DOE publishes Pathways to Commercial Lift Off for clean hydrogen

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has published a clean hydrogen paper as part of a series of Liftoff Reports aimed at accelerating the commercialisation of clean energy technologies.

The report considers the challenges needed to overcome the rapid scale-up of the hydrogen value chain, to 10 million MT per year of clean hydrogen by 2030 and 50 million MT per year by 2050 for domestic demand, across upstream, midstream and end-use sectors. The next three years will see ‘near term expansion’, followed by industrial scaling from 2027-2034.

Within upstream production, the report predominantly focuses on reformation-based production with carbon capture and storage (CCS) and water electrolysis via alkaline and proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers. Key takeaways are that there are multiple pathways exist to produce clean hydrogen with varying carbon intensity, cost, and maturity, including reformation with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and water electrolysis.

Within midstream distribution and storage, it considers conditioning, including gas-compression and liquefaction, storage, including salt cavern, compressed gas tank, and liquid hydrogen storage, and distribution, including dedicated pipelines, gas-phase trucking, liquid-hydrogen trucking, and fuel dispensing. Today, the US operates midstream infrastructure that distributes and stores hydrogen including 1,600 miles of dedicated hydrogen pipelines and three salt caverns for geologic storage.

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