Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and it can be used as a fuel to run cars, trains, and even airplanes. Using it produces no harmful emissions. However, to date, the way it is economically produced is not clean and green. It is made from natural gas and leaves behind lots of carbon dioxide.
Around the world there are many projects working on so-called green hydrogen. Producing hydrogen by splitting water into its component elements is called electrolysis and produces only oxygen as a waste product. The problem with electrolysis is that it takes prodigious amounts of energy and therefore is very expensive.
A new project taking place in north Texas hopes to create the country’s first large-scale producer of green hydrogen. The project is building a 900-megawatt wind farm along with a 500-megawatt solar farm. The 1.4 gigawatts of total production capacity is more energy than the city of Austin consumes. That energy will be used to produce 200,000 kilograms of hydrogen a day.
This project is among the largest proposed green hydrogen projects in the U.S. There are green hydrogen proposals in Europe, Australia, Africa, and the Middle East that range from 10 GW to 67 GW.
The Texas project, being developed in partnership by Air Products and AES, has been enabled by government support from the Inflation Reduction Act.
There are a few thousand hydrogen-powered cars, boats, and trains but without substantial, cost-effective hydrogen infrastructure, the market is very limited. Subsidizing the development of the necessary infrastructure is essential if there is any real chance to create the long-imagined hydrogen economy.
Photo, posted June 5, 2005, courtesy of City Transport Info via Flickr.