RMP is 501(c)3 non-profit organization registered in Michigan. We are committed to protecting fresh water resources by advocating for: sustainable energy production, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, remediating environmental pollution & rethinking waste management.
The false narrative about hydrogen for FCEVs is officially dead. Air Liquide opened their North Las Vegas renewable hydrogen liquefaction plant this month to provide green hydrogen to California FCEV drivers. Air Liquide’s $250 million investment is purpose built to supply green hydrogen to the California FCEV market for both cars & big class 8 trucks. The plant will make 30 tons per day of green hydrogen that will be liquified and shipped by truck to First Element Fuel’s generation 2 hydrogen refueling stations under the True Zero brand.
This is a huge milestone for hydrogen refueling in the USA. By law a minimum of 33% of hydrogen in California has been required to be green and there were already a few 100% green hydrogen fueling stations. But now, with 30 tons per day of green hydrogen available for California drivers, there’s enough for up to 40,000 FCEVs from just this one plant. Currently there are about 12,000 FCEVs on California roads. This means almost overnight since the Air Liquide plant came online, all hydrogen for California FCEVs is green with room for more green growth. It is safe to estimate that more than 90% of hydrogen for California FCEV drivers will now come from green hydrogen and that percentage will increase as more vehicles get sold or leased to California drivers.
This is a huge turn of events because for many years BEVangelists & hydrogen haters have criticized hydrogen as coming from fossil fuels by repeating misleading information. It’s true for over 100 years most hydrogen has been made from fossil fuels primarily for the oil industry and to make fertilizer. But what is completely misleading is that legacy hydrogen production has nothing to do with hydrogen’s green potential which we can now boast, demonstrate, and call attention to. It is very disingenuous to mislead people into thinking hydrogen for FCEVs is less green than electricity when over 80% of electricity for charging BEVs in the USA comes from non-renewable resources. Oh my how the tables have turned in just this past month (May 2022). Now there is a stark divide between which fuel is greener, FCEVs use >90% green hydrogen and BEVs charge with >80% non-renewable fuels.
The hard truth is that as of this day forward hydrogen has a huge lead over BEVs in terms of green credentials. While approx. 90% or more of hydrogen for FCEVs comes from renewable energy, less than 20% of electricity from the US grid comes from renewable energy. In fact, over 60% of BEV charging comes from fossil fuels alone(see EIA table below).
The bottom line is this: more than 90% of hydrogen for FCEVs comes from renewable resources. More than 80% of electricity for charging BEVs comes from non-renewable resources. Furthermore, there is not a single off-grid charger powered by solar or wind in the world as promised by Elon Musk five years ago. We have no way to know when anyone will be able to show us how BEV charging can come from renewable energy. Not. One. Single. Renewable. Supercharger. Five. Years. Later. Full stop.
All Superchargers are being converted to solar/battery power. Over time, almost all will disconnect from the electricity grid.
Here is the question for BEVangelists: when will you be able to demonstrate that BEVs can be charged from renewable off-grid energy? For example, after a hurricane when the grid is down and transportation is a life or death matter, how can you charge ambulances & fire trucks without diesel generators? It’s a rhetorical question, it can’t be done. Hydrogen haters can call us names, but they can’t prove us wrong. I’ll take that advantage any day of the week.
Here’s the good news for lithium-ion batteries: they can be charged from renewable hydrogen instead of coal, natural gas, and diesel generators. All you have to do, is admit you have been wrong the whole time and say you’re sorry. The hydrogen economy has room for forgiveness.
This quarterly report chronicles key H2 infrastructure developments & stories from the past three months and is published on the last day of the quarter. Each key news item will be highlighted with a synopsis of the key event, a link to the story, and a link to its location on RMP’s Google map of hydrogen infrastructure across the USA & Canada if applicable. Simply click the map link to go directly to a zoomed in map marker on RMP’s map of H2 infrastructure. The marker on the map will be used as a virtual data repository for that specific location (like a Wiki page for that location). If you want to learn more about what’s going on at that location, you can go to its homepage to get all information available for that location.
After the link section of this post, there is a summary of quarterly FCEV registration numbers in the USA. Click here if you want to jump to the FCEV registration data.
Below are the story links and links to RMP’s map showing the physical locations.
January 10, 2022 – The Yaphank Fuel Cell Park at the Town of Brookhaven landfill is open, generating 7.4 megawatts of energy from three SureSource 3000 carbonate fuel cell power plants, Supervisor Ed Romaine announced. Since this electricity is made from RNG and solar panels, it’s 100% green. It could even be argued that this facility is carbon negative because it uses GHGs to make energy that would have otherwise been vented to atmosphere.
According to Brookhaven Township, the fuel cell facility will provide continuous reliable electricity to the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) system in Yaphank and will provide sufficient power for 7,500 homes.
January 13, 2022 – Kenworth rolls out battery-electric, fuel-cell-electric trucks for demonstrations. Story about engineers working on Class 6, 7, & 8 heavy duty zero emission hydrogen fuel cell trucks. The PACCAR Technical Center in Sunnyvale, CA is a research & development location for battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell heavy duty trucks; this location has been added to RMP’s map of USA & Canadian hydrogen infrastructure at the link below the story link.
January 18, 2022 – The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Council (HFC Bus Council) has formed a first-of-its-kind national coalition of public transit agencies, manufacturers, and suppliers working together to advance the hydrogen fuel cell electric bus economy and its applications in the public transit sector. Founding members include MTD, SunLine Transit Agency, Stark Area Regional Transit Authority, Foothill Transit, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, Utah Transit Authority, Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo), Interurban Transit Partnership (The Rapid), Intercity Transit, Sangamon Mass Transit District, Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, NFI Group, ENC, Hexagon Purus, Trillium, Ivys Energy Solutions, and Ballard.
January 19, 2022 – Canadian Pacific announces it will “significantly increase” its order for #hydrogen fuel cells from Ballard for North America’s first zero emission freight train. RMP has mapped the train route from Calgary in the north to Lethbridge in the south. Check out our map and zoom in to see it. Story about the increased purchase order from CP to Ballard below
January 19, 2022 – Detroit’s own General Motors announces their 150kW EMPOWER hydrogen fuel cell charger for BEVs. The charger will consist of 8 Hydrotec cubes and be capable of charging 4 BEVs at a time and will charge up to 100 BEVs before the hydrogen needs to be topped off again. These hydrogen fuel cell chargers make charging a BEV off-grid with renewable energy possible. There is still not a single off-grid renewable fast charger in the world using solar or wind energy. Hydrogen fuel cells will finally offer the opportunity for BEV drivers to charge with off-grid renewable energy.
January 24, 2022 – Canadian Pacific tweets video of the first hydrogen freight train in North America with planned route between Calgary and Lethbridge.
CP is excited to share video of its fully painted hydrogen locomotive – which has run under its own power! The project team is now preparing for field-testing with the H2OEL. This is a significant milestone for CP’s Hydrogen Locomotive Program. #SustainablyDrivenpic.twitter.com/M5njG3nJOZ
February 3, 2022 – Alliance wants to make Western Pa. a hub for hydrogen production and carbon storage. US Steel, EQT Corp., Shell Polymers, Mitsubishi Power, Norway-based Equinor, GE Gas Power, and Marathon Petroleum Corp. are teaming up for hydrogen production and carbon capture.
February 17, 2022 – Southern California Gas Company is submitting an application to build a 10 to 20GW electrolyzer and 25 to 35GW of new and curtailed wind and solar, along with 2GW of energy storage, to deliver green hydrogen to the Los Angeles Basin. The most remarkable thing amongst so many remarkable things in this article is “delivered” hydrogen at $1.50/kg by 2030.
February 21, 2022 – Air Liquide To Develop Its Largest Biomethane Production Facility in Rockford, Illinois. With estimated production of 380 GWh of energy per year from renewable waste that would otherwise vent to atmosphere as potent CH4 greenhouse gas.
February 24, 2022 – Governors of Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Colorado sign a memorandum of understanding agreeing to pursue hydrogen hubs in their respective states as contemplated by the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Pub. Law 117-58 (Act). This is big news and starts to build blocks of hydrogen infrastructure that connect California with New York. Once a single route interstate hydrogen highway reaches from California to New York, hydrogen proliferation and adoption will accelerate.
March 3, 2022 – The Indystar News publishes a story about bus agency Indygo trialing a hydrogen fuel cell bus borrowed from Sunline Transit Agency in Thousand Palms California. Sunline is one of the original hydrogen bus operators and has been a big part of the reason FCEBs are catching on all over the country and world.
FCEV registration reporting lags behind about two months. So for example, 12/31/2021 data gets published by IHS Worldmarkit about the second week in February 2022. Therefore, 12/31/2021 is the most current data RMP can report on 03/31/2022. The tables below show the most current FCEV registration data in the USA by state and in California by county. California FCEV registrations increased 8.6% quarter over quarter which if annualized would be almost 35% growth. As RMP has written about in the past, Air Liquide’s North Las Vegas hydrogen liquefaction plant is now online as of Q1-2022. The plant will produce about 30 tons of liquid hydrogen per day which is enough for about 40,000 drivers. We should see that growth in the California market over the next few quarters.
