A colorless gas that is called green. Hydrogen. What’s so tough to understand?
Pretty cool idea, really: Hydrogen is a gas that can be used to power vehicles or make electricity with no harmful emissions. Hydrogen can be made through electrolysis, the process of using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
If the electric source to make hydrogen is a fossil fuel there are carbon emissions. Big barrier to “clean.”
When hydrogen is made in a way that creates no carbon emissions it is green. CNBC describes it like this: “Green hydrogen refers to hydrogen produced via the electrolysis of water, with the electricity used in the process coming from renewable sources like wind and solar.”
Many reports about green hydrogen note solar, wind, or even hydro as terrific, carbon-free power sources, and they are. However, if our world needs a lot of green hydrogen, that’s a lot of solar panels or windmills.
The answer, frankly, is nuclear energy. Lots of carbon-free power there. (story continues under the graphic)
An advanced process to make hydrogen using nuclear energy is being tested at an Xcel Energy nuclear plant and with Idaho National Labs. “The new project is the first of its kind in pairing a commercial electricity generator with high-temperature steam electrolysis technology. It builds on a project launched last year to demonstrate how hydrogen production facilities could be installed at operating nuclear power plants.”
Four U.S. nuclear generators operators – Energy Harbor, Xcel Energy, Exelon, and Arizona Public Service – are doing hydrogen test projects along these lines.
It’s an energy marriage made in heaven; a “twofer” on energy created.
Some nuclear plants have been searching for their next act as renewables have risen in popularity. ECC’s viewpoint is that these carbon-free sources of power – one intermittent, the other consistent – are a good match for society. This fits the bill for the future.