This is the text version of the video DOE Hydrogen Shot Strategy Discussion at the DOE Hydrogen Program 2022 Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting.
Eric Miller: All right. Good morning. I'm Eric Miller, senior advisor at the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office at DOE and it is my pleasure to host two exciting panels on our Hydrogen Shot activities and progress this morning. These panels feature a very impressive line up of experts and thought leaders from DOE as well as from our national labs and our industrial stakeholder partners. I want to first emphasize that these people are critical, and I want to thank them for joining us today. Our appreciation is boundless.
Let me continue with our first slide, our first set of panels. The point of our panels today will be to highlight that—the Hydrogen Shot's all-hands-on approach to achieving our targets. Our first panel will feature DOE thought leaders pictured here and they will cover key priorities in the Hydrogen Shot including the electrolysis pathways, the thermal conversion pathways, advanced pathways, as well as EEEJ, Environmental Equity and Environmental Justice, Energy Equity and Environmental Justice. These are all key priorities of the Hydrogen Shot. I will be starting out with a quick introduction. I'll let them introduce themselves as the panel commences. But let us get moving because we've got a lot to cover.
The Hydrogen Shot. All right, "1-1-1." Last year, last June when the Hydrogen Shot was launched by our energy secretary, we put forward this ambitious but achievable goal of 1-1-1, which you know stands for $1.00 for one kilogram of clean hydrogen in one decade. Again this is an exciting time for hydrogen. We all know that. But we do also have to be careful to avoid any hype associated with this. We have got to get down to business and with the Hydrogen Shot we are buckling down with the extremely capable and motivated people that we have as well as the unique resources that are available to us now to achieve this goal. And we are very confident that with this structure and with these people we've got the pieces in place to actually achieve the 1-1-1 goal.
I just want to mention that those of you—I believe many of the people on this call, on this AMR, have been involved with hydrogen for a long time and were a part of the Hydrogen Shot summit last August. We did during that summit poll stakeholders for what some of the key priorities are and how do we overcome barriers, what are the barriers we need to address? We got very important, very useful information from the stakeholders at that time but as you've heard over the past, over yesterday we've held numerous workshops and RFIs and listening sessions to continue to grow our knowledge base and our stakeholder engagements over the course of this past year. The point I want to make is that we are listening to all of this and I encourage all of you online today to continue to add comments and suggestions into the Q&A. During the course of these two panels we will be taking all of this into account as we structure our framework for the Hydrogen Shot as well as the directions and priorities moving forward.
All right. You've seen this before. Again the point of this slide is to emphasize that there are multiple ways we can get to the Hydrogen Shot goal that would leverage not only diverse technology pathways but also diverse domestic natural resources. The point is that by doing this we can achieve all this impact on these different end uses really to achieve the national clean energy priorities that are also ambitious but achievable. Again Hydrogen Shot has been identified as a key pillar in achieving national clean hydrogen goals for the next 2035 to 2050 timeframe as well. If we could do this, the Hydrogen Shot within the one decade, that really is a key enabler that needs to happen up front for all of this to take place. And all of the pathways that we've been looking at have a role. We really have to leverage everything. Everything we've learned to date but everything we continue to learn through this program, through programmatic efforts under Hydrogen Shot. Three of the pillars I've mentioned, I've shown here really talk to this point. If we look at the electrolysis side on the left we know that we have to build up capacity through advancing technologies. We need to achieve cost reductions and to achieve scale to really start impacting the ten million metric tons plus in the United States, and growing, that we're going to be needing for clean hydrogen over the next 30 to 50 years. Again you saw some projections on how that ten million metric tons could go quite significantly higher in the future, and we need to start building technologies and infrastructure that can make an impact at those scales.
And not only do we have to develop the electrolyzer technologies themselves, we have to look at, make sure we're coupling them with clean energy sources. There's an enormous opportunity to develop those and to develop those rapidly. At the same time we need to start decarbonizing the energy sector through what we're doing already with hydrogen, those ten million metric tons, which have traditionally been reformed from methane reforming of natural gas. We need to start reducing the emissions there as well by innovations and coupling those thermal conversion technologies to the different carbon capture opportunities. And we need to do that to maintain infrastructure and build infrastructure for the whole ecosystem, the network of clean energy of the future. Again at the same time we're looking at advanced pathways that have the potential to be breakthroughs in terms of conversion efficiency or production efficiency. These are longer-term pathways but they're also offering us important scientific knowledge as we develop them in parallel with the other areas.
And this does require an all-hands-on-deck from the DOE. We've heard this before. Sunita mentioned it and I think everyone has mentioned this to some extent in their plenaries. I do encourage everyone to go to the Hydrogen Program Plan at the link above. The key thing is here we're covering everything from the fundamental materials and components, scientific understanding of degradation mechanisms, all the way through integration, systems, up through deployment, and DOE has all the tools to do that through this program. And please I encourage everyone to review our documentation on the program and keep up to date with all our websites on what's happening in this field.
And I just have two more, one or two more slides I want to talk to. This is a unique opportunity in terms of this RDD&D cycle that Sunita had talked about yesterday looking all the way from the basic all the way through applied research. But the key thing is we need to be learning from each other. This is not a sequential set of events. This has to happen together. We need to be learning from each other at each scale as we're doing this. And this is what the cycle is all about, continual learning, continual feedback, continuing on the most promising pathways and having to potentially leave behind things that are not working. These are all very important aspects of getting there in the timeframe we're talking about. And we're fortunate to have this structure that we can implement such a plan using not only the core programs at DOE but also the BIL provisions 815, 816, and 813 going—that are addressing everything through the TRL scale. We just have to make sure that we're—well we are making sure that we're coordinating this in a way that really impacts the progress moving forward all the way from the more foundational applied research, as I said in materials and components, and then up to integration, then through systems and systems integration, all the way through deployment, and all the lessons learned have to keep feeding back to prioritize, to move forward in the right priorities.
