Frontier Energy working with partners on renewable hydrogen project

Published on September 17, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

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Frontier Energy is working with research firm GTI and The University of Texas at Austin on a project designed to show that renewable hydrogen can be a cost-effective fuel for multiple uses, including fuel cell electric vehicles.

The project is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Demonstration and Framework for H2@Scale in Texas and Beyond. It is supported by DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

The project partners will generate zero-carbon hydrogen onsite through electrolysis with solar and wind power and reformation of renewable natural gas from a Texas landfill. It is the first time that both sources of renewable hydrogen will be used in one project. The hydrogen will power a stationary fuel cell to power for the Texas Advanced Computing Center and supply zero-emission fuel to fill a fleet of Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicles.

The team will assess available resources, prospective hydrogen users, and delivery infrastructure, such as existing pipelines that supply hydrogen to refineries. The study will examine policies, regulations, and economics so that industry can develop a plan to present to policymakers.

“H2@Scale in Texas and Beyond brings hydrogen industry leaders together with enthusiastic and important new participants to design, build, and operate the first dedicated renewable hydrogen network. It will demonstrate infrastructure safety and reliability in a real-world situation,” Nico Bouwkamp, Frontier Energy’s H2@Scale project manager, said. “The project will also leverage Texas’ extensive resources—wind power, solar energy, underground salt-dome storage formations, hydrogen pipelines, natural gas infrastructure, international port operations, and a large, concentrated industrial infrastructure—to demonstrate the potential of DOE’s H2@Scale initiative.”

The three-year project started on July 1. The partners have committed half of the funding for the $10.8 million project.

“Hydrogen can be an important link between renewables and existing energy infrastructure,” Ted Barnes, GTI R&D director, Energy Utilization, said. “The focus of H2@Scale is to enable affordable and reliable large-scale hydrogen generation, transport, storage, and utilization in the U.S. across multiple sectors, and this project will integrate a wide variety of new and existing technologies and identify innovative concepts to develop robust hydrogen solutions. GTI has decades of experience and a long-standing commitment to hydrogen research and technology development, and we are excited to be a part of this project focused on low-carbon energy and integrated energy networks.”