Project 8: Hydrogen and Electricity Infrastructure Interactions
Hydrogen and Electricity Infrastructure Interactions
Because of the high power requirements for propulsion, vehicles have almost exclusively relied on high energy density liquid fuels and internal combustion engines. In the power sector, a wide diversity of primary energy sources have been utilized in power plants to generate electricity. As a result, there has been only a small overlap in energy sources between the transportation fuel sector and the electricity sector. It is believed that these two energy sectors may converge in the future with the development of a hydrogen economy. Energy technologists such as Geoffrey Ballard have introduced the concept of HydricityTM, which encompasses the idea that future energy delivery and utilization will be based upon two currencies: hydrogen and electricity. These two energy carriers can be made from any primary energy resource and can be inter-converted using electrolyzers and fuel cells, which are currently the focus of intense research and development. Electricity and hydrogen fuel can provide the energy services that consumers demand, often with better performance than conventional means, and can be made from a wide variety of feedstocks, including traditional fossil energy supplies (coal, petroleum, natural gas), nuclear, and renewable sources (hydro, biomass, solar, wind, geothermal). The choice of primary feedstock will play a large role in the ultimate cost, environmental impact and sustainability of the energy pathway.
In an integrated energy future, transportation fuels and electricity could be made from the same primary energy sources. For example, the primary feedstock currently used for much of the current production of hydrogen fuel, i.e. natural gas, is a growing contributor to electricity production. As both energy sectors (transportation and electricity generation) come to rely on the same primary energy sources, the impact on the energy/fuel companies and electric utilities will be significant. This convergence to common feedstocks could introduce profound changes in how energy is produced and distributed. Further analysis is needed to understand the impacts on energy supply, fuel and electricity prices. While the integration between these two sectors appears to be one of the crucial issues for the future of a hydrogen economy, this topic has not been studied extensively. We will focus on identifying and understanding the integration and interactions between hydrogen production and electricity production in a developing and mature hydrogen economy. Important interactions include the coincidence in the demand peaks for transportation fuels and electricity and impacts of feedstock utilization and production/generation plant utilization and strategies that involve co-production of hydrogen and electricity.
Publications from this project:
McCarthy, Ryan W., Christopher Yang, Joan Ogden, "California Energy Demand Scenario Projections to 2050," An input for the Advanced Energy Pathways project, Public Interest Energy Research Program, California Energy Commission, November 2006.
McCarthy, Ryan W., Christopher Yang, Joan Ogden, "California Baseline Energy Demands to 2050 for Advanced Energy Pathways," An input for the Advanced Energy Pathways project, Public Interest Energy Research Program, California Energy Commission, June 2006.
McCarthy, Ryan W., Christopher Yang, Joan Ogden, "Assessing Strategies for Fuel and Electricity Production in a California Hydrogen Economy," Proceeding of the National Hydrogen Association (NHA) Annual Conference, Long Beach, California, March 2006.
Presentations from this project:
Yang, Christopher; Ryan W. McCarthy, Joan Ogden "Modeling inputs: Energy scenarios," Presentation to the Technical Advisory Committee of the Advanced Energy Pathways Project, California Energy Commission, Sacramento, CA, November 9, 2006.
McCarthy, Ryan W., Christopher Yang, Joan Ogden, "Assessing strategies for fuel and electricity production in a California hydrogen economy," Presentation at the National Hydrogen Association 2006 Annual Conference, Long Beach, CA, March 12 - 16, 2006.