And that's really the point of this slide. Like I say we've got people. We've got the unique resources at our disposal. We need to be diligent and to make sure we're doing this in a really aggressively good and comprehensive way that's really based on taking all this feedback, making sure we're looking at all the materials, the component integration, integrated systems, and we're learning from each other and we're also feeding back. And we're developing this through targets, refining targets, measuring progress against targets, looking at that, then prioritizing our portfolio. This is a really exciting time. These are standard DOE practices that we're now applying to this important mission of the Hydrogen Shot.
And with that I'll just say the past year has been quite, quite busy. You heard a lot about this yesterday at the plenaries as well. After the kickoff, the Hydrogen Shot launch back in, well actually the announcement back in June, we've had the summit. We've had multiple—multiple RFIs, stakeholder engagements, workshops all shown here. We did even just yesterday we heard the announcement of the H2 incubator project, which was quite exciting, and the NOI that's going out for the funding opportunities. Moving forward there's just a lot on our plate to implement that structure I showed on the previous slides to make sure we're moving forward and we're doing it in an effective and efficient way.
And with that my summary is that we've got a unique opportunity here to leverage not only our Hydrogen Program, core experts but as well as what we've got now through the BIL provisions and clean hydrogen. And we need to make this happen and it's our time to do it and we are ready to move. And with that I'm going to introduce out first panelist, Dave Peterson, who is an expert in electrolysis at DOE and I'll let him introduce himself and take it from there.
Dave Peterson: Ok. Thank you Eric. So I'm Dave Peterson, the technology manager within the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office. Next slide. So as a way to introduce electrolyzer technologies the figure on the left here shows a basic schematic of a water electrolysis cell configuration in which water and electricity are inputs and hydrogen and oxygen are generated in separate chambers that are separated by an ionic conducting membrane or separator. And electrolyzer technologies are commonly differentiated or classified by both their operating temperature as well as the ionic species which is conducted through this electrolyzer membrane. As seen in the figure on the right there are five common electrolyzer technologies. These are both low-temperature electrolyzers and high-temperature electrolyzers. And the two technologies displayed on the left of this figure conduct protons while the three on the right conduct either hydroxide ions for the low-temperature case or oxide ions for high-temperature electrolyzers. Next slide.
So this slide provides a high-level overview of these five electrolyzer technologies' commercialization status, advantages, and development needs. The first three listed are in varying stages of commercialization to date but will still need additional innovations to be able to meet the Hydrogen Shot $1.00 per kilogram clean hydrogen cost target. Liquid alkaline electrolyzer technology is the most commercially mature with a hundred-year commercialization history and systems in excess of 100 megawatts demonstrated. It uses low-cost materials and it's demonstrated really long lifetimes. However today they typically have lower performance than the other electrolyzers and have limited dynamic operation capabilities. The proton exchange membrane electrolyzers are commercially available today and there have been demos in the tens of megawatts and larger and been multiple announcements of gigawatt-per-year manufacturing facilities. These show high performance and very good dynamic operation capability, which really is critical for close integration with intermittent renewable energy sources for its clean electricity source. However there is a need to decrease cost, especially with respect to its reliance on PGM content.
The oxide-conducting SOEC is nearing commercial product status today with demos in the hundreds of kilowatts and announcements of manufacturing facilities. The high operating of this technology enables very efficient operation and the use of thermal energy sources with nuclear reactor integration being a leading opportunity for its clean electricity source. However, the lifetime still does need to be improved. There are also two lower-TRL electrolyzer technologies showing promise. The alkaline exchange membrane LTE technology is really the best aspects of both the LA and PEM technologies as it can use low-cost materials and also has potential for high performance and dynamic operation capabilities. So lifetime improvements are needed.
And finally for the proton-conducting SOEC, it has similar advantages to the O-SOEC given the high operating temperature, but they do operate at lower temperatures than O-SOECs, which allows for use of lower cost materials and expanded thermal integration options. Though lifetime and Faradaic efficiency improvements are needed.
So in summary there are a number of different electrolyzer types, all of which have promise to get us to the Hydrogen Shot target of $1.00 per kilogram of clean hydrogen but also require additional technology innovations to be able to get us there. And with that let me pass it on to our next panelist, McKenzie.
McKenzie Hubert: Great. Thank you Dave. My name is McKenzie Hubert and I'm an ORISE fellow in the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office or HFTO. You can go to the next slide please. HFTO and the H2NEW consortium are performing techno-economic and system analyses to determine possible pathways for electrolyzer technologies to achieve the Hydrogen Shot target of $1.00 per kilogram of clean hydrogen produced by 2031. So here on this slide we're highlighting just one potential pathway for PEM electrolyzers specifically. Though there are many pathways to achieve the Hydrogen Shot, and we are conducting similar analyses for the other electrolyzer technologies that Dave described on the previous slide. In general there are a number of key factors to reduce the cost of hydrogen from electrolyzers. Here we're showing the impact of improved lifetime, high volume manufacturing, and lower capital cost in the blue arrows, and the impact of higher electrical efficiency and the availability of low cost clean electricity in green. In order to achieve these cost reductions, we've really boiled down the development needs into three categories, if Eric can go next.
The first being technology advancements or new materials and designs that enable capital cost reductions and performance improvements. The second, enabling domestic manufacturing with high volume processes that lead to economies of scale and reduce capital costs. And the third being demonstrations, especially those that directly couple electrolyzers with clean electricity sources. So a key takeaway from this slide is that achieving economies of scale alone will not meet the Hydrogen Shot cost target. We also need to develop advanced technologies and integrated systems. Next slide please.