Below is a table of all FCEVs registered in the USA as of the latest information published from IHS Markit.
Since California is the driver of the growth percentage of FCEVs in America, RMP likes to look at FCEVs registered in California by county. Below is a table of FCEVs registered in California by county.
Final Thoughts on Q1-2022
Things are happening quickly now hydrogen infrastructure developments. The whole world is announcing plans to increase hydrogen production to make their country impervious to oil supply fluctuations and oil price increases. In California, what RMP has been writing about for years is coming to fruition. We have multiple Gen2 hydrogen refueling stations coming online and Air Liquide’s 30 tons per day liquid hydrogen production is online and dedicated to California drivers. This is a “never look back” point for hydrogen FCEV growth in America for both cars & trucks.
On February 7, 2022 the Baldwin Park hydrogen refueling station came online in California with a capacity of 1,600kg which is larger than any other public retail hydrogen refueling station in America. A month later on 3/21/2022 the Hawaiian Gardens station came online with a capacity of 900kg. Two days later on 3/23/2022 the Orange station came online also with a capacity of 1,600kg. These new stations opening are monsters compared to the first 50 stations that came online in California. Each of these stations is capable of refueling 10x as many vehicles as Gen1 stations.
The pieces are in place for rapid growth of hydrogen FCEV registration in California. Everyone in America is about to get an education in how hydrogen scales and how the price of energy and vehicles drops when you can make your energy domestically. See you next quarter.
Battery technology has come a long way and has helped us in many ways. Hydrogen technology has also come a long way and shows promise to reduce carbon intensity in energy sectors that batteries cannot reach. Green hydrogen can reduce CO2 emissions in the manufacture of ammonia, steel, and concrete as well as many other products. Hydrogen acceptance and enthusiasm could be much further along than it is today, but it has been held back by zealous BEV supporters. Instead of supporting hydrogen as a complimenting technology to batteries, many zealous BEV radicals are compelled to attack and slander hydrogen with misleading and false information. In this post, we will look at the Top 4 Hydrogen Myths that continue to circulate through news articles misleading readers.
In June of 2014, Elon Musk called fuel cells “fool cells” at a Tesla shareholder meeting attended by Wall Street investment analysts. Instead of recognizing hydrogen as a complimentary technology to other zero emission technologies, Elon viewed hydrogen as a threat and set out to smear it. By 2016, Elon had perfected his anti-hydrogen monologue like a comedian honing a joke. In the short video clip below, Elon mentions the #1 hydrogen myth he & his influencers have been falsely propping up for over six years now.
Just like Trump has enthusiastic supporters that echo his viewpoints, so too does Elon Musk. It’s these most ardent Tesla supporters who perpetuate misleading attacks against hydrogen energy 99% of the time. And, it’s not just individual Tesla shills that rile up crowds of people against hydrogen with misleading information, it’s popular Tesla shill websites posing as news publications like Electrek, CleanTechnica, and Teslarati that slander hydrogen energy under the guise of fact based reporting. Even publications like InsideEVs & Green Car Reports publish the same misleading tripe attacking hydrogen.
The misinformation that slanders hydrogen filters down from the top (Elon Musk) -> to Elon’s top Twitter influencers -> to Tesla lemmings that continue to smear and ridicule sound science that supports hydrogen. Tesla influencers act as a cult of deception flooding social media and other outlets with bad information that drowns out basic science and economics. Anti-hydrogen propaganda has become so wide spread that many main stream news sites have been echoing these hydrogen myths for years now. The Top 4 Hydrogen myths are easy to identify because you find the same ones again and again when you’re reading about hydrogen.
Let’s take a look at the top 4 myths anti-hydrogen battery zealots use to slander hydrogen fuel cell technology so you can spot them and push back. Each of these 4 common tropes are ironically worse for BEVs than they are for hydrogen fuel cell powered cars and trucks. It’s time to turn the tables on bad science from BEV radicals that does not help us fight climate change. It’s time to fight misleading information with basic science and common sense. RMP will help arm you with some basic questions grounded in science that will allow you to push back on these 4 myths when you encounter them.
Top Hydrogen Myth #4 – Over 90% of hydrogen production comes from fossil fuels
The hydrogen market for zero emission fuel cells is brand new. For almost 100 years hydrogen has primarily been made to refine oil into gasoline and to make ammonia to fertilize our food. The legacy hydrogen market has absolutely nothing to do with hydrogen’s future. There are about 10,000 FCEVs on California roads and they’ve mostly been registered in just the past 5 years. No one has ever tried to make green hydrogen for emerging markets for zero emission fuel cells until now. By law in California, there is a minimum requirement that at least 33% of any dispensed hydrogen comes from renewable sources. Even then, there are multiple stations that surpass that minimum requirement and dispense 100% renewable hydrogen. This dispensed H2 for FCEV drivers in California puts zero pressure on the grid.
By contrast, we still don’t have a single example of off-grid renewable fast charging. Elon Musk promised over 5 years ago that all Tesla Superchargers would be powered by off-grid renewable wind & solar. Five years later, there is not a single example of this; not a single one. We don’t know the cost of renewable fast charging, we don’t know its footprint, we don’t even know if renewable powered fast charging is feasible. While no 100% renewable off-grid fast chargers powered by wind or solar exist today, there are several 100% renewable wind, solar, and biomethane hydrogen refueling stations and we know exactly how much they cost. As more of these hydrogen refueling stations get built and demand for green hydrogen grows, experts predict the cost of green hydrogen and the stations that dispense it will fall just like photovoltaic solar panel prices have fallen since 1977.
In this first quarter of 2022, Air Liquide will begin making shipments of renewable hydrogen from their newly constructed Las Vegas liquefaction plant. This plant will supply up to 30 tons of LH2 to nearly a dozen second generation hydrogen stations in California each day. 30 tons of hydrogen per day is about enough for 40,000 vehicles. This means there is a near term possibility approximately 90%+ of hydrogen dispensed in California could come from renewable resources in the next year or so.
It’s the exact opposite of what anti-hydrogen detractors say. The truth is that the majority of electricity consumed to charge EVs comes from fossil fuels but the same knock is never used to when talking about BEVs. The next time you read the hydrogen myth that over 90% of hydrogen comes from fossil fuels, fight back. Ask the person saying or writing about this myth to show you how a state like West Virginia that gets over 90% of its electricity from burning coal can implement renewable EV fast charging. Tell them that over 90% of hydrogen used for refueling FCEVs in California will soon come from a renewable source in Las Vegas. Ask them to show you an off-grid EV charger system that provides 50MWh of energy per day from 100% renewable sources like Air Liquide’s green hydrogen plant in Las Vegas. Tell them that legacy hydrogen production over the past 100 years has nothing to do with plans for new green hydrogen infrastructure.
Top Hydrogen Myth #3 – Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the world, but it does not exist naturally
RMP has been debunking hydrogen myths on this website since 2015. The most common technique used to slander hydrogen is to single it out for characteristics that challenge all energy mediums. Saying hydrogen production has practicality issues is a classic example of anti-hydrogen disinformation. Most people reading this right now have all the materials within 100 feet of them to make hydrogen: a 9V battery, some table salt, a paper clip, and a glass of water. Making hydrogen is so simple. It’s the epitome of easy, accessible, and abundant where ever you may live in the world. Now let’s compare H2 to some other energy carriers like lithium ion batteries, gasoline, and coal.
Battery grade lithium does not exist naturally either. The lithium used to make batteries requires open pit mining techniques that produce toxic waste & divert millions of gallons of precious drinking water away from people who need it. The process to make battery grade lithium is complicated, expensive and only can be done in very specific geographies. First you have to find where the precious materials exist to make battery-grade lithium. Then you have open pit mining operations to extract the raw materials from their natural habitat in ways far more difficult than it is to liberate hydrogen from the drinking water in your kitchen right now.
Battery producers and suppliers could be facing a major cost headache starting this year as prices for battery-grade lithium are poised to skyrocket. Prices for the metal are already trading at a record high of $35 per kilogram in Asia, and are likely to keep climbing to $50 per kilogram in the second half of 2022 and trade at around $52.5 per kilogram in January 2023.1
Lithium hydroxide comes primarily from Australia, the “Lithium Salts Triangle” in South America, and from the Quinhai province in China. It takes about 10 tons of lithium brine to make 15kg of battery grade lithium. Finding and obtaining lithium is done in similar ways to finding and obtaining crude oil and keeps us bound to similar oil extraction environmental impacts. Scott Hynek, a USGS geologist based in Salt Lake City says of lithium production, “we’re taking a more petroleum-like perspective”. Scientists are tracking not just where deposits are, but how they might move: where the water flows, where the lithium-rich fluid could become trapped beneath a layer of hard, impermeable rock.2
The point is, lithium does not exist naturally. It’s much more difficult to find and extract lithium than any other energy carrier making material; even crude oil. Cobalt is also difficult to obtain and involves child labor in the Congo where 60% of the world’s cobalt comes from. It can take 30 tons of cobalt ore to produce 30kg of cobalt. Once you have all of the ingredients to make a lithium-ion battery, you still have to put it all together. And even then, once the battery is manufactured, it’s only a storage medium at that point, you still have to go find the energy to charge it. Most of the electricity used to charge EVs in America comes from coal & natural gas which is ironically & erroneously why anti-hydrogen folks say hydrogen can’t work.
