Renewable Energy SmartPod

The Road Ahead for Green Hydrogen

August 31, 2021 Season 1 Episode 12
Renewable Energy SmartPod
The Road Ahead for Green Hydrogen
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Janice Lin, the founder and president of the Green Hydrogen Coalition, joins the show to discuss how green hydrogen is poised to play a larger role in everyday energy generation and consumption. From US efforts like HyDeal LA (22:28) and the Western Green Hydrogen Initiative (24:12) to international endeavors like the European Hydrogen Backbone (14:50), Janice outlines how quickly the green hydrogen economy is accelerating.

Janice also highlights how green hydrogen as an energy storage solution could reduce blackouts and she also poses a fantastic question (1949): We have a Strategic Petroleum Reserve ... why not a Strategic Renewable Energy Reserve?

PODBRIEF: (33:26) What would happen if a Category 5 hurricane slammed into an offshore wind farm? Plus, a funny study about a wind farm to protect New Orleans from hurricanes.


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DoE: Wind turbines in hurricanes

Stanford - Univ. of Delaware: Wind farms as a buffer for hurricanes

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(Note: This transcript was created using artificial intelligence. It has not been fully edited.)

Sean McMahon  00:09

What's up everyone and welcome to the renewable energy smart pod. I'm your host Sean McMahon, and my guest today is Janice Lin, the founder and president of the Green Hydrogen Coalition. As promised, today's show is part two of back to back episodes about green hydrogen. My hope is that this episode, coupled with our last episode with Michael Ducker from Mitsubishi Power, will give you a better understanding of the current power and promising potential of green hydrogen. 


Today, Janice and I delve into the details of various green hydrogen initiatives underway around the world. And something tells me Janice knows I like to ask guests for bold predictions, because when I asked her for her bold prediction about the future of green hydrogen, she offered up a detailed and wide ranging vision of how green hydrogen is poised to play a larger role in everyday energy generation and consumption. So get ready to hear that from Janice. 


Looking ahead, our next episode after today will feature a conversation with Michael Rucker, the founder and CEO of Scout Clean Energy. Michael and I are going to cover a lot of ground when it comes to what's shaping today's renewables industry. So I'm looking forward to chatting with him to hear his insights. 


And as a reminder, if you'd like the topics we cover here on the Renewable Energy SmartPod and want to stay in the know about the people, technologies and trends that are powering the energy transition, head on over to and sign up for our daily email newsletter, the Renewable Energy SmartBrief. 


Alright, before I kick things off with Janice Lin from the Green Hydrogen Coalition, here's a quick word from the exclusive sponsor of today's episode, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.


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Sean McMahon  02:12

Thank you, everyone for joining me today. My guest is Janice Lin from the Green Hydrogen Coalition. Janice, how you doing today?


Janice Lin  02:18

Doing great. Thanks for having me, Sean.


Sean McMahon  02:20

Yeah, it's pleasure to have you on. So first of all, tell me a little bit about the coalition. How long ago were you founded? And what kind of work does organization do?


Janice Lin  02:28

So the GHC as we call it was founded in October of 2019. And we founded the GHC as an educational 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to advance the green hydrogen economy. And you know, our unique angle on this is that there is a way to accelerate the production and use of green hydrogen simultaneously. And its use in multiple sectors to achieve scale. So the goal is using commercially available pathways to make green hydrogen today, aggregate demand and scale it as quickly as possible. Because by achieving scale, that's how we can drive down the cost.


Sean McMahon  03:09

I gotcha. So like I mentioned, we're here to talk green hydrogen. So let's just set the stage for a second here. That was green hydrogen differentiated from other forms of hydrogen in the market?


Janice Lin  03:19

That's a great question to start, because there's a lot of confusion there. And green hydrogen is hydrogen that's made from non fossil fuel feedstocks, and does not use fossil fuels in its production. Most people aren't aware of this, but hydrogen is an industrial commodity. It's been around for many, many decades. It's used all over the world. But most of the hydrogen use today is made from fossil fuels. And the really great news is there are other ways to make hydrogen that involve renewable resources. 


