2,702 pages later, on the table is a federal infrastructure bill. “The bipartisan package would include about $550 billion in new spending on roads, bridges, airports, waterways, broadband, water systems and the power grid.” (Source)
That sounds comprehensive, but maybe it isn’t.
Does it address a key part of clean energy – hydrogen and how to move it? Kind of. But it takes a while to get through 2,700 pages of politics. We’ll keep looking.
Why bring up transporting hydrogen? Because it is critical to a clean energy economy.
Hydrogen is a clean fuel that produces only water when used in a fuel cell. Hydrogen can be transported using pipelines in a similar way to natural gas. Pipelines becoming huge hydrogen transports may take some research and investment.
Maybe. CNBC reported August 2 that an energy CEO said, “Tomorrow, we will have hydrogen produced … with solar and wind resources. And that hydrogen can travel through the existing pipeline.” The CEO has tried as much as 100% hydrogen in existing pipes, and it had worked. “So that’s an energy transition using the infrastructure we have.”
There’s still debate on how easily it is to adapt pipes for big use of hydrogen. It’s the right direction, though.
About 1,600 miles of hydrogen pipelines are currently operating in the United States. Poised and ready. But likely not enough.
“Pipeline” seems to be a dirty word to some people interested in energy. Pipeline = natural gas, to them. Not the case. Narrow thinking can hurt us in our energy future. We need a distribution network for clean energy.
Energy is complex. Simple one-liners for special interests do not advance our real needs for a clean and reliable energy system. Killing pipelines might win elections and assuage some stakeholders but hurt consumers (and local industry) in the long run when clean energy needs a delivery system. Like hydrogen.
A little extra reading? Other parts of the world are moving on this. How about European Hydrogen Backbone grows to 40,000 km, covering 11 new countries
Feature photo courtesy of Unsplash.