The US Department of Energy (DOE) is bankrolling up to $31 million to advance the H2@Scale concept. The focus of H2@Scale is to enable affordable and reliable large-scale hydrogen generation, transport, storage, and utilisation in the US across multiple sectors.
By producing hydrogen when power generation exceeds load, electrolysers can reduce curtailment of renewables and contribute to grid stability. Hydrogen produced from existing baseload (e.g., nuclear power) assets can also be stored, distributed, and used as a fuel for multiple applications. Such applications include transportation, stationary power, process or building heat, and industrial sectors such as steel manufacturing, ammonia production and petroleum refining. Key challenges to the H2@Scale concept include affordability, reliability, and performance of emerging hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
The funding will cover various topics, including, advanced hydrogen storage and infrastructure R&D (up to US$9 million); innovative concepts for hydrogen production and utilization (up to US$12 million) ; H2@Scale Pilot – integrated production, storage, and fuelling systems (up to US$10 million).
H2@Scale is a concept that explores the potential for wide-scale hydrogen production and utilization in the US to enable resiliency of the power generation and transmission sectors, while also aligning diverse multibillion dollar domestic industries, domestic competitiveness, and job creation.
Ten million metric tonnes of hydrogen are currently produced in the US every year, where 95% of which is via centralised reforming of natural gas, according to DOE. Other approaches include hydrogen production from water splitting, such as electrolysis, photoelectrochemical cells, or solar thermochemical systems. The primary uses of hydrogen today are in the oil refining and ammonia industries. Other emerging applications include fuel cell vehicles, metals refining, and synthetic natural gas production.