Sean McMahon

Alright, so then what areas and your what industries is there? Do you see the most potential for green hydrogen? Are there some that are where it's already being used, you know, widely and kind of ramping up and others where it's more nascent? 


Janice Lin

Yes. So in this country in the United States, hydrogen has been a target and alternative fuel option that has been worked on for many decades, you've probably heard of hydrogen fuel cell cars, there are fueling stations being put in in many states around the country. So there's lots of progress on that front. The challenge with that application, it's very high value, but there's just not a lot of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. And as it's growing, that's great. Our angle is a little different. And we're approaching hydrogen and trying to accelerate applications of green hydrogen that can scale in mass scale very quickly. And the foremost one we're looking at is using green hydrogen as an energy storage solution for power generation. 


Sean McMahon  05:00

Recently, the administration has had some proposals out about these hydrogen hubs? Is that what you're talking about here? And how do those function?


Janice Lin  05:03

Yeah, so hydrogen hub is basically a targeted location where you can aggregate demand, maybe it's for a fueling station, we happen to believe that power generation can scale demand much more quickly, one power plant can use a whole lot of green hydrogen. And where storage comes in bulk storage, is that hydrogens a really convenient way of storing low cost renewable electricity. And what's different today from maybe even, I don't know, 10 years ago, is that renewable electricity is so affordable at the margin, it's the lowest cost form of electricity that you can buy today. The only challenge is, when you need that electricity is not necessarily when the sun is shining, or the wind is blowing. And you can use that electricity to split water, it's called electrolysis, and then you end up with hydrogen and oxygen, that hydrogen is a storage mechanism for storing that low cost abundant wind and solar, you just need to put it somewhere. It can be stored in a pipeline in an above ground container, or in an underground geologic storage facility.


Sean McMahon  06:27

I had Michael Ducker from Mitsubishi on last episode, we spent a little time geeking out about the salt caverns where hydrogen stored. So that was kind of a fun conversation to just kind of imagine. But then getting back to the renewable sources that are kind of generating or helping create green hydrogen. So wind and solar and is there enough generation at this point? Or is that a concern that, you know, those are already being used for current sources? Is there enough online now to build out green hydrogen? Or is that all kind of part of the growth process?


Janice Lin  06:49

We are blessed this country with basically unlimited amounts of really low cost wind and solar, especially in the southwest United States, we've got a lot of wind resources in the West, those resources can be used to make a zero carbon fuel. And so how does the storage work is you use that really low cost renewable electricity, split water, you make the hydrogen you store it, it can be stored indefinitely. And by the way, there are salt caverns that already store hydrogen in the United States. So this is not a new technology. It's just that they store great hydrogen hydrogen made from fossil fuels, and soon we're going to start storing hydrogen made from renewable energy. The reason I call this stored hydrogen storage is because once you have that hydrogen stored, you can then turn it back to electricity at a later time, whenever you want. It can be converted back into electricity with a fuel cell. So that's the technology that most people have heard of. Fuel cells are very, very small, they're modular, you can put them anywhere, they can provide a really great resiliency benefits support micro grids, you can also convert that stored green hydrogen back into electricity through, you know, a traditional gas turbine like the ones that you see installed all over the country. Pretty much all of the gas turbines that are installed around the country can today combust a blend of hydrogen and natural gas. And several manufacturers are commercializing turbines that can combust 100%, hydrogen in the near future.


Sean McMahon  08:27

Okay, I want to kind of dig a little deeper on on the existing infrastructure. Right. So what is the current network or pipeline system set up that could distribute hydrogen around countries that already where it's got to be does have to be expanded a little bit?


