7. AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY

Is green hydrogen the fuel of the future? — USC News

Is green hydrogen the fuel of the future? — USC News
Written by ZJbTFBGJ2T

Is green hydrogen the fuel of the future? — USC News  USC News

Is green hydrogen the fuel of the future? — USC News

Harnessing the Power of Hydrogen for Sustainable Development

As the world seeks alternatives to fossil fuels, scientists are looking to hydrogen as a promising source of clean fuel. Unlike gasoline, which releases carbon dioxide when burned, hydrogen combustion produces only water vapor, making it a clean and environmentally friendly alternative. More often, hydrogen is converted to water and electricity in a fuel cell, as in the Toyota Mirai. It is already being used in this way to fuel zero-emission fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and has long been used by NASA to send rockets into space.

The Potential of Hydrogen for Sustainable Development

Hydrogen, as the most abundant element on Earth, has the potential to transform many sectors that power our world, from transportation and utilities to biofuels, fertilizers, and environmentally benign chemicals. However, the high cost and logistical complexity of physically transporting hydrogen present cost barriers that affect the affordability of electricity, fuels, and foods.

Travis Williams, a chemist at the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, is tackling this challenge head-on by developing a “hydrogen on-demand” reactor that promises to simplify and cost-effectively revolutionize the transportation of hydrogen. In 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy recognized Williams’ groundbreaking technology as one of five pivotal achievements in recent hydrogen research history.

“The current cost of hydrogen is mostly driven by the expense of compressing and delivering it. Our reactor essentially delivers high-pressure hydrogen when and where you need it, allowing users to convert it into energy or other products without producing any pollution,” said Williams, who is also a professor of chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “Our goal is to make hydrogen more accessible and economical as a clean energy source, and this technology is a major step forward.”

Harnessing the Power of Green Hydrogen

Green hydrogen refers to hydrogen gas produced through a process that uses renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, or hydropower, to extract hydrogen from water or other sustainable feedstocks. This production method is considered “green” because it generates minimal or no greenhouse gas emissions, making it an eco-friendly alternative to conventional hydrogen production methods, which often rely on fossil fuels.

The cleanest process for producing green hydrogen is called electrolysis, in which an electric current is passed through water to split it into its constituent elements, hydrogen and oxygen. The electricity used in this process can come from renewable sources, ensuring that the overall carbon footprint of the hydrogen production is very low or even zero.

In addition to being 100% sustainable, green hydrogen is easy to store and incredibly versatile. It can effectively supplement intermittent energy sources such as solar and wind, addressing the gaps in their reliability. The U.S. Department of Energy expects that green hydrogen, generated from these sources, will eventually displace natural gas-based hydrogen, generated by methane steam reforming, ultimately to eliminate the carbon footprint of the hydrogen industry.

Applications and Challenges of Hydrogen

Hydrogen has vast uses in various sectors. In addition to applications in transportation, hydrogen is a key ingredient in a range of industrial processes including petroleum refining, metal treatment, fertilizer production, and food processing. However, due to hydrogen’s high reactivity and flammability, regulatory authorities have established stringent pressure and purity standards. Meeting these standards can be particularly challenging, especially when producing hydrogen for use in vehicles.

“To meet specs for vehicle filling, you have to compress the gas to a certain pressure. The cost of running the compressor ends up being almost equal to the cost of the hydrogen itself for cars, which contributes to some of the affordability problems we’re seeing in hydrogen production today,” said Williams.

“Our reactor is designed to operate effectively at high pressure, and the chemical reaction generates sufficient energy for self-pressurization, eliminating the need for expensive compressors,” he added.

The reactor also transports hydrogen in a more affordable liquid form known as formic acid, which can then be transported to the desired location and converted back into hydrogen. This transformative technology allows for the seamless mobility of hydrogen, ensuring it can be readily converted into a usable form wherever and whenever it is needed.

Hydrogen in California and USC’s Role

While electric cars powered by lithium-ion batteries dominate the landscape of zero-emission vehicles, hydrogen FCEVs are on the road, too — especially in California. In recent years, the Golden State has doubled down on its investment in hydrogen infrastructure. California currently hosts 57 of the 58 hydrogen fueling stations nationwide, with the only exception in Hawaii.