So HFTO is in the process of developing targets for 2026 and 2031 for the factors that we described on the previous slide. So shown here are targets developed in general for low-temperature electrolyzers, though we are developing targets for high-temperature electrolyzers as well. And the values shown here in this table correspond to the waterfall plot shown on the previous slide. So these targets have been informed by previous studies to understand capital cost contributors in electrolyzer systems and we recognize the need to not only reduce the cost of the stack but also the balance of plant components. Additionally we have ongoing analysis to understand what range of electricity price and capacity factor can achieve $1.00 per kilogram in 2031, which is shown in the lower right hand corner. So as technology improves over the next decade as you move from left to right across those plots in the lower right this will open up greater opportunities for clean energy integration as shown by the growing purple region on those plots. And now I will pass it on to my colleague Paul.
Paul Syers: Thank you. So yeah. I'll provide just a high-level overview of some of the manufacturing and supply chain aspects for the coming years in trying to reach the 1-1-1 goal. Next slide please. So just to start with a shoutout to a really, really great report upon which this information sort of draws. There's a lot of really, really useful information in this very detailed report titled "Water Electrolyzers and Fuel Cells Supply Chain" released earlier this year. It's got a lot of detailed information, further detailed information beyond what is in just these slides. So yeah. Just at a very high level the numbers paint a very clear picture that the electrolyzer, the clean hydrogen supply chain, is really going to need to grow significantly to meet the need that is predicted going from just around 10 million metric tons per year in the U.S. to over 100 by 2050 and over 500 globally, where it's only about 65 to 100 million metric tons per year globally. So that's a 10x increase between now and 2050. And, on top of that, that's the overall market for hydrogen.
If we want to convert—if we want to transition to clean hydrogen, we—then the estimates are that the manufacturing base would need to be able to manufacture, to have the capacity for 300 gigawatts per year of fuel cells and over 1,000 gigawatts per year of electrolyzers. Another additional note is that right now almost all of the hydrogen produced is not from electrolytic sources but from steam methane reforming. And then also just a high level, another note about the report. It broke down the hydrogen supply chain into the—into the different categories that you see on the right, raw materials which are then processed and then formed into these subcomponents which are then added, combined together, integrated together into the system before being sent to end uses. And it also incorporated end of life recycling and reuse; circularity being a key aspect for transforming supply chains in the future. Next slide please.
So another thing that the report noted is that one key, one aspect that should not be forgotten is in order to increase the manufacturing capacity all of this builds on having access to, having access and availability of materials that go into the components. And many of the materials going into these electrolyzer technologies are heavily imported. Additionally a good number of the materials are already noted by the administration on the critical materials, list of critical materials, meaning that ensuring their supply will be very important for the future. Some high-level takeaways from the report in terms of vulnerabilities that we see moving forward, vulnerabilities in attempting to very rapidly grow the manufacturing base for electrolyzer technologies, as well as opportunities. As everyone knows currently electrolytic production and utilization technologies are not very cost competitive, hence the great 1-1-1 goal.
And of course so there's significant opportunity to reduce production costs including increasing the commercialization of these emerging technologies. And one opportunity would be to identify and develop a very competitive application, a really, really high sought after, high demand application specifically for electrolytic hydrogen and fuel cell production. Additionally in order to accelerate the adoption more, and more up to date codes and standards is a significant opportunity. Also if you look at it on the hydrogen, on the electrolytic production side that has a huge electricity demand. And it was recognized in the report that the current electric grid is not, does not have the capacity that would meet that demand. So expansion of the electric grid capacity is also noted as an opportunity. And then also currently electrolyzers being used to capture excess energy from the grid when needed, it was noted in the report that while that is an existing use case they are not fully utilized. They are not fully valued for that process. And so that is a vulnerability that—a vulnerability noted.
And then additionally some vulnerabilities as well as opportunities on the infrastructure side. Bulk hydrogen storage as well as transportation technologies could use improvement, and there is the existing natural gas infrastructure that could be utilized as the supply of hydrogen grows. And then on workforce aspects, significantly growing the production of hydrogen electrolysis and fuel cell technologies means that we will need people trained in those manufacturing, in those technologies and those manufacturing processes. So we will definitely need to increase workforce training opportunities and capabilities and it's an opportunity for us to lead on environmental—energy and environmental justice issues. And then finally there is the possibility in order to link a demand to help incentivize the gross, the growth. The report noted that possibility exporting hydrogen to access the global market could also spur an increased demand. And next slide please. And then I will now pass it over to my colleague Jian Fu.
Jian Fu: Hi. Good morning everyone. I'm Jian Fu from Wind Energy Technologies Office. I manage the system integration program there. Next slide please. In wind office we believe wind will play an essential role in the decarbonized grid by 2035 and the decarbonized economy by 2050. While we continue the RDD&D to further reduce cost of wind and mitigate environmental and grid integration barriers, wind to hydrogen opens up a new opportunity for wind deployment. Wind can contribute to Hydrogen Shot's 1-1-1 goal by reducing the cost of electricity directly. Further cost reduction can be achieved by fully integrated wind and hydrogen systems. So our wind to hydrogen strategy can be distilled into this goal to develop an optimized, cost-competitive, scalable, modular, and fully integrated wind to hydrogen systems. So the strategy can be further broken down into three pieces.
The first one is from the generation side. Hybrid generation resources can be a combination of wind plus solar, wind plus storage, or solar plus storage, and a combination of all three and more. The optimal component design could improve the specially designed wind turbine for hydrogen production, the sizing of wind solar panel storage capacity relative to the sizing of electrolyzer. The design should also consider hydrogen demand profile and local weather pattern for renewable generation. We also believe cost can be further reduced by shared components and balancing of systems and shared controls. Early analysis found that overbuilt electrolyzers can enable full and dedicated electricity utilization and reduce or even eliminate curtailment losses.
