The flexible uses of hydrogen allow it to play a critical role to reach our decarbonization goals. Emerging applications of hydrogen include acting as a clean fuel blend, cleaner alternative reactant for manufacturing, and energy storage media for renewables to provide heat and electricity. We develop and enable strategies that supports the hydrogen economy in various aspects of its supply chain, including hydrogen production, transportation, storage, and utilization.
Conventional hydrogen production utilizes steam methane reforming, which can be carbon and energy intensive. To help shape hydrogen production towards a cleaner fashion, we use life cycle assessment to analyze and improve the sustainability of early-stage hydrogen production technologies (i.e., photoelectrochemical production), and guide the roadmap of hydrogen production from biomass resources.
- Life cycle assessment (LCA) of photoelectrochemical hydrogen production
- Roadmapping of hydrogen production from biomass
Hydrogen Storage and Transportation
After production, hydrogen needs to be stored and/or distributed to its end users. Efficient hydrogen storage methods can save up to 50% of its embedded energy depending on the application. We develop engineer models for hydrogen storage systems, and conduct techno-economics assessment to analyze their cost performances.
Hydrogen is commonly stored as compressed gas (up to 300 or 700 atmospheric pressure) or in its liquid form (more than 200 degrees C below room temperature). In recent years, various novel materials have been developed to reduce the storage pressure and cooling needed, as well as increasing amount of storage per volume. These efforts can help alleviate safety concerns from the public for compressed storage, reduce boil-off for liquified storage, and allow hydrogen to be transported more efficiently. We develop engineer models to understand how these novel hydrogen storage materials will perform at system levels (i.e., tuck trailers, refuel networks, and stationary backups), and develop techno-economics analysis (TEA) to understand their cost prospects.
- Techno-economic analysis (TEA) and engineering modeling of hydrogen storage systems
- Co-development of novel materials and systems for hydrogen storage
- TEA of hydrogen refueling networks
- TEA of bulk hydrogen transportation
A number of fuel cell systems have been demonstrated in the U.S. and around the world for using hydrogen to generate electricity for backup systems, grid support, etc. We perform market analysis and develop total cost of ownership models to aid the further deployment of fuel cell systems. We also use techno-economic and life cycle assessments (TEA and LCA) to explore the opportunities of using hydrogen to decarbonize iron and steelmaking, and for renewable electricity integration.
- Total cost of ownership of fuel cell systems using hydrogen
- Market analysis of fuel cell deployment
- TEA and LCA of hydrogen use in iron and steelmaking
- TEA of hydrogen for renewable electricity integration
Besides research and development of technologies, building a sustainable hydrogen economy require the support of proper policy incentives. Here, we develop and analyze various deep decarbonization pathways that include hydrogen. We also examine the socio-economics impacts of hydrogen deployment, such as job creation.
- Development and analysis of deep decarbonization pathways that include hydrogen
- Analysis of socio-economic impacts of hydrogen deployment including job creation