“For a long time, there has been a debate about the ideal role of electric vehicles, particularly in urban areas like L.A. The aim has always been to reduce gas vehicle usage due to emissions, and hydrogen vehicles were seen as a solution if we could establish the necessary refueling infrastructure,” Williams said.

“If you combine lithium-ion batteries with a liquid or gaseous hydrogen carrier, you can significantly enhance fuel range. Our reactor can help make that happen,” Williams said, adding that the chemistry of these carriers can store much more energy compared to solid-state batteries.

While FCEVs are important, most hydrogen is used for liquid fuels and fine chemicals. California is also taking on sustainable aviation and, last year, marked a major milestone with the announcement of a $2 billion expansion project at the World Energy sustainable aviation fuel facility in Paramount, Calif. This adds to the facility’s current capacity to refine renewable diesel fuel. The facility is the largest of its kind in North America and is poised to become a global hub for hydrogen-powered diesel and jet fuel production as well, so long as it can get enough hydrogen. Renewable fuels manufacturing is emerging as one of the largest uses for on-demand hydrogen generation. This is an opportunity where Williams sees important impact potential for emerging USC technology.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

  1. SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

    • Target 7.2: Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
    • Indicator 7.2.1: Renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption.
  2. SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

    • Target 9.4: Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes.
    • Indicator 9.4.1: CO2 emission per unit of value added.
  3. SDG 13: Climate Action

    • Target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.
    • Indicator 13.1.1: Number of deaths, missing persons, and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population.

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy Target 7.2: Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. Indicator 7.2.1: Renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption.
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure Target 9.4: Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes. Indicator 9.4.1: CO2 emission per unit of value added.
SDG 13: Climate Action Target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries. Indicator 13.1.1: Number of deaths, missing persons, and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population.

Analysis

The article discusses the potential of hydrogen as a clean fuel source and highlights the development of a “hydrogen on-demand” reactor that aims to simplify and cost-effectively revolutionize the transportation of hydrogen. Based on the content of the article, the following SDGs, targets, and indicators can be identified:

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

This SDG is addressed as the article focuses on the use of hydrogen as a clean fuel source. Hydrogen combustion produces only water vapor, making it an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels. The development of the “hydrogen on-demand” reactor aims to make hydrogen more accessible and economical as a clean energy source.

Target 7.2: Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

This target is relevant as the production of hydrogen through electrolysis using renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, or hydropower, is mentioned in the article. Green hydrogen, produced through this process, is considered sustainable and has minimal or no greenhouse gas emissions.

Indicator 7.2.1: Renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption

This indicator can be used to measure progress towards Target 7.2. By tracking the share of renewable energy, specifically green hydrogen, in the total final energy consumption, it can be determined if there is an increase in the use of renewable energy sources in the global energy mix.

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

This SDG is connected to the article as it discusses the development of a “hydrogen on-demand” reactor that aims to upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable. The reactor eliminates the need for expensive compressors and transports hydrogen in a more affordable liquid form.

Target 9.4: Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes

This target is relevant as the development of the “hydrogen on-demand” reactor aligns with the goal of upgrading infrastructure and retrofitting industries to make them sustainable. The reactor simplifies the transportation of hydrogen and reduces the cost barriers associated with compressing and delivering hydrogen.

Indicator 9.4.1: CO2 emission per unit of value added

This indicator can be used to measure progress towards Target 9.4. By tracking the CO2 emission per unit of value added in industries that adopt clean and environmentally sound technologies and processes, it can be determined if there is an improvement in resource-use efficiency and a reduction in carbon emissions.

SDG 13: Climate Action

This SDG is connected to the article as it mentions the potential of green hydrogen, produced from renewable energy sources, to eliminate the carbon footprint of the hydrogen industry. The use of green hydrogen can contribute to climate action by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries

This target is relevant as the development and adoption of green hydrogen as a clean fuel source can contribute to strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards. By reducing reliance on fossil fuels and promoting renewable energy sources, the risks associated with climate change can be mitigated.

Indicator 13.1.1: Number of deaths, missing persons, and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population

This indicator can be used to measure progress towards Target 13.1. By tracking the number of deaths, missing persons, and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population, it can be determined if there is an improvement in resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards.

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: news.usc.edu

 

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