The second piece is the optimized hydrogen production. To reduce the cost of hydrogen storage and delivery we envision hydrogen production is best to be near collocated to the end use application and to ensure continuous real time hydrogen production and consumption. While wind-to-hydrogen integrated systems have various configurations, grid connected systems offer the flexibility to buy from and sell power or grid services to the local utility. Non-grid connected configuration can eliminate the needs for grid interconnection and the incurred transmission cost.
The last critical piece is the end use application of clean hydrogen. There are just many end use industries where hydrogen can be used to produce steel, cement, ammonia, and other chemical products. Hydrogen can also be part of the renewable fuel mix for transportation. So our philosophy, if we could modularize this design of integrated system from wind to hydrogen to industrial application it not only reduces the cost of individual modules, but system can be easily scalable for broad industry adoption while achieving cost competitiveness without subsidy. So next slide please. With that let me turn it to Jason from the nuclear office.
Jason Marcinkoski: Thank you Jian. This is Jason Marcinkoski. I'm a program manager in the Nuclear Energy Office. In the panel yesterday I covered some of the benefits and advances in nuclear energy and reviewed our nuclear hydrogen production demonstration project. So please go back to that recording if you missed it to fill in those gaps. The vision for nuclear plant operation and generation is two-fold. First we want to expand the role of clean nuclear energy beyond the grid, and secondly we want to provide flexible generation capacity for the grid. Going to dive deeper into nuclear integrated energy system shown conceptually in this figure. The reactor, whether an advanced reactor, a micro reactor, or part of the current fleet, is isolated and supplies heat to the rest of the system. Thermal energy storage technology is an option pioneered by the concentrating solar industry, and applied to nuclear plants it allows large quantities of thermal energy to be stored for generation of electricity at peak demand. And heat can be supplied continuously for baseload electricity generation, for industrial processes, or for boiling water and raising the temperature of steam for high-temperature electrolysis. Some or even all of the electricity generation could be used for hydrogen production directly from the switch yard before transmission to the grid. The hydrogen can be prepared for distribution or go into another industrial process to make, for example, synthetic fuels, lubricants, or polymers.
Electrolysis system can also reduce its load, allowing power to be diverted to help balance variable renewable generation or high power demand on the grid. So hydrogen allows nuclear plants to not only provide clean, reliable power but also flexible generation capacity for the grid. And hydrogen helps us expand nuclear power beyond the grid. Nuclear plants can provide a key role of the Hydrogen Earthshot. The cost, reliability, and especially the high capacity factor for nuclear power plants are very advantageous for reducing the overall cost of clean hydrogen. While electrolyzer capital costs are reduced our program addresses electrical, thermal, controls integration, probabilistic risk assessments, operations and human factors, and regulatory processes. Aside from directly using nuclear generated heat and electricity for electrical and thermal applications, integrated nuclear energy systems can provide hydrogen as an abundant nuclear energy carrier for a variety of applications. Thank you and I'd like to pass the mic over to Eva.
Eva Rodezno: Thanks Jason. Good morning everyone. I'm Eva Rodezno from the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. Next slide please. So thermal conversion pathways involve taking some kind of hydrocarbon feedstock like natural gas, coal, biomass and turning it into hydrogen and some kind of carbon product. Often that carbon product is carbon dioxide but in some methods it's solid carbon. You'll see on the table on the left here the top five most established thermal conversion processes. All of these pathways have achieved commercial scale but what has not achieved commercial scale is the combination of some of these pathways with high levels of carbon capture and storage to create clean hydrogen, except for the case of pyrolysis which doesn't need it because it just creates solid carbon. The graph on the right here shows the relative cost of several fossil pathways, both with and without carbon capture and storage, and I should note that in this analysis we used the natural gas cost of $4.40 per million Btu.
And what you'll see here is if we can get natural gas prices to around that same range again, thermal conversion pathways represent some of the quickest opportunities to reach the Hydrogen Shot as they are currently one of, if not the lowest cost options for clean hydrogen. And DOE has been able to identify ways to get those costs even lower and more to come on that on the next slide. As someone mentioned yesterday some of these processes have been established in our economy for decades. We make about ten million metric tons of hydrogen from steam methane reforming every year and gasification is over a century old. But now the challenge as part of the DOE Hydrogen Shot goal is to lower the cost of these processes and make them less carbon intensive. If they're going to play a role in the clean hydrogen economy then they've got to lower their carbon footprints and become less expensive. Next slide please.
A couple of facts popped out at us when examining these costs of thermal conversion routes to hydrogen. The first is that some of these pathways don't really need much in the way of R&D to achieve the Hydrogen Shot goal partly because they were already close to the target cost. There are several non-R&D opportunities that if exercised would result in cost reductions for these existing commercial processes like plant scaling, siting the plant in areas that have low-cost natural gas, and selling byproducts. But there's always opportunities for R&D to lower the costs even further. There's a couple that surface pretty quickly when looking at existing processes, like if the reforming and gasification routes could be greatly intensified it would reduce capital expenditures, which is one of the biggest costs right now. Right now there's just too many steps required, which is driving up capital costs.
But at the same time we've started to see companies come up with ideas and technologies to intensify these processes, which is great. We need more of those. Advanced catalysts could lower system energy requirements and thus the carbon footprint required for powering these processes. The CO2 sorbents for the purification steps could be improved upon, and all of these would help bring down the cost of fossil-based hydrogen, and that's something that academia, government and industry can all work together on to help achieve the Hydrogen Shot. Next slide please. So now I'll hand it over to Will Gibbons from EERE to tell you more about integrated thermal systems and hydrogen.
