Hydrogen Key to Meeting Collective US Decarbonization Goals
As the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow kicks off this week, we are reminded once again that solving climate change requires never-before-seen collaboration between the public and private sectors around the world. To meet the ambitious goal of achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century, sustained action and commitment from all stakeholders are needed now and into the future. Those efforts must be built upon throughout the next decade to accelerate the drive to reduce emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
The members of Hydrogen Forward, a coalition of companies working to make hydrogen a key contributor to the clean energy transition, are encouraged by the US Department of Energy's (DoE) Earthshots Initiative as well as the inclusion of funding for the development of hydrogen and regional hubs to support the growth of this important technology in the US federal infrastructure package.
"...we must begin by decarbonizing the economy, including transportation, heavy industry, agriculture, the power grid, and more. Hydrogen technologies will be critical to this effort, and importantly, these technologies are able to start delivering results today."
However, as the United States embraces a bold climate agenda, we know this is just a start. We believe the US has a unique opportunity to prioritize climate policies and establish a clear strategy for hydrogen investment through mass-scale infrastructure, development, and deployment.
From once-in-a-century flooding events and widespread drought to record-breaking heatwaves and wildfires, this year has been marked by a series of catastrophic natural disasters that appear to be growing in volume and intensity. And even worse, this has come with a tremendous human toll as rising sea levels and extreme weather have impacted communities around the world.
"The companies comprising Hydrogen Forward have already begun the buildout of US hydrogen production facilities and fuel cell-powered applications across a multitude of sectors and geographies.
In August, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Sixth Assessment Report, which definitively stated that climate change is influenced by human behavior, and many changes caused by previous greenhouse gas emissions are irreversible. But it's not too late to reverse our current climate trajectory and meet mid-century climate goals. To do so, we must begin by decarbonizing the economy, including transportation, heavy industry, agriculture, the power grid, and more. Hydrogen technologies will be critical to this effort, and importantly, these technologies are able to start delivering results today.
WW0: Newsmaker of the Week - Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, September 23, 2021.
Hydrogen is uniquely capable of enabling the energy transition as the only zero-emission technology able to produce the intense heat necessary for the industrial production of cement, steel, glass and other materials. And as a versatile energy carrier, hydrogen is also complementary to other low- and zero-carbon fuels -- allowing utilities across the nation to harness energy from wind, solar, and other renewables and incorporate it into the grid system at scale.
"During natural disasters, cyberattacks, and other events that disrupt our grid system -- hydrogen can serve as off-grid power, allowing hospitals and other first responders to continue operations during outages."
The companies comprising Hydrogen Forward have already begun the buildout of US hydrogen production facilities and fuel cell-powered applications across a multitude of sectors and geographies. Recent examples include:
- Air Liquide has announced a new renewable hydrogen plant that would bring zero-emission hydrogen to the West Coast mobility market.
- Anglo American is developing the world's largest zero-emission hydrogen-powered fuel cell mining truck in partnership with First Mode in Seattle that will be used at its global mining sites. They also collaborated with Toyota, Shell, and Honda on funding seven California hydrogen fueling stations.
- CF Industries signed an engineering and procurement contract with thyssenkrupp for a 20MW green hydrogen project at its factory in Donaldsonville, LA, which will be used to produce green ammonia.
- Chart Industries is currently expanding its manufacturing capacity of hydrogen trailers in Mobile, AL and has partnered with Plug Power to supply the equipment for two 15-ton/day hydrogen liquefaction facilities located in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the US.
- Cummins has deployed a five-megawatt electrolyzer in Douglas County, WA, for the utility district to store excess renewable electricity.
- Hyundai is deploying 30 of its XCIENT fuel cell Class 8 trucks in Northern California by 2023, which will join the company’s Nexo passenger FCEV on California's roads.
- Linde will begin producing green hydrogen for up 1,600 FCEVs at its plant in Ontario, CA.
- McDermott signed an agreement to build a power-to-gas facility using solar to produce hydrogen that will be injected in the natural gas pipeline in New Jersey for residential and commercial use.
- Toyota announced plans to begin manufacturing fuel cell modules in Kentucky beginning in 2023 and have partnered with Shell and Honda to expand the hydrogen refueling network in California.
As we continue to face extreme and unpredictable weather events, additional hydrogen investments like these will help make our nation more resilient. During natural disasters, cyberattacks, and other events that disrupt our grid system -- hydrogen can serve as off-grid power, allowing hospitals and other first responders to continue operations during outages. In fact, many hospitals already use hydrogen fuel cells for this purpose -- to allow facilities to continue critical operations and keep vaccines, blood, and medications refrigerated in the case of an unexpected event.
France24: US embarks on 'green' hydrogen revolution, May 13, 2021.
But to realize these benefits of hydrogen technologies, the private and public sectors must work together to accelerate their widespread deployment -- both in the US and globally. Early on, the Biden Administration set the bar high by announcing US ambitions to be a net-zero economy by 2050. Since that announcement, there have been very encouraging signs that this administration supports low- and zero-carbon hydrogen production and deployment at scale.
Through sustained collaboration between communities, stakeholders, businesses, and governments, we can create a more sustainable environment for Americans. But the time to take action is now. We stand ready to work with the Administration and Congress to ensure hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are deployed in the United States to meet our collective decarbonization goals.