While it’s easier & less expenisive to obtain coal than lithium, it must still be mined, pulverized, transported, and burned in a process that we all know has terrible impacts on our air quality and water quality. After burning the coal, toxic ashes must be disposed. Crude oil is also easier to obtain than lithium, but still requires 3D seismic equipment to peek into the earth’s crust just to find it. Then wells must be drilled in hopes the well will produce because many don’t and get labeled dry holes. Even if you get the oil to the surface, it must be separated from brine, then refined, then transported.
Even as bad as oil & coal are to obtain, lithium ion batteries require more money, more access to remote regions of the world, and have the worst energy density of any other energy carrier.
Compared to hydrogen, every single other energy carrier is more difficult and expensive to obtain/produce. This is why hydrogen is orders of magnitude easier & cheaper to produce than any other energy medium at scale. This is another reason hydrogen costs will continue to fall like photovoltaic cells made from the second most abundant element on earth: silicon. The next time you’re reading a hydrogen hit piece about hydrogen not existing naturally, you can be rest assured the person writing that sentence is most likely echoing the myth they have heard so many times that they accept it as true. Challenge them by asking them the basic questions you read about here. Ask them if lithium exists naturally. Ask them where lithium comes from. Make these comparisons and points for the sake of argument. Listen closely to their answers. The truth might not make a lot of noise, but it defeats bullshit each and every time it gets into a fight.
Top Hydrogen Myth #2 – Hydrogen refueling stations cost over a million dollars, it would be too expensive to build the refueling infrastructure
Electric vehicles currently only make up a small fraction of all vehicles in service at about 4% or less. The fast chargers used to charge electric vehicles depend on a majority fossil fuel grid and there are no examples of off-grid renewable fast charging from wind or solar. We don’t know what a renewable wind or solar fast charger looks like or even costs, because they don’t exist.
Furthermore, there are thousands of miles of transmission lines to get the electricity from a coal or natural gas plant to the end consumer charging their EV. As we see more severe weather impacting power outages across the nation and world, how do we imagine we would charge our vehicles when the power is out regionally?
A single second generation liquid hydrogen refueling station in California with a 1,600 kg capacity and four refueling positions can supply over 50,000kWh of 100% renewable off-grid energy in a single day. That same station(s) can be refueled whenever necessary so it can continuously refuel vehicles 24/7 just like a gasoline station. Each driver refueling, can go from zero range to full range in under five minutes and be on their way. Those FCEVs can also produce enough energy to keep houses running their refrigerators and air conditioners with zero emissions energy in an emergency situation. FCEVs can make their own grid whereas BEVs depend on the grid. Hydrogen provides a resiliency after a major storm that you can’t put a price on when energy could be the difference between life & death.
At scale, the cost of hydrogen refueling infrastructure is not only much more capital efficient than BEV charging, it’s much more practical. At less than 4% of vehicles on the road, we are already seeing major lines at charging stations with massive 40 stall footprints. These charging stations take up more space and recharge much slower than hydrogen refuels. The footprint of a second generation off-grid hydrogen refueling station is one order of magnitude smaller than the on-grid Kettleman City Supercharger shown below. The much smaller hydrogen station can also dispense more energy much faster than a SuperCharger. A hydrogen dispenser can dispense about 150kWh of 100% renewable energy in five minutes whereas a so-called fast charger takes hours to deliver half of that. As they say, time is money.
Don’t let this myth about BEV charging being less costly than hydrogen infrastructure go unchallenged. When you hear it or read it, speak up. Ask when we will see an off-grid solar or wind charger? Ask what the footprint will be of an off-grid renewable charger and how much it will cost? Ask how it would work when there are regional power outages and our ambulances & fire trucks need energy to save lives. Hydrogen fuel cells can be the compliment to BEV charging that allows for off-grid charging. RMP supports battery technology and building hydrogen infrastructure for off-grid battery stations to make them more economical. If someone supports BEVs they should certainly support hydrogen as a means to charge their car with off-grid renewable energy from sun & wind. Hydrogen is the most economical way to build out our carbon free energy infrastructure for the future and that includes charging batteries from clean hydrogen. Hydrogen and batteries compliment each other.
Top Hydrogen Myth #1 – Recharging a battery is a more efficient use of renewable electricity than making hydrogen
RMP wrote this detailed post in 2017 debunking one of the longest and last standing pillars of the anti-hydrogen crowd. The premise and firmly held belief of anti-hydrogen faithful is that hydrogen can’t work because it’s inefficient, this is immediately followed with “why not just put the energy into a battery”?
The effect of this misleading & and erroneous concept of hydrogen being inefficient has been the biggest myth of all the set backs in developing a carbon neutral hydrogen economy. Not only is the “hydrogen is inefficient” argument wrong, the sad irony is how inefficient we have become in allocating finite and precious battery making resources like lithium, cobalt, manganese, and nickel. Batteries are a great technology, but they do their best work when they team up with other technologies. The best way to use batteries is to make sure we’re right-sizing the battery pack so we can make sure there is enough to go around for everyone.
It makes no sense to make 100kWh battery packs with precious & finite materials when that same amount of material could have made twenty 5kWh battery packs for twenty fuel cell electric vehicles that use renewable hydrogen for fuel. It is completely inefficient to allocate batteries to vehicles such that one car has a 100kWh pack when 95% of average driving trips could be covered with a 10 to 15kWh battery. Talk about inefficient!
There is another irony too when it comes to people using Dr. Bossel’s debunked thesis about hydrogen being inefficient. Dr. Bossel basically said that using electricity to make hydrogen is inefficient as compared to charging a battery. Why then are gigawatts of renewable energy going wasted each year in California alone? It’s because the grid can’t accept the over production renewable electricity and it therefore goes to waste because grid operators are forced to dump it or “curtail” it. That same wasted energy could make tons of green hydrogen for 10s of thousands of California FCEV drivers.
The California Independent System Operator (hereafter CAISO) maintains reliability on one of the largest and most modern power grids in the world. The organization works around the clock to meet the electricity needs of consumers, while increasing the amount of renewable energy used on the gird.
What was obvious to CAISO in 2017 was the same thing that was obvious to RMP; it was the thesis of RMP’s post debunking Dr. Bossel’s ridiculous concept of hydrogen inefficiency that Elon Musk supports: renewable energy created when the grid does not need it is wasted energy. The concept is called “curtailment”. Curtailment is the deliberate reduction in output below what could have been produced in order to balance energy supply and demand or due to transmission constraints. Curtailment is a loss of potentially useful energy because it could not be used. In simple terms, renewable energy is being wasted on a massive scale.
RMP predicted in 2017 that as more and more solar & wind generation capacity came online in California that CAISO would eventually have to curtail 100,000 MWh in a single month. Five years later, CAISO is smashing year over year records every single month in solar & wind curtailment. In March of 2021 (graph below) CAISO curtailed 342,000 MWh of energy in a single month! As you can also see below, CAISO has curtailed over 100,000 MWh in 14 different months over the past three years exactly as RMP predicted five years ago. Dr. Bossel’s “hydrogen inefficiency” thesis echoed for so many years now was not only wrong back in 2015 or so when it became popular with anti-hydrogen zealots, there is demonstrable proof every month that RMP was correct: more energy is being wasted than ever before. Batteries cannot scale to meet the storage challenges created by all this wasted energy. Hydrogen is the cheapest & most energy dense storage medium for all these wasted megawatt hours. The evidence is clear.
There is no reason to beat a dead horse on this myth. It’s so obviously debunked now just as it was in 2017. Electrek, Cleantechnica, Teslarati, InsideEVs, Green Car Reports, and so many others still broadcast the message that hydrogen doesn’t make sense because it’s inefficient. The next time you hear it or read it, speak up. Let that person know that the “hydrogen is inefficient” argument is just propaganda to fool Wall Street investors into pumping up the Tesla stock price. Let that person echoing the nonsense of hydrogen’s inefficiency know that each month California is breaking a year over year monthly record of energy wasted because it could not be used. Let them know that a 15kWh battery pack is enough to cover 95% of an average driver’s daily commute and that it’s horribly inefficient to make battery packs so big with such precious resources. Let them know the same amount of battery making material could have made battery packs for 20 fuel cell cars and the same amount of material could have done 20x the amount of good for our environment.
Final Conclusion – What can we do right now to reduce gasoline & diesel consumption as we ramp up green hydrogen infrastructure?
Write your senators and congressional representatives to let them know you support green hydrogen in your local community. Let them know that we can create good paying domestic jobs right here in America that provide the energy we need while reducing imports of lithium, cobalt, and foreign oil. If hydrogen refueling is not available in your area, buy a plug-in electric hybrid vehicle until it is. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles use the same logic as a fuel cell vehicle in that they use a small battery pack (e.g. 10 to 15kWh) that will cover almost all of an average driver’s daily commute with no sacrifice on range. Companies like Toyota & Hyundai and many others will eventually swap those ICE range extenders with hydrogen fuel cells for 100% zero emissions driving like drivers in California are using right now.