William Gibbons: Thank you Eva. My name is Will Gibbons. I'm a technology manager within Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office and I support both the fuel cell and hydrogen production teams. Today I'll be touching on some of the flexible feedstock options and approaches. It's worth mentioning that these types of approaches can offer outside benefits under certain conditions, and they lean heavily on expertise across offices. This makes interoffice collaboration exciting, engaging, and essential to the 1-1-1 goal progress. Next slide please Eric.
Ok. So to get started, gasification coupled with carbon capture is a versatile approach offering many control variables. These may be optimized to achieve the Hydrogen Shot targets. Gasification process converts organic or fossil-based carbonaceous materials to hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and/or value-added coproducts, and this happens via careful combination with oxygen or steam. The same gas produced via gasification may be routed to a downstream synthesis reactor or water gas shifted to maximize hydrogen yield. Feedstocks such as biomass plastics from municipal solid waste can be fed in varying ratios to balance the yield of hydrogen or other products. And in some cases low or even negative carbon intensities are achievable. And this flexibility allows regional resources to be leveraged and small or modular systems can be built to enable distributed operation. So research needs include feedstock pretreatment, contaminant capture and mitigation, optimization of feedstock blends, and optimization of polygeneration outputs, and also the adaptation of existing carbon capture systems to the new system architectures. Next slide please.
So a number of integrated systems are of interest that may help us to advance the Hydrogen Shot goals, and these advances could come through a number of routes, but primarily they come through reducing or eliminating process steps and thus lowering capital costs. Or, another avenue is to produce valuable coproducts and thus offset the cost of the produced hydrogen. And there are a number of ways to do this, but the systems typically involve tightly coupled thermal, chemical, and electrochemical components such as fuel cells, electrolyzers—fuel cells, turbines, electrolyzers, reformers, or membrane reactors. And these integrated systems tend to combine several process steps to yield intimate thermal and chemical coupling that will improve thermal efficiency or reduce the need for separations equipment. And an additional added benefit is that careful control of the reaction environment is often possible via relatively simple control of electrical current. So generalized concept in the lower left of the slide is depicted from a recent Idaho National Lab review. And it uses a solid oxide cell that either has an oxide-ion-conducting electrolyte or a proton-conducting electrolyte. And through this selection of cell type stack architecture, careful tuning of inputs, and control over the applied or realized current, a range of products are possible.
Process feedstocks can include natural gas, steam, and carbon dioxide. And then products are a wide range but typically involve hydrogen, higher hydrocarbons, methanol, other commodity chemicals, and electricity. So the unique architectures and highly tunable processes of these integrated systems allow the user to convert a range of inputs into a range of products maximizing the return on investment and helping the team progress toward the Hydrogen Shot goal. Research needs include analysis of these novel configurations, component advances to improve durability—durability, efficiency and cost—and system level optimization and methods for real time process tuning to facilitate the highest and best use of variable renewable inputs. And with that I'd like to thank you and pass the baton to Jack from ARPA-E where he will discuss methane pyrolysis. Take it away Jack.
Jack Lewnard: Thanks Will. I'd like to pick up on where Eva and Will kind of left off. Eva introduced the notion of thermal conversions and Will talked about gasification and Eva specifically discussed steam methane reforming. There's a third leg of thermal conversion, methane pyrolysis, and I'd like to talk about some of the work that ARPA-E is doing in this area. Next slide please.
So methane pyrolysis is basically cracking methane. And there's a wide variety of techniques to crack methane. You take the CH4 molecule and you break it into its constituent parts. You get two hydrogens, which have about a quarter of the weight but half the energy. And then unlike the other processes mentioned that produce gaseous CO2, this produces solid carbon, and that solid carbon is interesting because it itself can be quite a valuable product, and it better be a valuable product because you make three times as much of it. So if you remember the opening comments from Eric where we were talking about millions of tons of hydrogen, we're talking about three times that much carbon that we need to deal with. With methane pyrolysis there's thermal techniques that don't require catalysts and if you use a catalyst you can reduce the temperature, which makes the system in some ways more energy efficient. There's also options to use other techniques. So for example our next speaker from the Loan Programs Office may be tempted to talk about Monolith, which has received a billion dollar loan program guarantee for their pyrolysis technique that is based on using basically an electrical technique that's different than just straight up heating. So maybe I'll say a few words in the next slide about the processes that we're looking at at ARPA-E.
On the next slide we are funding eight teams, so we're looking across the entire value chain, so we have teams that are really focused on producing hydrogen and they're using a variety of techniques. In one case a nickel nickel chloride couple, molten zinc, molten salt. And then we have the Nanocomp Corporation that is using a catalytic technique, as is Rice, where they're focused more on producing high-quality carbon as opposed to just bulk producing hydrogen. They do coproduce hydrogen but there the goal is to produce a high-quality carbon. The Stanford team is sort of in between, hoping to sell both the carbon and hydrogen. Because we make so much carbon, we have to find a use for it, so we actually funded two teams. One group at Johns Hopkins that can take relatively low-quality carbons—these are, some of these processes produce materials which are rather amorphous and hence lower value. Some of them like the Rice people hope to produce carbon nanotubes, which are worth a lot of money. And what the Johns Hopkins team is doing is demonstrating a Joule heating technique that can upgrade the lower-grade carbons into higher-quality materials which would fetch a higher price. And finally, we have a group called Carbon House that we're funding that's trying to develop applications for all this carbon we're going to be making.
So maybe I can share some observations from what we've learned so far on the next slide. When we look at the hydrogen-centric processes it appears they could be competitive with steam methane reforming and, which also uses natural gas as a feedstock, and with PEM or alkaline electrolysis. But in order to be competitive it appears that we're going to need to find markets that can support about a 50 cent to $1.00 a kilogram carbon price. If we can get higher price for the carbon then actually, then these processes actually look quite favorable compared to SMR with CCS or with electrolyzers. But of course the caveat here is that we require very large carbon markets. When you look at where you could potentially put millions of tons of carbon you're talking construction materials and maybe asphalt, possibly as soil amendments, or just straight up sequestration, which you have to rely on some kind of carbon credit then to make that viable. What's interesting is because these processes all use renewable electricity, they are less sensitive to natural gas prices than SMR.