Janice Lin  08:40

Okay. So in terms of green hydrogen hubs, we're working on one right now. It's called HyDeal Los Angeles. And so that is an active project we've submitted a response to the Department of Energy's request for information under their hydrogen are shot, and we're hoping that ideal la will be the country's first significant green hydrogen hub. Los Angeles already has, I want to say 15 to 20 miles of hydrogen pipeline right there near the port of LA. Another factoid is the united states i and leads the world in terms of hydrogen pipeline, I think we have more than 1600 miles of hydrogen pipeline, mostly in the, in the Gulf region, in and around Texas, primarily connecting oil refineries, because that's one of the largest users of hydrogen today. And of course, that infrastructure is all storing, moving, and using hydrogen made from fossil fuels. Our vision is to create new infrastructure that can move mass scale quantities of green hydrogen to hubs, strategically targeted locations that have been designed for multi sectoral green hydrogen offtake. And so LA is a perfect example, where we have strong demand for green hydrogen for power generation. We have a number of oil refineries that could convert to green hydrogen, we have more fueling stations for fuel cell EVs, than anywhere else in the country. And of course, there's lots of other industrial uses of green hydrogen, including someday using hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels for shipping.


Sean McMahon  10:20

Okay, so what are some of the big challenges standing in the way of the growth of green hydrogen? I know you say, we've already got, you know, pipelines in place that use hydrogen produced via fossil fuels. So so that piece is in place, I guess, it's just got to, you know, on the flip has got to get switched, or the blend has got to get changed. But what are the what are the challenges? You know, when the GHC kind of looks at the map of you know, what are the big hurdles in front of you? What are your top two or three?


Janice Lin  10:43

Yeah, so the infrastructure that exists today is primarily servicing the existing hydrogen industry, which is hydrogen made from fossil fuels delivered to off takers in like oil and gas industry and ammonia and fertilizer industry, there is an opportunity to repurpose some of that infrastructure for green hydrogen. One of our challenges is, the locations of where we can make the green hydrogen at very low cost at mass scale, are not in the same places as infrastructure is today. So we are going to need new pipelines, or the ability to inject that really low cost green hydrogen into the existing natural gas pipeline. And there are a number of projects around the world demonstrating that it is possible. In fact, I think if you look on the Department of Energy's website about their high blood project, they say theoretically, 20% by volume is theoretically feasible for our existing gas pipeline. But more testing needs to be done. The use of that existing gas pipeline, which is ubiquitous, we have a guest, you know, gas pipeline infrastructure pretty much all over the country. That's a really amazing asset that can be used for moving and, and moving green hydrogen and decarbonizing the pipeline. To achieve the green hydrogen economy of where we really want to go. We're going to need 100% hydrogen pipelines. And if you follow Europe's lead, what they're doing is they're repurposing and converting their gas transmission pipelines into 100% hydrogen pipelines.


Sean McMahon  12:27

I was gonna ask you that question next. What are some of the countries or regions, you know, that are specific projects that you kind of hold out and the parts of the world that are taking the lead on this?


Janice Lin  12:36

Well, there's a number of countries in Europe, I would say Germany, for sure is in the lead. In fact, they just enact and that did transitional regulation for hydrogen pipelines at a country level, which is very exciting. Australia has also been an early leader in green hydrogen, but their their goal, at least historically has been around taking advantage of tremendous export opportunities, exporting green hydrogen to energy hungry nations in the Asian Pacific region, to Japan, South Korea, Chile has announced their intention to also be a low cost global producer, on the user front, Germany, European Union. There's also a lot happening in the maritime industry, primarily driven by a need to comply with the European Commission's carbon trading scheme. Now, shipping fuels have to decarbonize by date certain. So this is all driving development demand. Oh, I forgot to mention Saudi Arabia is dumping into it as an exporter. You know, our perspective is the US given our abundant resources renewable resources should be part of this emerging global trading network, as well as be part of the global decarbonized maritime shipping refueling network.


