Plug Power spotlights competitive green hydrogen production

Plug Power spotlights competitive green hydrogen production

September 21, 2023 3 By Julie Campbell

The company will be producing Liquid H2 in Georgia this year, intended for the transportation sector.

Plug Power Inc has announced its intentions to start the production of liquid green hydrogen in Georgia before the end of this year. The fuel will be used by the transportation sector.

According to the company, it will begin by producing a daily 15 tons, which will increase to 30 tons.

The renewable energy used to power the green hydrogen production will be sourced at a local rural electric cooperative.

Plug Power has a number of other plants across the US and has a 1,200-ton daily production goal by 2030. This will play a key role in moving the tech forward and in reaching net-zero goals for 2050.

As clean energy prices keep falling due to the incentives in place for greenhouse gas emission reductions, producing H2 using methods powered by renewable energy is becoming increasingly affordable.

US Department of Energy Green Hydrogen

US Department of Energy

“We are committed to building out hydrogen networks in the United States and Europe,” said Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh in a recent Forbes interview. “We can generate green hydrogen out of the electrolyzer at $2 per kilogram — similar to grey hydrogen using natural gas. We have developed these products for a decade and are better positioned to know what it costs to build these things.”

US Department of Energy predictions show that green hydrogen will reach $1 per kilogram in 7 years.

The Department of Energy (DoE) forecast greatly credits the Inflation Reduction Act’s impact for reducing the price of green hydrogen in coming years. As a result, the H2 economy has the potential to substantially accelerate, reaching as much as 500 to 800 million tons in annual sales by 2050 and making up about 15 percent to 20 percent of the world’s energy demand. It currently stands at 115 million tons.

Gray and green hydrogen have about the same capital and operating costs, according to Plug Power. The current cost of grey H2 is based primarily on prices for natural gas and steam methane reforming. The cost of renewable H2 is mainly dependent on the price of clean energy and the capital for building a production plant.

The plant’s central component is an electrolyzer, which uses an electric current to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. According to Plug Power, steam methane reforming and an electrolyzer come with about the same price tag. However, electrolyzer tech is moving ahead and prices of renewable energy are falling. As a result, it predicts that prices will soon reach $1.50 per hydrogen production

Plug Power’s proof

“Those skeptical about green hydrogen do not look at the fundamental economics,” said Marsh in the interview. “Our existing projects are proof-positive.”hydrogen news ebook

The energy generated by solar panels and wind turbines, for instance, must either be immediately consumed or stored in a battery. This electricity is used to power an electrolyzer that splits water molecules. The H2 produced through this method is stored in a tank or cylinder. That can be stored or transported for use in a fuel cell, which uses the H2 to generate usable electricity once more.

The most common H2 production method at the moment is by far natural gas with unmitigated emissions. That grey hydrogen is often used in fertilizer production and petroleum refining. It can break heavier oils to produce lighter versions of petroleum or to produce plant food ammonia.

That said, Plug Power sees tremendous potential in green hydrogen for the transportation and electricity markets. Walmart and Amazon are both already using H2-poered forklifts, for instance. Moreover, Hyundai and Toyota are both pouring massive investments into green hydrogen cars.

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