And what's interesting is, even though they do use natural gas, because they are electrically heated, they can remain competitive with electrolysis in an all-electric future when we look at sensitivity to electricity prices. With the carbon-centric processes it's really a very different story. These are usually targeting smaller volumes of carbon production because they're chasing higher-value markets. In this case the hydrogen coproduct is essentially free. But most likely it would be used captively as fuel rather than renewable electricity to heat the systems. So one of the things that we're trying to push for these smaller carbon-centric processes is ensuring that the hydrogen could be recovered economically compared to just using it captively inside the system. So I want to leave you with the impression that pyrolysis is an emerging area. ARPA-E is funding some, I would say edgier technologies. But I'll turn it over next to Jonah, and the Loan Programs Office is actually funding a process that's been in development for over 20 years now. Jonah with that turn it over to you. Thanks.
Jonah Wagner: Thanks so much Jack. My name is Jonah Wagner. I'm a senior consultant to the director of the Loan Programs Office and also currently dual hatted supporting the build out of the new Office of Clean Energy Demonstration. For context the Loan Programs Office is the deployment arm of the Department of Energy and operates as a bridge to bankability for emerging clean energy technologies like clean hydrogen. To achieve our energy transition goals in the United States the hydrogen industry is going to need to scale on the order of 10x what it is today by 2050 while fully transitioning to low carbon hydrogen from the 99% high carbon intensity hydrogen market we have today. And this is going to require on the order of hundreds of billions of dollars in capital deployment, and it's going to create enormous wealth and deployment—employment opportunities domestically. If we can go to the next slide.
Achieving this however is going to require overcoming a number of key barriers to scale. All of which I believe have been mentioned earlier. We know that clean hydrogen today has substantially higher unit costs for production, although just to flag in the past two weeks the Port of Corpus Christi in Texas saw the cost of grey hydrogen exceed the cost of renewable-produced hydrogen due to the current spike in natural gas prices. Longer term, however, as manufacturing scales the cost of production will come down but securing contracted offtake at a premium that is required today remains a challenge for low-carbon hydrogen producers. In addition we know that hydrogen is an illiquid market today in large part due to the high transportation and storage costs from limited common infrastructure. And we know that the hydrogen ecosystem struggles to access commercial debt largely due to these technology and bankability risks. The approach that we're taking at DOE informing and scaling hydrogen hubs takes direct aim at these barriers creating regional ecosystems that hydrogen businesses can plug into for reliable offtake, common infrastructure, and ultimately access to debt. You can go to the next slide.
LPO is directly engaging with leading companies and investors across the clean hydrogen ecosystem from producers and developers to off takers. We are beginning to see an emerging set of bankable business models listed on the left and have received applications for billions of dollars in loans to help these business models get off the ground. And as Jack mentioned last year we made a conditional commitment to Monolith Materials for their methane pyrolysis facility in Hallam, Nebraska. The facility uses DOE lab-funded technologies to transform natural gas into green ammonia and carbon black, and the carbon black as an offtake in particular is very exciting as an input into the tire market. It's extremely dirty business today, and Monolith's approach reduces emissions of that process by about 97%. We also just closed our first loan in almost a decade in the last three days for the Magnum ACES project, and this project will create the world's largest hydrogen seasonal storage facility for use in power generation in order to balance intermittent renewables and improve transmission utilization. For these projects and for others the goal for us is to accelerate the path to bankability of these technologies so that we can deploy them at the scale we need to achieve this administration's ambitious climate jobs and equity goals. And with that I'm going to hand it over to Avi.
Avi Shultz: Thanks Jonah. I'm Avi Shultz. I'm the program manager for concentrated solar thermal power in the Solar Office in EERE. Concentrating solar thermal power, if you go to the next slide, is something we've been of course working for a while as a commercial technology, about seven gigawatts deployed worldwide, primarily for power production, electricity production. What we've been really looking at closely in our program is what are the opportunities to generate renewable heat using concentrated solar thermal power. Rather than delivering that heat to a turbine and generating electricity, can we deliver that to industrial processes including processes that produce fuel and hydrogen in particular. And as Jason talked about a little bit one of the things that we really are able to exploit with CSP is the incorporation of thermal energy storage to decouple the collection of renewable solar energy from dispatch or delivery of that energy to the application. And so we really see solar thermal, concentrating solar thermal power as a mechanism to provide high-capacity-factor renewable heat on demand for an application.
So we have a number of projects that we are looking at in our portfolio to understand what are the optimal ways in which we can design systems and commercialize systems that both generate hydrogen and then can utilize hydrogen in thermal systems to develop commercially relevant fuels. And so just a few examples are shown on this slide. We've done a bit of work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL, to really understand the detail—the strategic benefit of collocating CSP systems, particularly with high temperature steam electrolysis systems, so a little bit similar to what you heard about previously with what INL for example is looking at for nuclear systems. It looks like there are significant opportunities if we can achieve certain cost targets to use CSP and high-temperature systems rather than simply renewable electricity and low-temperature electrolysis systems.
Similarly we're looking at a number of opportunities to again, as mentioned before, to essentially collocate thermal electrochemical systems potentially in really novel system designs. So Sandia National Laboratories up at the top of this slide is an example of a system that we're looking at using novel—in this case liquid metal mediated cycles to significantly improve the efficiency of water splitting cycles relative to existing electrolysis systems.
