Strategy for the hydrogen transition

Sovreski, Zlatko and Causevski, Anton and Tasevski, Angel and Simeonov, Simeon (2011) Strategy for the hydrogen transition. MOSATT 2011, 4. pp. 414-420. ISSN 1338-5232

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A rapid and profitable commercialization path for fuel cells and H2 can be executed by coordinating convergent trend in several industries. This strategy relies on existing technologies, can begin immediately, and proceeds in a logical and viable sequence. It has two preconditions: uncompromised ultra light-hybrid vehicles whose inherently high efficiency permits their full-cell stacks to rely on conveniently compact onboard thanks of compressed gaseous H2, making onboard liquid- fuel reformers unnecessary and uncompetitive; and integration of fuel-cell market development between vehicles and buildings. As a first step, fuel-cell co-or three generation could currently compete in many buildings by virtue of its thermal credit. It could yield even greater economic value wherever electric distribution grids are old or congested, or where other “distributed benefits” are important and rewarded, Its H2 could be made in the building by a mass-produced “hydrogen appliance”-either an off-peak electrolyzer or a natural-gas steam reformer. Next, the huge fuel-cell market, in buildings (which use two-thirds of all U.S. electricity), supplemented by industrial niche markets, would soon cut fuel-cell costs to levels competitive in vehicles. Low-tractive-load hyper cars could adopt fuel cells at several fold higher prices, hence several years earlier, than conventional cars. The general-vehicle market could then be opened to hydrogen by first using the spare off-peak capacity of buildings, H2 sources to serve vehicles too-particularly vehicles whose drives work or live in or near the sane buildings. Further, those vehicles daytime use as plug-in ~20+-kWe power plants could repay a significant fraction of their lease cost. This building/vehicle integration could make gaseous-H2 fueling practical without first building a new upstream bulk-supply and distribution infrastructure. It would work better and cost less than onboard liquid-hydrocarbon reforming. Ultimately it could provide more than 3 TWe of U.S. generating capacity, enough in principle to displace virtually all central thermal power stations. As both stationary and mobile applications for fuel cells built volume and cut cost for dispersed but stationary reformer and electrolyzer appliances, those H2 sources would also start to be installed freestanding outside buildings. Before, long the growing H2 market would then justify further competition from upstream bulk supply, especially from climatically benign sources. Such options include converting hydroelectric dams (or other renewables) to “ Hydro-Gen” plants that earn far higher profit by shipping each electron with a proton attached, and R.H. Wiliams,s concept of wellhead reforming of natural gas with CO2 reinjection. The latter option, s three possible profit streams-high-value hydrogen-fuel sales, enhanced hydrocarbon recovery and potential carbon-sequestration credits are already attracting large energy companies. Its ~200 year climate-safe CH4 reserves (at roughly current rates of consumption) could also provide a long bridge to a fully renewable energy system. The diverse and dynamic portfolio of hydrogen sources up and downstream; renewable and nonrenewable; based on electrolysis, reforming or other methods and with small to no net climatic effect would ensure healthy price competition and robust policy choices.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Engineering and Technology > Mechanical engineering
Divisions: Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
Depositing User: Zlatko Sovreski
Date Deposited: 26 Dec 2012 12:38
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2015 08:43

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