The United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration said that the average person drove 14,263 miles per year in 2019. That’s roughly 1,200 miles per month per driver or about 39 miles per day3. A Toyota RAV4 prime plug-in hybrid SUV has an 18.1 kWh battery pack that allows the vehicle to travel 42 miles in battery only mode which is more than 100% of an average driver’s daily commute. On those days that a driver needs to go more than 42 miles, it’s no problem because the RAV4 Prime has a range of 600 miles total. You could estimate that gasoline consumption would be reduced by over 95% for an average driver switching to PHEV without giving up any range, four wheel drive, or the versatility of an SUV that Americans demand for their active lifestyles. PHEVs are a similar concept to fuel cell cars. Companies like Toyota & Hyundai, who are focusing their efforts on hydrogen fuel cells, can make PHEVs with a better CO2 profile than long range BEVs and eventually replace the ICE portion of the PHEV with fuel cell technology.
If you contrast the RAV4 Prime PHEV with an 18.1kWh battery pack to smaller Tesla Model 3 with an 82kWh battery pack, you see a striking inefficiency: more than 4.5 times the amount of battery materials are used in a vehicle than are required to cover 95% of daily driving. What a waste! Instead of making 4.5 vehicles that could reduce gasoline consumption by 95% each, you’ve made only one vehicle and you have 64kWh of capacity that you carry around at all times that seldom gets used.
Don’t believe the myths that hold back hydrogen just so Wall Street speculators can deceive people out their hard earned money. The people fleecing us with these myths are becoming filthy rich while our climate gets worse and our resources get allocated inefficiently. When the truth catches up to disingenuous CEOs like Elon Musk who have misled so many people into investing in false promises, many people will be hurt. Absurd market cap valuations of these deceptive companies will go poof and disappear one day when people realize they’ve been duped. It’s time to fight back against greenwashing crooks making false promises to get wealthy.
This quarterly report chronicles key H2 infrastructure developments & stories from the past three months and is published on the last day of the quarter. Each key news item will be highlighted with a synopsis of the key event, a link to the story, and a link to its location on RMP’s Google map of hydrogen infrastructure across the USA & Canada if applicable. Simply click the map link to go directly to a zoomed in map marker on RMP’s map of H2 infrastructure. The marker on the map will be used as a virtual data repository for that specific location (like a Wiki page for that location). If you want to learn more about what’s going on at that location, you can go to its homepage to get all information available for that location.
This month (December 2021), RMP added all the legacy hydrogen production infrastructure and pipelines along the Gulf Coast from New Orleans in the East to Lake Charles, Port Arthur, and Houston to the west. Production locations and pipelines in Corpus Christi were added as well! A ton of new infrastructure was added to RMP’s map. RMP will be publishing a “Gulf Coast” version of our hydrogen map soon to the world wide web along with videos showing just how much information is there for you to use & view on our map platform.
Let’s get started with a look back at the key events transpiring over the past quarter:
10/04/2021 – World’s first off-grid charging system for BEVs mentioned by UPS. This is a topic RMP has been following for years since Elon Musk said all Tesla Superchargers will be off-grid. It’s been five years since Elon said it, and now someone else is really going to tackle it. Will be interesting to watch how this is going to work. This will be the first of it’s kind off-grid BEV charging anywhere & it’s supposedly coming to Dubai, U.A.E.
10/14/2021 – California Air Resources Board (CARB) published their “Hydrogen Station Network Self-Sufficiency Analysis per Assembly Bill 8” analysis. CARB’s mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. CARB is the lead agency for climate change programs and oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards.
Assembly Bill 8 (AB 8; Perea, Chapter 401, Statutes of 2013) has been a primary driving force in the development of an in-state hydrogen fueling network for light-duty FCEVs. AB 8 extended the Clean Transportation Program (also known as the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program), administered by the California Energy Commission, to support the development and deployment of advanced transportation and fuel technologies. The program was extended in 2013 with new provisions to co-fund the development of public hydrogen fueling stations. Through 2019, 62 hydrogen fueling stations had been selected to receive State support through the Clean Transportation Program. In 2020, up to an additional 94 stations (and 4 station upgrades) were proposed for award through the Energy Commission’s latest grant solicitation in the program. Together with recent announcements of privately funded stations, there are more than 176 total station development projects currently operating, under construction, or planned in California. These developments have enabled the launch of FCEV sales in California and through 2019 the state has been home to the world’s largest light-duty FCEV population, with 7,129 FCEVs at the end of 2020 (more recent industry estimates point to over 10,000 cumulative sales since 2012).
10/14/21 – Air Products announces a “mega-project” to build a blue hydrogen production plant in Ascension Parish Lousiana. The plant will manufacture up to 750M scf of blue H2 per day and have a price tag of $4.5B making it Air Products largest investment ever in the USA. This announcement is on heels of Air Products June 2021 announcement of a multi-billion dollar investment to produce blue hydrogen in Alberta Canada & earlier this year an announcement to produce green hydrogen at the NEOM project in Saudi Arabia.
This Louisiana project is expected to be operational by 2026 and will create over 2,000 good paying construction jobs and 170 good paying permanent jobs. The 170 permanent jobs have an estimated annual payroll of $15.9M.
Further, this plant will permanently sequester approximately 95% of the CO2 used to produce the hydrogen and completely invalidate the misleading study by Mark Jacobson at Stanford University who is obviously politically & financial motivated to publish negative information about blue hydrogen
10/19/2021 – Mississippi Clean Hydrogen Hub could produce 110 million kilograms of green hydrogen annually and store hydrogen in underground salt caverns in Mississippi. Story is behind a paywall. Also there is no location to add to our map because the storage locations are planned with no specific location announced yet. If the location is announced, it will be added to RMP’s map.
11/8/2021 -Alberta Hydrogen Roadmap publishes YouTube video that “lays the foundation for a transition to a sustainable energy future”. Dr. David Layzell, professor at the University of Calgary and energy systems architect for the non-profit Transition Accelerator, is interviewed about Alberta’s hydrogen transition by Markham Hislop. Dr. Layzell talks about current hydrogen production in Alberta (5,400kgs/day) and forthcoming hydrogen refueling stations coming to Alberta in this approx 14 minute video.
11/15/2021 – Plug Power announces planned manufacturing facility of their GenDrive hydrogen fuel cell systems in Bethlehem New York.
FCEV registration reporting lags behind about two months. So for example, 9/30/2021 data gets published by IHS Worldmarkit about the second week in November of 2021. Therefore, 9/30/2021 is the most current data RMP can report on 12/31/2021. The tables below show the most current FCEV registration data in the USA by state and in California by county. For the first time ever, California now officially has over 10,000 FCEVs registered on California roads.
That’s a wrap on 2021. Thanks for reading and Happy New Year! See you next quarter.
Blue hydrogen has been making headlines this summer. It’s made from natural gas in a two-part process called autothermal reformation (ATR). The ATR process is different than the steam reformation (SMR) process used to make most hydrogen over the past century. There has never been a market for hydrogen for energy so we learn more & more each year about how to make zero, net zero, and low emission hydrogen for future markets. What distinguishes the ATR process of making hydrogen from the SMR process is a step called partial oxidation. In the first part of the ATR process, methane (CH4) is partially oxidized to create syngas. In the 2nd part of the ATR process, called a water-gas shift reaction, the syngas is mixed with steam to make carbon dioxide & hydrogen.1 The chemical notation for the exothermic ATR process is:
Partial oxidation of methane reaction: CH4 + ½O2 → CO + 2H2 (+ heat)
Water-gas shift reaction: CO + H2O → CO2 + H2 (+ small amount of heat)
What makes the hydrogen “blue”, and why the US Department of Energy is talking about this pathway for hydrogen production, is that ~95% of the CO2 from the process is easily separated from the natural gas and can be permanently sequestered such that it will never reach our atmosphere. The reason this hydrogen is being called “net zero” is because the by-products of the process can be used to make the energy required to execute the process as well producing excess energy to power nearby homes & businesses that would otherwise come from burning fossil fuels.
Unfortunately, the anti-hydrogen crowd has been spreading misinformation about blue hydrogen recently and it’s gotten into the internet echo chamber. This misinformation serves its purpose of sowing doubt about a net zero technology that is ready now to help eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality in population dense areas. This time the misinformation comes from an old regular, Mark Jacobson, and co-author Robert Howarth. Their recently published study spreads misinformation under the guise of peer reviewed science. Mark Jacobson recently published this anti-hydrogen research paper in August 2021 that will be debunked in this post.
After debunking more misinformation from Mark Jacobson about the benefits of a hydrogen economy, RMP will cover some positive points about how real scientists and real companies are investing billions of dollars into making net zero blue hydrogen here in the USA and also in Canada. The multi-billion dollar investments recently announced to build blue hydrogen plants will create good paying jobs for real scientists and real engineers. As long as we keep speaking out against pseudo-science like the Jacobson/Howarth study, there is a chance to save our climate, have clean water, and breath clean air.