Finally the last, just example I had here on this slide is a brand new award we're just in the process of finalizing with Dimensional Energy, which is more on the utilization side. So this example is looking at a solar thermal heated reverse water gas shift reaction to say, well, once we utilized hydrogen—once we generated renewable hydrogen, how can we utilize that to feed that into the fuel supply chain in a renewable way. And again we see a really big advantage of using renewable heat like CSP to be able to decarbonize the entire supply chain of generating hydrogen and then utilizing hydrogen in fuel generation. And that's all I've got for now but I'm happy to answer any questions. And for now, happy to turn it over to James.
James Vickers: Thanks Avi. Yeah. I'm James Vickers. I'm a technology manager in the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office. And I'll be talking about our advanced pathways. Next slide please. So while we call these the advanced pathways they are the lowest-TRL options for hydrogen production that are supported by our office. So these comprise photoelectrochemical water splitting, in which a panel not so dissimilar from a PV system is able to harvest light. However, it is in contact with an electrolyte, or water, and is able to split that water directly using only the energy from the solar. And then there's also the solar thermochemical water splitting which we call STCH, S-T-C-H. This a hybrid cycle, or cycle of metal oxide materials that undergo a redox cycle in concentrated solar sunlight. So this is most applicable in the southwest where we have a high concentration, or a high availability of solar resources for concentration. And then we also look at a lot of biological pathways including fermentation with microbial electrolysis. This is great because we're able to use waste systems, so water systems that are not clean or usable but are full of good nutrients that could be able to produce hydrogen if incorporated with one of these MEA systems.
For each of these systems we have looked at what it would take to get to something that would be able to get hydrogen at a lower cost or at a cost reasonable to be competitive with other technologies. And significant breakthroughs are required in both materials performance and durability for each of these systems. However, they do offer some promise in that, as we heard with some of the electrolysis systems which are really dependent on electricity costs, something we have no control over, these are decoupled from electricity and are able to be produced using only sunlight and water in the case of PEC and STCH and then in the presence of waste streams, which are probably not going anywhere any time soon, to make hydrogen in that case. Next slide please.
So just to mention that there are lots of organizations, and DOE has a strong history in developing technologies for these areas. Just showing a couple of examples, one from JCAP, the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, in PEC water splitting production. And then there's a photobiological system, which I believe we'll hear about a little bit more in the next session. What's important here is that the PEC and STCH and photobiological and fermentation systems they offer efficient and direct conversions for clean energy sources into solar fuel. So this is a production of solar fuels with these technologies. There is a potential for breakthrough levels of solar hydrogen production if we get high conversion efficiencies and high stability of materials. But that's going to require a lot of new development and breakthroughs in material systems. And then the other good thing is that we have a lot of partners with universities working on these lower-TRL systems, which is really helping us train the next generation of hydrogen scientists and researchers in the field. Great. And now I'll turn it over to Viviane Schwartz at the Office of Science. Please take it away Viviane.
Viviane Schwartz: Thanks James. Good morning everyone. My name is Viviane Schwartz. I am a program manager at Basic Energy Science within the Office of Science and I'm here to talk about some of the tools that enable innovative science and discovery such as the ones that you have seen in many of these slides and many of the activities that you have seen on this section. So next slide please.
So among those tools, for instance, the data resources that are being supported by DOE and the Office of Science is foundational for achieving some of these advances on science. And Materials Project is a good example of one of those data resources and have been utilized for identifying and evaluation of new photo- and electro-photo catalysts used for water splitting. Advanced experimental tools offered by our user facilities is also instrumental for advancing science. And the examples on the right illustrate some of those applications, and especially to look at the molecular-level phenomena that occur on the surfaces and interfaces of those materials under reaction conditions. They have been proved instrumental for that.
The example on the top is from some of our X-ray user facilities. Initial X-ray scattering data of platinum electrocatalysts and the evolution of the size distribution during electrocatalysis. Neutron user facilities is also used for this kind of work and the bottom right example shows the structure of evolution of anode and cathode during fuel cell operation conditions using neutron scattering methods. And finally the most important foundation for scientific and research development is our workforce. And DOE and Office of Science has been committed to support undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculties throughout grants and activities that are being also developed by our offices. Next slide please.
So in terms of activities that help us strategize research directions and opportunities, BES organized last year, with coordination with the technology offices, a roundtable on carbon neutral hydrogen technologies. And the discussions culminated in four research opportunities that are the framework to achieve some of the Hydrogen Shot that are being described here on this section. So I would encourage you all to take a look. There is a full report available on the web, and I think that will be very helpful to understand how some of the basic science can enable some of those targets that we have been hearing. So next I am going to pass to my colleague Kendall Parker from HFT Office.
Kendall Parker: Thanks Viviane. Hi everyone. My name is Kendall Parker and I'm currently an ORISE fellow at HFTO working on our office's energy equity environmental justice initiatives. I'm just going to give some quick grounding on why EEEJ is important for us and then background on Justice 40 and talk about some existing activities we have to build on as we implement Justice 40. Next slide please.
Our energy system is inherently inequitable from the disproportionate grid outages that certain communities face during hurricanes and storms, like we've seen in Puerto Rico and Texas, to how we've historically built out our energy system and the resulting impacts on frontline communities that reside near sources of pollution. We also see inequities in how certain households are feeling the burden of high energy costs, especially as a proportion of their household budget. And we can't just assume that deploying clean energy technologies and infrastructure is going to help address these issues. If we don't center the design of our policies and programs around equity we're going to continue to perpetuate these disparities across the energy system. We face a climate emergency that threatens vulnerable communities across the country. At DOE we have many of the technical tools to avert catastrophic climate change and to transition to a clean energy system. The big question here is, how do we transform our energy system while ensuring it becomes more equitable and just? Next slide please.
