Defining the Hydrogen Economy From A to Z

March 4, 2022

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Defining the Hydrogen Economy from A to Z: I is for Infrastructure.

Continuing in our Defining the Hydrogen Economy from A to Z series, today we will be discussing the important and critical subject starting with the letter I, Infrastructure. Infrastructure is key to building out the Hydrogen Economy and the primary focus of GenH2 in providing hydrogen infrastructure solutions for the marketplace. In order to generate consumer interest in liquid hydrogen as an energy carrier, infrastructure must be widely accessible.

In the general definition of Infrastructure, it is the basic physical and organizational structures, facilities, and capabilities that is needed for sustaining operations of a society or country, business, or company. This highlights the great need to build out a sustaining Hydrogen infrastructure. Just like building out a country’s infrastructure, building up a new value chain from scratch for the Hydrogen economy requires very deliberate coordination amongst policymakers, entrepreneurs, corporate partners and investors. Fortunately, governments, industry experts, and the private sector are investing in hydrogen technology more and more every day. In the U.S., the DOE announced the established Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $9.5 Billion Clean Hydrogen Initiatives which showcases the importance and the monetary value that is needed in building out the U.S. infrastructure.

In meeting the national and global infrastructure needs it is important to understand that infrastructure needs exist from the mega- to micro-sized capabilities or operations. From large hydrogen production plants to lab scale production and testing, capabilities are needed to support wide-stream deployment of the infrastructure needs for automobile, heavy duty, rail, marine, and air industries that will lead to sustainability in a world-wide Hydrogen economy.

As strides in infrastructure efforts are made, according to the DOE, in mid-2021, there were forty-eight open retail hydrogen stations in the United States. Additionally, there were at least sixty stations in various stages of planning or construction. Most of the existing and planned stations were in California, with one in Hawaii and fourteen planned for the Northeastern states. As the market expands, hydrogen fueling stations will be matched with vehicle rollout as both grow together. The DOE has also launched H2USA—a public-private collaboration with federal agencies, automakers, hydrogen providers, fuel cell developers, national laboratories, and additional stakeholders to advancing hydrogen infrastructure to support more transportation energy options for U.S. consumers.

Globally, the rail transport sector is a notable example of an industry that is paving the way in hydrogen by taking advantage of existing infrastructure and making adjustments or modifications.  The use of hydrogen does allow for the option of trains to utilize existing rail infrastructure. Trains equipped with fuel cells that convert hydrogen and oxygen from air into electricity and have a range of approximately 1,000 kms are now being tested in many countries across Europe.

As stated previously, infrastructure needs cover different scales and capabilities across multiple industries. Notably, companies like GenH2 are addressing innovative hydrogen production and liquid hydrogen solutions from the mega to the micro scale, with a primary target in the middle: the small-scale industrial infrastructure with products such as the 1Tonne per day Liquefaction, Storage, and Transfer systems which is expected to provide mass production, modular, on-site infrastructure solutions to support the urgency of building out the Hydrogen Economy infrastructure in the coming years.

Please join us next week as we revisit the alphabet, H, Hydrogen Production.

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