Why It’s Important for RMP to Write About Blue Hydrogen Now
“A lie gets half way around the world before the truth has time to put on its shoes” is a famous quote often attributed to Mark Twain. One hundred years later and with the advent of social media, it could be argued that a lie gets around the world several times over before the truth’s jaw can drop in amazement. If you’re a hydrogen advocate, like the people who volunteer their free time to help RMP protect our freshwater resources, you know about this all too well. There are certain folks that don’t seem to care about landfills and waste water threatening our drinking water & being a larger source of methane emissions than the oil & gas industry2. But, when it comes to net zero hydrogen production that can be made with net zero CO2 / NOx / SOx, these same critics are vehement, vocal, and willing to spread misleading information.
Sulfur Dioxide is much worse for people than CO2 and you will not find a single mention of it in the 13 page Howarth/Jacobson paper. The word sulfur/sulphur shows up exactly zero times in the Howarth/Jacobson paper. The word nitrous oxide shows up only once in the same sentence that mentions the paper is solely focused on carbon dioxide & methane. The word carbon dioxide is spelled out in its entirety 128 times and never once called CO2 which is also a little odd. It is socially irresponsible to be myopic on environmental studies that have broad implications to our economy and well being. This is especially true in a country with poorer folks living near fossil fuel plants & oil refineries that release toxic emissions like SOx into the atmosphere disproportionately impacting people of color; this makes reports like the Jacobson/Howarth study even more socially irresponsible in that it ignores these important factors. We have the technology now to make blue hydrogen to eliminate CO2, NOx, and SOx which can improve the health of every American immediately. It makes standing up for real environmental science ever so more important which is the purpose of this website/organization.
Mark Jacobson first wound up on RMP’s radar in 2016 as a spreader of hydrogen misinformation. His situation is unique as a person in a position of influence at a prestigious university (in this case Stanford) and also because he purports to dedicate his life to saving the planet. Instead of objectively supporting all clean energy technologies, Mark seems focused on attacking clean energy solutions like hydrogen as he has for several years now. I remember subscribing the Stanford Energy Newsletter in April of 2017 just so I could follow along with the University’s research and follow Mark’s exploits after I became alarmed after reading some of his published work. I have been subscribed to Stanford’s Energy Newsletter ever since. Every once in a while, like this past August 2021, Mark publishes something misleading to further an anti-hydrogen agenda and it gets wide traction with media outlets and lawmakers. The tweet below from congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reaches her audience of 12.7M Twitter followers and most likely uses Mark Jacobson’s junk science to support her false claims. When coal is burned, it releases CO2, NOx, SOx, particulates, and mercury into the air. What AOC tweets below is wrong & alarming.
You know where Blue hydrogen comes from? Fracked gas. Blue hydrogen has worse emissions than coal, locks in more powerful climate destruction than what we’re doing now.
Blue is bad. (Grey too)
Guess which one bipar bill finances? Blue. So we need to mitigate that BIF alone harm
RMP feels it’s important to carve time out of our very busy lives and away from our day jobs to debunk this kind of junk science in order to fight for the protection of our drinking water and the air we breathe. Let’s start the debunking and then move on to some good news regarding those who are making multi-billion dollar investments in blue hydrogen in the face of misleading detractors like Mark Jacobson. Everywhere blue hydrogen production is employed, it will result in net zero carbon dioxide as well as reduced cases of asthma [especially] in poorer communities where coal & natural gas are currently combusting CO2, NOx, & SOx into our atmosphere.
Debunking the Howarth/Jacobson Study
The first major flaw in the Jacobson/Howarth paper is that the study employs a 20-year window to assign a greenhouse gas equivalency to methane instead of the 100-year window the IPCC uses3. While it’s true methane is a powerful GHG that’s 100 times more potent than CO2, it goes away in about 12 years. Integrating methane’s warming potential over a 20-year window gives it a CO2 equivalency of 86 which is the figure that Howarth & Jacobson use in their study. Over a 100-year window, however, it’s only 28 which is 1/3 of the figure Howarth and Jacobson employ. The 20-year equivalency exaggerates the overall impact of methane emissions because over most of the 100-years, the methane would be long gone from the atmosphere.4
The next major flaw in the report conflates fugitive methane emissions from oil production rather than natural gas production. RMP has been tracking oil & gas production in the Michigan Basin since 2011. We’ve mapped every single oil, gas, disposal, and storage well in Michigan and I have personally visited 100s of these wells over the past decade. RMP’s environmental research & watchdog work in the Michigan oil patch has been covered in Ecowatch, Bridge Magazine, and several other well-known media outlets like MLive. One thing you learn when you track the brass tacks production operations of the oil industry closely for several years is that natural gas is a nuisance gas at oil wells.
Natural gas is often vented or flared at oil wells because there is no way to get it to market and it’s therefore unwanted. We need to eliminate the use of oil for so many reasons and natural gas emissions is just one more reason to add to the list. We need to eliminate the use of oil as soon as humanly possible. Oil wells are responsible for releasing more methane emissions from subsurface wells than natural gas wells or any other type of well. This point is conflated in the Jacobson/Howarth study further eroding is credibility. Oil also threatens our drinking water in a much more substantial way than natural gas which is a point that doesn’t get much attention. It’s RMP’s stated mission to protect our drinking water.
RMP would love to see all oil wells plugged and never used again in order to curb their methane emissions and we’ve fought as hard as anyone over the past decade with this website as our body of work to back that statement up. Natural gas emissions at natural gas wells, however, are not the same. Natural gas wells have the specific purpose of getting gas to market and operators don’t want that product to leak. It’s disingenuous to compare leakage rates at oil wells -vs- gas wells which is what the Howarth/Jacobson study does. This means the 2.6% figure for upstream emissions the Howarth/Jacobson study employs grossly overstates the emissions associated with use of natural gas.
Make no mistake, RMP supports green hydrogen over blue hydrogen from natural gas wells, but blue hydrogen technology can reduce current emissions substantially now from gas wells that are already in use. Blue hydrogen will remain very important for RNG long after every natural gas well in the world has been plugged & forgotten because of more economical green hydrogen. So blue hydrogen’s importance is not directly tied to natural gas wells. Blue hydrogen can be employed for 100s of years after all subsurface wells are plugged.
The third and most deceptive flaw of the Howarth/Jacobson paper is the sleight of hand of basing calculations on old school steam methane reforming (SMR) rather than autothermal reformation (ATR). The acronym SMR is used 69 times in the 13 page paper. This is a classic hydrogen detractor technique that is used by all the famous detractors that spout scientific misinformation about hydrogen: claim the historical use of hydrogen for the past 85 years is representative of what blue hydrogen will be or can be. It is disingenuous to conflate hydrogen made for oil refining as representative of our ability to make zero emission hydrogen for FCEVs that will replace gasoline & diesel cars . Can you guess how many times the word autothermal is used in Jacobson’s paper? If you guessed zero, you’re absolutely correct.
One final flaw in the report is section 2.2 of the study calling out the extra power it would take to run the SMR process. This is actually how blue hydrogen achieves its ‘net zero’ claim through the ATR process. In section 2.2 of the Jacobson/Howarth study, Mark calculates 31.8g of CO2 are generated to create 1 MJ of hydrogen. The math is correct, but the irony again is sleight of hand in that this is the amount of CO2 saved because it will be sequestered. By capturing the CO2 that would otherwise be necessary to create the hydrogen while also having surplus power for nearby homes & businesses, the blue hydrogen produced earns its “net zero” claim.
For the past 100 years hydrogen has been used predominantly in ammonia production , oil refining, methanol production , and ten percent for other things like the plastic containers that keep salad fresh, the fabric of the seat cushions on your furniture, or the material on your winter jacket. Hydrogen has never had a market other than to make our food, make gasoline, and make the products we use every day. We never had the technology to use hydrogen for energy because the technology for hydrogen fuel cells has been incubating in its infancy for over 50 years. Well guess what? Hydrogen fuel cell technology has blossomed in the past decade to bear fruit for a clean energy future. We don’t need to use hydrogen for refining oil in a future state economy, and we don’t need to make it like our fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers used to in the early 1900s. It’s misleading to use century old backward looking stats as the basis for a forward-looking study when new blue hydrogen investments will be using autothermal reformation (ATR) and carbon sequestration.
The math and chemical equations in the Howarth/Jacobson paper are not scientifically accurate as laid out above. But the bigger problem is the way the study uses sleight of hand tricks to get you to look backward instead of forward. Howarth and Jacobson go to lengths calculating the chemical mole weights of carbon dioxide from making hydrogen from steam reformation. On page four of the study there’s a table to summarize how much carbon dioxide is released as flue gas in the SMR process. Let me say the same thing I said when I debunked Dr. Bossel’s pseudo-scientific paper: I don’t dispute the Howarth/Jacobson chemical calculations per se, but by plugging the wrong numbers into his equations, Mark arrives at the wrong results. Let me hang RMP’s thesis on this important point: new multi-billion dollar investments in blue hydrogen will not use the SMR process to make hydrogen. Blue hydrogen investments will employ autothermal reformation (ATR) in which 95% of the carbon dioxide will be captured and sequestered forever. “Net zero” blue hydrogen will be achieved by eliminating the need to generate an external power source to execute the ATR process and the process itself will feed excess power to the grid. Even staunch anti-hydrogen critic Michael Liebreich poured cold water on the Jacobson/Howarth study by basically saying “garbage in / garbage out”.
