solar energy to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas.

What Are the Benefits of Clean Hydrogen Technologies?

There is a growing appeal to using hydrogen as a clean and sustainable energy source. Clean hydrogen presents a few advantages over other energy sources, including:

Provides Significantly More Power Than Fossil Fuels

Hydrogen gas has the highest energy content of any fossil fuel by weight. This high-density energy source produces about three times the volumetric energy density of methane and similar gravimetric density of diesel. Also, hydrogen fuel sources are more energy efficient than fossil fuels.

Can Assist in Generating Net-Zero Emissions

In addition to buying carbon offsets, switching to clean hydrogen helps you contribute to the climate goals of a decarbonized U.S. economy. Green hydrogen is one of the cleanest energy sources, with zero net emissions. The byproducts of hydrogen gas production mainly comprise oxygen, water, and heat which inherently have no adverse ecological effect. NASA has been working on utilizing the energy production capacity of hydrogen and uses the water produced as a byproduct for consumption by astronauts.

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In addition, hydrogen gas doesn’t require large tracts of land for its production, unlike hydroelectric power sources and biofuel. These alternative energy sources can significantly alter the existing environment. You can also store this renewable energy in compressed hydrogen tanks, underground storage units, and as a chemical compound that discharges hydrogen upon heating.

Renewable Form of Power Generation

Hydrogen gas is a uniquely abundant and renewable energy source. Most of the current hydrogen market’s supply comes from fossil fuels like methane and diesel. Luckily, access to innovation in clean hydrogen technologies and the creation of more efficient electrolyzers will improve the sustainability of the production process.

How the Clean Hydrogen Mission Can Play a Critical Role in Texas Electricity

The government plans to set up green hydrogen hubs in areas with sufficient hydrogen demand and supply. The Houston, Texas region consumes and produces about a third of the country’s hydrogen and has over half of the nation’s hydrogen devoted to the pipeline network. There is also the presence of port infrastructure and extensive experience in hydrogen storage. While the world’s clean hydrogen demand is presently limited, it is likely to grow by 6-8% annually between 2030 to 2050.

Texas has natural advantages in setting up cost-effective hydrogen storage and transport systems. The region, thus, meets the criteria needed to take the lead in transitioning to a carbon-free world. The bulk production and storage of hydrogen in Houston’s hydrogen hub will play a key role in securing an affordable energy future and meeting Texas’ net-zero goals.

Provides Consumers With a Form of Clean Energy

Interest in clean electrolytic hydrogen is steadily growing with declining costs in renewable energy production. Green hydrogen can help offset the deficiencies in wind and solar energy. These renewable energy sources often fluctuate and may fail to match prevailing energy demands.

Hydrogen gas is used in ammonia, oil refining, steel production, and methanol processing plants. The clean hydrogen derived from renewable sources can significantly lower the carbon emissions in these industrial processes.

Hydrogen is also an excellent alternative fuel source in the transport sector. The adoption of hydrogen fuel cars will likely improve with increased refueling stations, decreased hydrogen fuel prices, and enhanced efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells.

Commercial and multifamily buildings can integrate hydrogen into their existing natural gas lines and use this clean energy source. Hydrogen also plays a key role in the energy industry as it can enhance the flexibility of power generation in gas turbines.

Reduces Demand for Non-Energy Efficient Methods

Petroleum is an inefficient yet popular energy source. The hydrocarbon, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter emissions from gasoline and diesel-driven engines are a major source of air pollution. In 2020, the U.S. became a petroleum net exporter, with exports exceeding imports. However, the over 7.86 billion barrels of petroleum imports still play a crucial part in offsetting the fuel demand and supply imbalance on the international and national scenes.

The transport industry attributes to 70% of the U.S. petroleum use and 30% of national energy demands. Hydrogen gas can supply enough energy to power highly efficient fuel cell electric cars. In addition, hydrogen production from zero or carbon-free sources like wind, solar and nuclear energy further contributes to numerous health benefits for communities. Hydrogen gas, thus, has the potential to reinforce the nation’s energy security, preserve fuel, and provide a clean, resilient alternative form of energy.

Work Towards a Clean Future

The race towards a clean hydrogen-powered economy is becoming a reality due to hydrogen production and storage advances. Along with electricity, hydrogen gas is an energy carrier derived from carbon neutral sources. Subsequently, clean, sustainable hydrogen is an excellent alternative energy source to non-renewable fuels.

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This high-density energy source is emerging as an essential decarbonization tool with exceptional versatility and utility in different industries. Contact Power Wizard to get more info on renewable energy options available in Texas.


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