Op-Ed: Hydrogen Revolution is Coming

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Peter Somssich

By Hydrogen Advocates of NH

T – Green Hydrogen (G-H2) will be key new player in our planet’s Clean Energy Future.

It was a great disappointment for us to hear that NH opted out of the New England H2 research hub application for funding.  This is a great time to explore the possibilities of using H2 energy.  With NH not part of the New England H2 research hub team, will MA or ME be chosen when the Gulf of Maine wind farm needs a mainland connection?  What else will New Hampshire miss out on?  Must our children, wanting to work in clean energy, leave our state for work?  We think Governor Sununu and the NH Department of Energy should rethink their decision to sit out the Federal H2 research hub planning initiative.  NH should find a way to participate in this forward-looking effort.  Hopefully the University of New Hampshire and other academics will be involved.

The Federal government initiative included funding of $3.6 billion to create 6 to 10 Clean H2 Research Hubs across the country to investigate the uses of H2 as an energy carrier.  Unlike the rare earth ingredients needed for lithium-ion batteries, H2 is abundant worldwide.  G-H2 can be produced and used in a variety of ways. Hard to decarbonize areas of the economy such as industrial use, railroad systems, the airline industry and large transport trucks currently cannot economically benefit from Li-ion battery systems.  They are too heavy and take too long to recharge. To transition from our current fossil fuel economy, we must look for new energy fuels and systems that are renewable (able to be used repeatedly), sustainable (easily produced and affordable in price) and clean (no greenhouse gas emissions, and without negative impacts to our environment). 

Currently federal and state subsidies have been directed towards EV vehicles, solar PV panels and wind turbines for electricity generation.  These are popular because we all are comfortable with using electricity daily.   However, electricity is only approx. 30% of our energy usage.  The other 70% includes industrial use (e.g., steel making), transportation and heating needs.  

The primary reason why G-H2 is such a good fuel is because it is very versatile.  G-H2 can be derived from water using renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. Worldwide, G-H2 generation has become much cheaper because of the lower cost of renewable energy, the lower cost of electrolysis to produce G-H2 and the increasing demand for G-H2.  Unlike batteries that discharge their stored energy in just a matter of hours, G-H2 is mobile and can be compressed as a gas or made into ammonia and stored indefinitely in already existing, safe facilities.  It packs enough punch to power hydrogen fuel cell cars, trucks, and trains.  It can even power ships and eventually replace natural gas to heat our homes and buildings.

European and Japanese firms have already developed the machinery to make G-H2 and use it.  If the US does not quickly get involved in G-H2, our country could be playing ‘catch-up’ over the next few decades.  Hybrid car technology was more quickly taken advantage of by Japan than the US. 

Germany is already operating H2 fueled commuter trains. Italy is already using large amounts for heating and industrial use.  Toyota is already supporting a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle fleet in California for the past 5 years. Toshiba has been operating the Fukushima H2 Energy Research Field for 3 years.  It’s powered by 1,620,000 square feet of solar panels that convert water into G-H2.  The G-H2 is compressed and stored to power fuel cells that go online automatically to quickly generate electricity and balance out the natural fluctuations of the local power grid resulting from solar and wind systems. More Info?, contact us at: peter.somssich@gmail.com . 

Let’s get NH on the Green H2 train, before it leaves the station.  

Hydrogen Advocates of NH

Kent Howard, Community Energy Activist, Author, Journalist

Peter Somssich, former State Representative/ Science Technology &Energy Committee                                          

34 Swett Ave.

Portsmouth, NH 03801      Tel. 603-436-5382

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