I'm not tweeting the whole "Blue hydrogen worse than natural gas" thing because, well, it's Mark Jacobson. If you make implausible assumptions, you get implausible results. Even if those results fit your desired narrative, honest folks are duty bound to either dig in or stay out. https://t.co/wST9kjDZEn
There’s no reason to spend any more time debunking the Howarth/Jacobson paper. Our time is too valuable to rehash these incessant attempts to stifle good technologies like blue hydrogen with misleading information. Let’s instead focus on what real scientists and engineers are doing to combat climate change. They’re putting their money where their mouth is and they’re investing their money in ATR plants with CCS to create net zero blue hydrogen and good paying jobs.
Blue Hydrogen Investments Are Happening Now
Blue hydrogen has certainly jumped into the lime-light recently it seems since a key date this summer. On June 9th, 2021 Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania based Air Products announced in conjunction with the Government of Canada and the Province of Alberta, a multi-billion dollar plan to build a landmark new net-zero hydrogen energy complex in Edmonton, Alberta.5 Edmonton is the heart of western Canada’s hydrogen economy and this news release set the stage for the Canadian city to operate an economically competitive and low-carbon-intensity network of energy. It was just 47 days after the multi-billion dollar Canadian blue hydrogen project was announced that the Jacobson/Howarth paper denouncing blue hydrogen with misleading pseudo-science was accepted at www.researchgate.net on July 26th, 2021.
When the Edmonton, Alberta blue hydrogen project was announced, Air Products CEO Seifi Ghasemi said “By being a first mover and investing in this innovative landmark project, we are paving the way for hydrogen from Edmonton to meet industrial and transportation needs throughout western Canada. Our highly integrated project will be a model for net-zero atmospheric gas, hydrogen and power production consistent with our announced growth platforms.”
The info-graphic used as this post’s featured image was adapted from the Air Product’s page that explains the details of the Edmonton, Alberta project. One of the interesting things about the graphic is that it shows a 55 km hydrogen pipeline and indicates multiple ATR/CCS plants could be built along the pipeline scaling up net zero blue hydrogen production to 1,500 tons per day. If 1,500 tons of blue hydrogen was produced per day, it would be enough for 2,000,000 FCEVs like a Toyota Mirai. Just imagine two million drivers with zero emissions and zero impact on the electricity grid. In fact, each plant would put additional energy into the grid at zero emissions to help charge BEVs. This will be a great way to help Canada achieve their goal of zero emissions energy.
The Jacobson/Howarth study was published with just enough time to malign the narrative around blue hydrogen because less than two months after the Jacobson/Howarth study was published, Air Products was back with another announcement on October 14th, 2021. This time it was Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Air Products CEO Seifi Ghasemi announcing a $4.5 billion clean energy complex to be built in Louisiana that will make the state a leader in the United States (U.S.) clean energy transition.
The Louisiana blue hydrogen project practically dwarfs the Edmonton project with some very impressive statistics: 750 million SCF of blue H2 per day, 2000 construction jobs over a period of three years, 170 permanent jobs with an annual payroll of $15.9M per year, and all of this at net zero emissions. If you convert 750 million SCF of H2 to tons, it’s nearly 2,000 tons per day or enough to service approximately 2.7 million FCEVs. Again, this is nearly 3 million cars with zero emissions, and zero impact on the grid other than adding additional energy to the grid that can be used to charge BEVs. The October 14th, 2021 announcement represents Air Products largest ever investment in the USA in the company’s history.
A large portion of the net zero blue hydrogen created in Louisiana will be for making blue ammonia so the 2.7M car equivalency is just to show scale. The neat thing about hydrogen is how it scales because there is enough for our cars, trucks, boats, and ammonia. Hydrogen can be used for everything from energy to fertilizer to steel with zero emissions; and you can never run out of it.
Air Liquide will open its 100% renewable hydrogen facility in North Las Vegas this month (Nov 2021) and will begin shipments to California hydrogen refueling stations in early 2022. The 30 tons per day of hydrogen produced in North Las Vegas will use RNG from landfills and wastewater treatment plants that would otherwise vent to atmosphere. If this plant were to employ carbon capture & sequestration while using RNG, it would be negative emissions.
The blue hydrogen in Louisiana will be able to connect to Air Product’s recently upgraded 700 miles of hydrogen pipeline that stretches all the way from New Orleans to Galveston Texas. Additional ATR/CCS hydrogen production facilities can be built from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to Lake Charles and all the way over to Houston along the largest hydrogen pipeline system in the world. As RMP has said before, Texas could come on the scene and possibly surpass California in registered FCEVs on the road in the next decade.
About 95 percent of the carbon dioxide generated at the Louisiana Air Products facility will be captured, compressed and transported by pipeline to multiple inland sequestration sites located along a pipeline corridor extending up to 35 miles to the east of the complex. More than five million metric tons per year of carbon dioxide will be permanently sequestered in geologic pore space secured from the State of Louisiana about a mile below ground. Air Products has received approval from the State Mineral and Energy Board for the permanent sequestration of the carbon dioxide.6
The Edmonton Alberta and Ascension Parish Louisiana blue hydrogen locations have been added to RMP’s map of North American hydrogen infrastructure you can find by clicking here. The Edmonton Alberta location on RMP’s map is exact while the Air Products location at 8013 Ashland Road in Geismar Louisiana is a real location but only a guess as to the location where the blue hydrogen plant will be built. The Ashland Road location makes sense as Air Products has a lot of vacant property on the west end of their parcel between the railroad tracks & the Mississippi River. None of the websites announcing the Ascension Parish location have information on the exact location of the planned blue hydrogen facility. When RMP learns the exact location of the planned facility, our map will be updated or confirmed as accurate.
Michigan has had several CO2 sequestration projects underway for several years now that RMP has written about in the past. We also recall in 2014 when representative Rick Outman sponsored Michigan legislation (HB5254) that Governor Snyder signed into law April 1, 2014 which modified wording so it was legal to transfer carbon dioxide by pipeline in Michigan. Michigan has had several wells drilled into geologic formations that could sequester CO2 in the Detroit area. Several wells have been drilled into the Salina formation in Detroit in the 1970’s7 as well as several wells drilled through the Bass Islands & Traverse formations into the Niagaran formation at about 3,400 feet depth throughout the metro Detroit area. West Bay has drilled into the Niagaran formation in the Plymouth Canton area as recently as 2009.8
Michigan has all the tools to begin sequestering CO2 now, just like Louisiana. All the pieces are in place for us to create net zero energy and create good jobs right now here in Detroit. We can make green hydrogen too, but we have an obligation to reduce CO2, NOx, and SOx in the River Rouge & Zug Island area now which is the armpit of Detroit’s worst emissions and pollution.
We can make Blue Hydrogen here in Michigan just like Lousiana & Edmonton are doing. Across the river in Sarnia, Air Products already has a hydrogen liquefaction facility that could be upgraded to make net zero Blue Hydrogen. While ATR/CCS will be for new hydrogen manufacturing plants, it’s true that most hydrogen today is made for the petroleum industry where the goal is cheap even if dirty. Several coal plants will keep burning coal and oil refiners will continue to use tons of hydrogen to refine oil for our cars & trucks. The hydrogen used to make gasoline will largely come from SMR with all carbon dioxide vented to atmosphere. This does not make FCEVs the culprit of gray hydrogen, it makes gasoline & diesel vehicles the culprit of gray hydrogen. FCEVs running on blue hydrogen or green hydrogen are net zero CO2, NOx, and SOx. Let’s not conflate the problems of the past with our options for the future. FCEVs have nothing to do with historical hydrogen manufacturing & distribution over the last 100 years; they need to be judged on their ability to have net zero emissions looking forward.
In 2020, Americans used about 123 billion gallons of motor gasoline—or about 337 million gallons per day—and about 166 million gallons of aviation gasoline. Gasoline is one of the major fuels consumed in the United States and is the main product that U.S. oil refineries produce.9
Final Thoughts on Blue Hydrogen
Green hydrogen is the best. We can make enough green hydrogen for all in the future. But, we would be foolish to think we could make enough green hydrogen to replace consumers deeply entrenched reliance on a fossil fuel economy overnight. Our hospitals, our industry, our military, and our consumers all expect to have all the energy they need on demand to keep America running. Blue hydrogen is a technology we can use now to start tipping the scales of our fossil fuel reliance toward a green hydrogen future. After every gas well in the whole world has been plugged and forgotten, the use of blue hydrogen will still play an important part in the hydrogen economy to help create clean energy and good jobs at our landfills, animal farms, and waste water treatment facilities. Even if the fossil fuel industry disappeared overnight, natural gas will still need to be managed to protect our environment.