Sean McMahon  14:02

We'll be right back after a message from the exclusive sponsor of today's episode, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.



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Sean McMahon  14:52

We were talking before the break about some of the international developments when it comes to green hydrogen. What can you tell me about the European Hydrogen Backbone initiative


Janice Lin  15:00

Yeah, this is a really exciting initiative that is composed of 11 countries in Europe, and 12, European gas transmission operators, these 12 transmission operators represent and have presented a vision to convert nearly 40,000 kilometers of existing gas pipeline to hydrogen pipeline infrastructure spanning 21 countries, about two thirds of that is based on repurposing existing natural gas pipelines. And then the third would be new pipeline development.


Sean McMahon  15:36

Okay, and is there anything on the policy front here in the US that you either wish would be pushed through or that stuff that's in your way or helpful things that didn't pass recently? or What does the policy you know, horizon look like for the GHC?


Janice Lin  15:48

Yeah, that's a great question. I think one of the issues we've been wrangling with is even like, what is the definition of green hydrogen? There's different definitions that are out there today, different states, having a common definition is helpful, especially when you think about eligibility and programs and how you count the emissions benefits associated with hydrogen. So that is one key policy item.


Sean McMahon  16:13

So what are the different definitions that you're dealing with?


Janice Lin  16:16

So in California, we have legislation that's been proposed that Senate Bill 18, that is intended to result in a clear definition that would be used across applications, and pretty much establish a baseline that our different relevant agencies could reference to, for the purpose of eligibility into different programs. So where that bill stands is it would be, you know, under the current version of the bill, our Air Resources Board here in California, would lead that work in conjunction with other state agencies, Montana has a different definition. British Columbia has a different definition. I think it'll all be harmonized later, because different jurisdictions are approaching green hydrogen and from different angles. But at the end of the day, the common denominator is what are the emissions benefits of green hydrogen, and you have to focus on both how it's made, and then how it's used.


Sean McMahon  17:16

Help me understand so is this those different states or British Columbia, these generations source can vary, you know, like, I mean, obviously, wind and solar, but maybe like a biofuel or nuclear, some of them will include those some of them won't. Is that what you're saying?


Janice Lin  17:31

Yes. So that's, that's one of the challenges right now is just clarifying on a jurisdiction by jurisdiction basis, like, what is green hydrogen? What is clean hydrogen? And how does it fit within the existing range of programs that already exist? And it seems like a simple question, but it's more complicated than it then on the surface, because hydrogen is so flexible, it can be used for so many purposes, it can be used, we were talking about storage. So multi day, monthly seasonal storage for the power sector, can be used as an alternative transportation fuel can be used as an industrial feedstock. And the state of the market today is many of these applications have different programs, and different regulatory jurisdictions that are in charge of these different programs even within one state. So it's flexibility, which is one of hydrogens, greatest assets is also one of the challenges when it comes to, you know, how do you fit this new tool into the toolkit?


Sean McMahon  18:37

Okay, and you mentioned earlier that where we're generating all this low cost energy is not next to the facilities where we need to kind of move it around. So we've got a lot of listeners that don't know where on the map are talking about. So I'm assuming generation is Southwest us. But where else where across the country does it need to be? Or do we wish it was next to I guess, is the way to ask about


Janice Lin  18:56

Offshore wind is a really exciting resource. So there's multiple pathways to make hydrogen we're talking about electro lytic pathways, which is zero carbon or renewable electricity being used to split water, wherever you have low cost renewables, whether that wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear, you know, there are certain areas of development where nuclear energy is really abundant and not necessarily matched with demand. So again, hydrogen is a great way to deal with that mismatch, especially if you have it on a seasonal basis. Remember, there are other ways to make hydrogen you can make hydrogen from bio gas by reforming bio gas through gasification or pyrolysis of organic matter. So anywhere you have a lot of organic waste, municipal waste, agriculture waste, that can happen pretty much anywhere in the country.


