(Invited) An Overview of H2@Scale and Water Splitting Protocol Development

Monday, 14 May 2018: 14:35
Room 606 (Washington State Convention Center)
J. Holladay (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), B. S. Pivovar (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), K. E. Ayers (ProtonOnsite), O. A. Marina (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), E. B. Stechel (ASU-LightWorks), and C. Xiang (California Institute of Technology)
Supplying all of society’s growing energy demands is hard and has been limited to date to the fossil fuel based energy system in place since the start of the industrial age. Hydrogen, as a flexible, clean energy carrying intermediate, has the potential to be a centerpiece of a future energy system where aggressive market penetration of renewables (wind and solar) are coupled with traditional and renewable hydrogen production to increase the U.S. energy security and energy dominance, improve grid resiliency, and meet society’s demands for low cost energy.

A number of key recent changes are bringing hydrogen back into the spotlight: 1) Hydrogen is available from a wide variety of sources ranging from methane reforming to renewable powered water splitting increasing energy security. 2) Renewable energy is getting cheaper, and penetration levels are increasing at an exponential pace. Hydrogen production from curtailed renewables will be low cost and improve grid resiliency; 3) hydrogen uses in industry is increasing; and 4) commercial viability of fuel cell vehicle and other fuel cell technologies has been demonstrated (commercial vehicles being sold). Hydrogen, as an area of R&D interest (from either the federal or private sectors) has had its ups and downs over the past few decades. Hydrogen has suffered at times from being over-hyped or misunderstood. Claims of fuel cell commercialization, in particular, were in the past (early 2000’s) overly optimistic. The safety concerns of hydrogen have also often been poorly understood or overblown. These situations have arisen, in part, due to a lack of appreciation for the science and data of hydrogen and hydrogen systems. Finally, there is substantial efforts for production of hydrogen via water splitting process including: electrolysis, photoelectrochemical, and thermochemical cycles. To accelerate the development of these technologies there is a need for standardized protocols for material and component testing.

This presentation will focus on the role of hydrogen at (grid-)scale and the efforts of a large team assembled to evaluate the potential of hydrogen to play a critical role in our energy future. Facts about hydrogen will be shared, as will the vision of how it will fit into our future energy system. Finally, the presentation will discuss a newly initiated effort for the development of standard test protocols for water splitting using high and low temperature electrolysis, photoelectrochemical, and thermochemical cycles.