Much of the oil refining infrastructure and fossil fuel infrastructure in place today has decades of useful life remaining. Gasoline powered vehicles are still being sold today with average useful lives of 12.1 years10. The oil refining industry and gasoline powered cars are connected to how hydrogen is made now. FCEVs and how hydrogen can be made with zero emissions of CO2, NOx, and SOx is the future. It is bad science and economics to look at historical hydrogen tied to gasoline cars and say that it’s representative of green & blue hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cell cars in the future.
Much of the coal burned in the USA happens in the same places SMR is being used to make hydrogen for oil refining. Detroit’s Zug Island & River Rouge area is a great example of a location where coal is burned, oil is refined, and steel gets made. Zug Island in Detroit is similar to many other places where energy is made in a concentrated area in order to feed America’s hungry energy consumers & industrial processes. It is in these industrial areas where energy is made that property values are the lowest because of the toxic emissions these locations belch into our atmosphere. It is also in these places where Americans below the poverty threshold live and raise their children.
In most cases the communities subjected to America’s nastiest emissions are disproportionally communities of color. Blue hydrogen and IGCC with CCS technology are ways to cut America’s emissions now, improve air quality for those suffering the most from NOx, SOx, and particulate emissions. The actions of reducing pollution need to happen in conjunction with the build out of green energy infrastructure. We need to capitalize on every solution available to create a pathway for thousands of American workers to transition from dirty energy to a clean hydrogen economy. To deny this is to continue to relegate so many American’s to breathe dirty air for years to come. Why? What is someone’s true agenda when they badmouth solutions that will eliminate CO2, NOx, & SOx without showing us any alternative solutions that scale to the 101 quadrillion BTUs America uses each year which is only 17% of the 599 quadrillion BTUs the world uses each year? 11
Blue hydrogen is an excellent investment for the USA & Canada to reduce GHG emissions to pre-industrial levels now. We can scale production of green & blue hydrogen to serve every single energy situation as well as steel, concrete, and fertilizer; no other solution can say that. We can scale up green hydrogen while blue hydrogen helps to descale the fossil fuel industry. This is the way.
Thanks for reading. If you like our maps and our posts, please consider making a secure and tax deductible donation to RMP by clicking here. We have very little revenue to cover web hosting services and appreciate your support.
Footnote #11 – U.S. Energy Information Association “FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS), What is the United States’ share of world energy consumption?” Last updated November 5, 2021 https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=87
Welcome new readers of RMP’s quarterly H2 infrastructure report. Each quarter we look back on the major stories related to hydrogen infrastructure advancements and we compare the current AFDC database to the AFDC database in the prior quarter to see what has changed. The AFDC database is updated by the US Dept of Energy & can be found by clicking here. RMP also keeps a supplemental data table of hydrogen production, liquefaction, rail and truck refueling stations. RMP adds our additional locations to the DOE’s database of Class 1 refueling locations to make a comprehensive map of all North American hydrogen infrastructure. You can view RMP’s interactive map of hydrogen infrastructure in the USA & Canada by clicking here. Ok, on with the report…
The two major stories of the quarter are those of both good news and bad news. Let’s start with the not so good news. California’s Gen2 liquid hydrogen refueling stations continue to have start up problems. These “big” stations still have the potential to be game changers for FCEV drivers in California but have not launched well in terms of uptime and availability. The main Gen2 stations I’m referring to are:
First Element – Aliso Viejo
First Element – Concord
First Element – Campbell Hamilton
First Element – Placentia
First Element – Studio City
First Element – Sunnyvale
First Element – Mission Hills
First Element – Fountain Valley
All Eight of the stations named above, according to RMP’s new real-time SOSS data tracker under development, have showed poor uptime and availability over the past quarter. This fact showing in the SOSS data is also corroborated by frustrated drivers on the Hydrogen Car Owners facebook group. Furthermore, these startup issues are exacerbated by short supply of liquid hydrogen which comes all the way from New Orleans. When Hurricane Ida made landfall in New Orleans at the end of August, liquid hydrogen production at Air Products New Orleans facility was stalled and disrupted shipments of LH2 to California drivers.
While it has been a tough quarter for early adopters of FCEVs like Toyota’s Mirai, it does lead to the good news: help is on the way. More LH2 (liquid hydrogen) production is on the way to help eliminate supply disruptions to California drivers. It’s important to note that the new production coming online soon and planned to come online over the next couple years is all 100% green hydrogen.
RMP added twelve new locations to our North American hydrogen infrastructure map this month that cannot be found on the DOE’s database. Of those twelve newly added locations, five are manufacturing locations where hydrogen fuel cell systems will be made and seven of them are planned hydrogen production locations. Three of the seven production locations are production only and four of the seven are production and liquefaction. Here’s the kicker of a statistic though: all seven new production locations are going to make 100% green hydrogen dispelling another myth about hydrogen.
The legacy hydrogen industry mostly serves the oil industry as hydrogen is used in the oil refining process. The majority percentage of the hydrogen used in the oil industry is made from reforming natural gas. The folks that like to talk bad about hydrogen like to say over 90% of hydrogen is currently made from fossil fuels. This misleading statement is about to go away very quickly because legacy hydrogen production has only ever been made for oil refining. All the new production coming online for hydrogen for vehicles is 100% green. When someone says over 90% of hydrogen produced today comes from fossil fuels, you can correct them and say “100% of production of hydrogen planned for fuel cell cars comes from zero emissions renewable energy”.
All of this new hydrogen gives BEV cars a chance to fast charge from 100% renewable energy. Right now there is not a single off-grid 100% renewable solar or wind fast charger in the world. Most BEV charging comes from natural gas & coal and super fast chargers located near coal & natural gas plants extend the long term use of burning fossil fuels. With an abundance of green hydrogen planned for the USA, fast chargers can be powered by fuel cells which will charge batteries with green and off-grid energy; this will be critically important during severe weather events that can impact fossil fuel grid electricity that BEVs currently depend on. With enough green hydrogen we can have both FCEVs and BEVs get 100% renewable energy. Without green hydrogen, super fast charging will continue to supplied with majority coal & natural gas to make those electrons. We need hydrogen to help make BEVs cleaner & help them avoid outage risks from severe weather events. BEVs are a lot cooler when they’re charged with green hydrogen.
The first big green hydrogen plant to come online to help support California FCEV drivers will be the Air Liquide North Las Vegas plant which is in strategic proximity to California. This production & liquefaction location currently under construction is expected to open in Q1 of 2022 and supply about 30 tons of LH2 per day or enough for about 40,000 FCEVs. Currently on California roads, there are about 10k FCEVs registered in California. This one production location should help the number of FCEVs grow four-fold in the coming years. As more and more green hydrogen production locations come online, the number of FCEVs can continue to grow at double digit and triple digit percentage rates for years to come.
Now let’s take a look at some of the top stories related to hydrogen infrastructure over the past quarter.
Hydrogen Highlights – Links To Top Stories 2021 Q3
7/6/2021 – B.C. Hydrogen Strategy published by the Government of British Columbia. The document is a blueprint for how renewable & low-carbon hydrogen will support its climate goals and create new jobs in B.C.’s growing clean-tech sector.
7/23/2021 – AC Transit (Alameda / Contra Costa County) Transit (in Tesla’s backyard) released a study called the 5×5 study comparing five conventional diesel, five diesel hybrid, five electric FCEB, five BEB and five legacy FCEB, totaling 25 buses. The masstransitmag article makes it sound like the FCEB did much better in commercial service than its BEB counterpart. The study is also ongoing and this is the Mass Transit article that writes about here:
8/14/2021 – Talks about SARTA’s 11 buses in Canton, Ohio and many other miscellaneous bits of info. Tells who made the buses: El Dorado and how many they started with (3 in 2016) and how many they have now (11).
8/11/21 – Tech Crunch posts this article with lots of good information but it also appears as though Aria Alamalhodaei @ TechCrunch is some kind of Elon shilly paid gun for hire type of writer. She has a very eccentric Twitter account but access to industry specific information as well as financial information, so it’s an interesting article.
8/10/21 – Fuel Cell Works published (as they always do) someone else’s press release. In this case, it was a Plug Power presser about the new green LH2 facility PP is building in Camden County Georgia. This story lists other Plug Power locations that need to be looked up and added to the map.
8/16/21 – California Energy Commission submitted a blueprint for the lowest cost Electric school bus fleet charging that will evaluate the benefits and costs of both BEB & FCEB zero emission technologies to get the appropriate mix of battery only & fuel cell + battery busses in a blended fleet of California school busses.
8/18/21 – Exelon Generation teams up with Nel Hydrogen to add an electrolyzer at their Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station in NY to make green hydrogen. The plant is rated at 3GW and has existing hydrogen infrastructure. The hydrogen manufacture is supposed to begin in 2022.
8/25/21 – Toyota announces via press release that they will be building Class 8 ready fuel cell powertrain systems that are “turn key” powertrains for heavy duty trucks. The Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) plant will begin assembling integrated dual fuel cell (FC) modules destined for use in H2 powered heavy duty trucks. The system weighs 1,400lbs and can deliver 160kW of continuous power. The system also includes a high voltage battery, electric motors, transmission, and H2 storage system. Toyota will also offer powertrain integration consultation/experience. The system will be able to give 300 miles of range to full load weights of 80,000lbs.