Energy justice asks that we recalibrate our energy system to ensure that the benefits and the burdens of the new system are more equitably spread across communities in our nation. The Biden administration made a promise to communities across our nation that 40% of the benefits of certain federal investments, including clean energy, flow to disadvantaged communities. And this effort has a nickname, the Justice 40, or J40 initiative. Justice 40 pairs the ambition of the energy transition with equity, in which each federal agency will play a part. The following eight policy priorities that are shown here are guiding DOE's implementation of Justice 40. Just to highlight a few quickly, the first, decreased energy burden, which is when energy burden refers to the percent of gross annual income that a household spends on energy costs.
The fourth one down here, increase access to low-cost capital, which can be a catalyst for increasing equitable adoption of clean energy technologies and also lead to deeper investments within disadvantaged communities. And the last one shown here, just to highlight it, is to increase energy democracy, which would include community ownership in disadvantaged communities, to enable deeper participation in energy policy, projects, and planning, as well as increase ownership of energy assets for disadvantaged communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law represents a huge investment, nearly $62 billion, creating more than 60 programs that flow through Department of Energy. And a lot of them will need to comply with the Justice 40 executive order, including a bit of the hydrogen programs that we discussed in AMR.
So within the hydrogen program we're looking to leverage some of our early initiatives to achieve Justice 40 goals. Some program examples are highlighted here. H2 Matchmaker, which we've talked about a lot, is a really important tool in our future efforts because it will assist in stakeholder engagement. Having high quality stakeholder engagement helps enable improvements in energy democracy, which is one of our Justice 40 priorities. Another example here is H2EDGE, which is a workforce initiative. And as we expand this initiative to disadvantaged communities and MSIs and HBCUs, it can help increase the clean energy job pipeline and job training programs for disadvantaged communities. IPHE, which is an example of a fellowship program, also the HBCU-OMI FOA, which was mentioned yesterday. These are also ways we can help diversify the clean energy job pipeline. And the H2 Twin Cities initiative as well is strengthening the global commitment to environmental justice and social equity. As we move forward, we're going to take successful elements from these existing efforts and build on them for more strategic process to address the policy priorities. And with that I'm going to pass it back to Eric. Oh sorry. Quick plug for the fellowship.
Eric Miller: We do want to put this up. Thanks Kendall so much. You saw this yesterday. In the spirit of building out our community we do have these opportunities that we want everyone to be aware of. So you saw this in several presentations yesterday but please mark this down if you've got people interested in being part of the community have them visit this site.
And with that I'm going to ask all of our panelists to come online. I'm going to stop—well, I'll tell you what we're going to do. We're out of time basically but we're not off the hook. All right. Thank you to all the panelists. Just give me a second. This is the question we want to leave you with and you're not leaving until you actually type this into the chat. We'll come on screen. We're all working very hard toward the Hydrogen Shot goal.
Everyone's got different parts and roles to play. We really need to record your perspective, a particular priority that's needed to achieve this goal. And as we like to do on a scale of one to ten, how confident are you that we'll achieve that goal. Let me come off the presentation here and can we see everyone on screen? I'm not sure what I'm seeing. But if everyone is in view now let me ask you to go through one by one. Just give me a number and then while you're doing that when you're not saying it type it into the chat what your key priority is so we can record that and we can publish that later. Let's start with—let me see who I've got. All right. Avi. One to ten, what's your confidence level?
Avi Shultz: I think I would say my key priority is developing supply chain for components for all of these various pathways we're talking about, and I would give that a seven.
Eric Miller: Ok. All right. I don't know how this works. Kendall why don't you go—just give us a number. Then record your priority in the chat so we can move to get us sort of back on schedule.
Kendall Parker: Sure. Yeah. I would say our highest priority is high quality stakeholder engagement and I would give it an eight.
Eric Miller: Ok. James?
James Vickers: I would say my highest priority is deployment of electrolyzer systems and direct coupling with renewables, and I will say eight.
Eric Miller: Good. All right. Viviane?
Viviane Schwartz: So I think my highest priority is what underlies the priority research directions that we had in that roundtable in BES. And it's really to understand the mechanistic insights at the molecular level and all the phenomena related to evolution, interfacial science, charge transfer, and creating robust systems for hydrogen production and utilization. I'm horrible with giving numbers but I think I'll probably—I'll just give an eight because I think that's the number that people are using here.
Eric Miller: All right. And I'm not going to go through everyone. We do have to get to the next panel. Everyone please type in your numbers and your priorities. I do want to maybe touch on either McKenzie or Dave because that's the—the electrolysis priority is quite large in the Hydrogen Shot now. So Dave maybe you can give us your priority and your score.
Dave Peterson: Sure, and I would actually say there are a number of key priorities we have to be looking at in parallel, anything from demoing at scale and new applications to ensuring we have a strong domestic manufacturing industry, to also we really need to have technical innovations still for all the different technology pathways to get to $1.00 per kilogram. I don't think we can get there with today's technology. And I will also give it a score of eight.
Eric Miller: Very good. McKenzie, you'll be the last one online here. Put you on the spot.
McKenzie Hubert: Ok. Great. Mine, I'm giving it a seven. I agree with Dave 100%. There are a lot of competing priorities. One priority I wanted to highlight was low-cost, clean electricity is super important so we need to focus on designing integrated systems to bring down overall system costs.
Eric Miller: Great. And with that I want to thank everyone on this panel. I cannot express our appreciation for what you've done and what you're doing for this community. Again we've asked this before and as the eternal optimist I will always say in honor of National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day that I'm always going to give this on a scale of one to ten point 08. This is what I believe will happen absolutely. So thank you all for this. I'm going to move to the next panel now but I want to give everyone a round of applause for joining us and thank you one more time. So with that I'm going to move to the next panel. Thank you. Thank you so much.