8/31/21 – Ballard announces collaboration with Hexagon Purus to produce Class 6 & 7 trucks with 400 miles of zero emission range. The trucks will first be deployed in California in the Los Angeles basin area. The first prototype truck is expected to be delivered in the 2nd Quarter of 2022.
8/27/21 – Hino Trucks debuts their Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell truck in Ann Arbor at Toyota’s North American R&D Headquarters. Hino Trucks new HQ is on 12 mile road in Farmington Hills about 15 minutes from RMP’s HQ right here in SE Michigan. This new class 8 truck is ready to haul freight in California right now and gives Toyota a big leg up on companies that are competing in the Class 8 #hydrogen space.
Watch this 6:10 YouTube video showcasing the truck:
9/10/2021 – Linde to construct $17.3M PEM electrolyser plant in Niagara Falls NY. Operational 2023. 100% green.
New H2 Stations Opened To The Public 2021 Q3:
No new hydrogen refueling stations opened to the public in Q3-2021. There are currently 3 stations commissioning: Sherman Oaks, Woodside, and San Jose. There are 8 stations under construction.
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles Registered in North America 2021 Q3:
RMP uses data from IHS Markit Worldview to report FCEV registrations in the USA. IHS Markit is the industry standard source in the Detroit automotive industry for statistical registration data used in financial analysis & parts forecasting. IHS Markit data updates are published quarterly & lag approx two months behind calendar date for processing into the database. Therefore, in this quarter’s report, you’re looking at last quarter’s data which is the most recent and was published about one month behind this article’s publication date. Below are two tables compiled by RMP showing FCEVs registered in the USA by state and in California by county.
The table below shows a 15.4% quarter over quarter increase in the number of FCEVs registered in the USA with California primarily driving the number. That’s the biggest jump in a long time. The year over year increase in the last 12 months shows 30% growth. RMP expects growth of FCEV registrations in the USA to grow substantially in 2022 as the Las Vegas LH2 plant comes online & start up issues for the new Gen2 refueling stations get resolved.
Since California is the primary driver of FCEV registration statistics, RMP prepares a second table of FCEVs registered by county in California.
Final Remarks for 2021 Q3
Q3 is another quarter of stops and starts for hydrogen infrastructure. A busy quarter in terms of adding 12 more planned locations to RMP’s USA & Canada infrastructure map, but a disappointing quarter for the drivers of FCEVs who struggled to refuel with new station issues and hydrogen supply chain issues.
While it’s great to see so much planning for new production capacity, it’s frustrating to see such poor uptimes for these new Gen2 stations with such high hopes pinned to them. As issues get worked out and resolved, those same fixes should help other stations implement the lessons learned through these growing pains.
The Air Liquide plant in North Las Vegas will be a real milestone event as it should produce enough green LH2 to supply 40,000 FCEVs in California or 4x the current amount of cars registered in California. This should buy some time for other green hydrogen production facilities to come online and the uptake of hydrogen can start to scale up.
Just want to thank all the pioneers driving their FCEVs in California helping to pave the way toward sustainable transportation for all. It’s no easy task completely transforming our energy paradigms from dirty to clean, so thank you pioneers!
Air Products, a world leader in the supply and transport of hydrogen, and Cummins Inc., a global power and hydrogen technologies leader, jointly announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together to accelerate the integration of hydrogen fuel cell trucks in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Cummins will provide hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains integrated into selected OEM partners’ heavy-duty trucks for Air Products, as Air Products begins the process of converting its global fleet of distribution vehicles to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Welcome new readers of RMP’s quarterly H2 infrastructure report. Each quarter we look back on the major stories related to hydrogen infrastructure advancements and we compare the current AFDC database to the AFDC database in the prior quarter to see what has changed. The AFDC database is updated by the US Dept of Energy & can be found by clicking here. RMP uses the US Department of Energy database as our primary data source for our interactive map of hydrogen infrastructure in the USA & Canada. Please check out RMP’s constantly updated map of North American hydrogen infrastructure by clicking here. Ok, on with the report…
LAKE MARY, Fla. (May 12, 2021) – Mitsubishi Power Americas, Inc., and Texas Brine Company, LLC have signed an agreement to develop large-scale long-duration hydrogen storage solutions to support decarbonization efforts across the eastern United States. Long-duration hydrogen storage is a key enabling technology for the transition to a net zero carbon energy future.
This collaboration expands Mitsubishi Power’s capability to store hydrogen safely and cost effectively in salt caverns in strategic locations across North America. The nation’s largest brine producer, Texas Brine and its affiliates have salt positions in New York, Virginia, Texas and Louisiana that will enable access to major load centers in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and the Gulf Coast.
Salt deposits are unique geological features into which caverns can be solution mined to provide safe, reliable and economical bulk gas storage. Hydrogen has been stored in salt caverns for decades in the U.S. Gulf Coast. Expanding the use of salt caverns for hydrogen energy storage in other regions offers a significant opportunity to create an infrastructure for clean energy resources throughout the U.S. to benefit industries such as power, transportation and manufacturing that are targeting net zero carbon emissions.
The collaboration with Texas Brine enhances Mitsubishi Power’s developing hydrogen infrastructure:
• In 2019, Mitsubishi Power announced a joint venture with Magnum Development to develop the world’s largest renewable energy storage project, the Advanced Clean Energy Storage project, to enable decarbonization efforts across the western U.S. This site is atop a massive salt dome in Delta, Utah, and adjacent to the Intermountain Power Project, which has transmission interconnections to major western demand centers.
• In September 2020, Mitsubishi Power announced a joint development agreement with Entergy to collaborate on bringing decarbonization projects to Entergy’s utility businesses in four states.
• Also in September, Mitsubishi Power announced that it had secured technical selections for three projects using its hydrogen-ready M501JAC gas turbines at the Danskammer Project being developed by Agate Power in Newburg, NY, the Chickahominy Power Project being developed by Balico in Virginia, and the Harrison Power Project being developed by EmberClear.
The Texas Brine collaboration complements Mitsubishi Power’s growing portfolio of hydrogen-ready gas turbines by positioning large-scale hydrogen storage in close proximity to projects, enabling access to economical utility-scale renewable energy storage.
Mitsubishi Power’s collaboration with Texas Brine provides other symbiotic benefits. Brine, a mixture of salt and water, is produced during the solution mining of salt formations. It can then be used as a critical feedstock for the chemical industry, or it can be dehydrated to produce salt for food, deicing, agricultural, industrial, and water softening markets. The coproduct of the solution mining process is an underground repository that can be used to store liquid or gaseous commodities, such as hydrogen. Conversely, when a salt cavern is designed and engineered specifically for the storage of hydrogen, it employs the same solution mining process, which ultimately creates a brine coproduct that can be used as a feedstock.
The alliance will initially focus on existing sites controlled by Texas Brine and its affiliates. Both companies will evaluate the opportunity for hydrogen storage in existing and new caverns, along with detailed engineering and design studies to support hydrogen storage needs. The companies will also explore greenfield applications that can benefit from hydrogen storage as well as brine and dry salt production.
Ted Grabowski, President and CEO of Texas Brine, said, “Strategic alliances that enhance collaboration across industry domains are critical for cost-effective use of resources. We look forward to collaborating with Mitsubishi Power to support safe and low cost storage of hydrogen across our sites in the eastern U.S. and to explore synergistic opportunities at sites in other parts of the country.”
Paul Browning, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Power Americas, said, “To bring about an energy transition for a net zero carbon future, we have to work with partners. It takes innovative partnerships and cross-sector teams to decarbonize multiple verticals. Our alliance with Texas Brine supports our mission to provide power generation and energy storage solutions to our customers, empowering them to affordably and reliably combat climate change and advance human prosperity. Together with our partners, we are creating a Change in Power.”
Welcome new readers of RMP’s quarterly H2 infrastructure report. Each quarter we look back on the major stories related to hydrogen infrastructure advancements and we compare the current AFDC database to the AFDC database in the prior quarter to see what has changed. The AFDC database is updated by the US Dept of Energy & can be found by clicking here. Canada added a new data repository for hydrogen stations in Q2-2020. The Canadian website is administered by Natural Resources Canada. RMP will continue to use the US Department of Energy database as our primary data source as we learn more about the Canadian database. All this data (and more) goes into RMP’s interactive map of hydrogen infrastructure in the USA & Canada you can see by clicking here. Ok, on with the report…
The big story this quarter was supposed to be Navistar Inc. announcing they plan to bring a fuel cell Class 8 longhaul truck to market in 2024 with prototypes on California roads beginning next year. This news was made more interesting because the fuel cell stacks would be supplied locally by Detroit based General Motors. This news became slightly overshadowed, however, when CAFCP updated the planned hydrogen refueling station data for the next round of hydrogen stations from the latest 2020 CEC funding round. According to the data CAFCP uses to track station progress, almost all of the new planned stations will have a nameplate storage capacity of 1,600kg which is nearly 9x bigger than most of the Continue reading “USA & CANADA QUARTERLY H2 INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE 2021-Q1”