Sean McMahon  19:49

Okay, and then so from a consumer perspective, right when we're talking about you know, long duration storage for for the power sector is this. This is so you know, we could cut down on things Like, you know, blackouts or things like that when there's seasonal variation in generation of, you know, hydro, like right now, there's a lot of dams and lakes all over the countries, specifically the Southwest that are having trouble generating. So hydrogen can play a role of filling that void when it whenever it comes up?


Janice Lin  20:17

Absolutely. And one of the great aspects of hydrogen, especially if you're, you know, have a place to store it, like your existing gas pipeline system, or a salt dome is it doesn't go bad, it can sit there. And definitely, you know, we've always had strategic petroleum reserves, why not have strategic renewable energy reserves in the form of hydrogen, it's also distributed. So you can buy a pressurized container that's certified that you can store hydrogen for a very long time, you can put it in micro grids, or where you have remote locations that might face power outages from time to time, you know, with the onslaught of these wildfires, the grid is getting intentionally turned off in some locations for days at a time, it would be nice to have an alternative fuel for those pockets.


Sean McMahon  21:10

Okay. And then we've talked about a couple of, you know, different industries that are kind of at the forefront of this. So but I just want to kind of hammer that in. So what are your top, you know, three or four industries where you see, you know, the use case, we talked about power, a little bit on transportation, like what else out there could see the most biggest benefit from green hydrogen?


Janice Lin  21:27

Well, no particular order. But I we mentioned an alternative for maritime shipping, that can either be liquid hydrogen, or Korean hydrogen that's made into ammonia. ammonia is NH three, it has a lot of hydrogen in it. And chips can be powered by ammonia, turbans, basically, it's a it's an alternative fuel. ammonia is also an important ingredient in making fertilizer. So while we're making green hydrogen as a shipping fuel, we might as well make a little more, and decarbonize our agricultural industry. Hydrogen is also an ingredient in making synthetic liquid fuels. So we could potentially be producing decarbonized, liquid fuels, even for aviation. And by the way, for short haul flights, there are fuel cell planes being developed that can run on 100%, green hydrogen, and fuel cells.


Sean McMahon  22:23

And those are some of the sectors that already kind of contributes a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions. So and I mentioned earlier, we have going on with high deal in Los Angeles. So can you expand on that for our listeners and tell them what that is and where that's headed?


Janice Lin  22:36

Definitely. So HyDeal LA is the first initiative to create arkitekter green hydrogen ecosystem in a targeted location. And the goal is to design this ecosystem at mass scale. So if you're starting from scratch, how do we achieve a low delivered price point and our target was $1.50 per kilogram delivered, and you start by aggregating demand, and part of the reason we started in Los Angeles is we have the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. So this is a very progressive, the largest municipal utility in North America, that has a stated goal of getting to zero carbon, the city of Los Angeles announced that they want to achieve that by 2035. And they are the largest off taker of a coal plant conversion in central Utah, it's getting converted from coal to green hydrogen. So that's part of the solution. But it's not enough of a solution. If LA is procuring dispatched energy made from green hydrogen from Utah, they also need to convert their invasin power plants to green hydrogen. So you can think of them as sort of the beachhead off taker, around which we're aggregating other off takers of green hydrogen to get to mass scale. Once you have visibility into mass scale demand, it becomes much easier to plan. How are we going to make it? Where are we going to make it and what does the system map need to look like to get that mass scale green hydrogen into the LA basin as fast as possible?


Sean McMahon  24:13

Okay, can you tell me more the details about the Western Green Hydrogen Initiative?


Janice Lin  24:17

Sure. So earlier, we're talking about the importance of policy and market design and enabling green hydrogen projects to be financed means that you need to have line of sight into how you're getting paid. And how you get paid for developing green hydrogen projects and multiple applications is a function of market design. It's the policy and the regulations that exists in any one state. And in any one state. There's multiple jurisdictions. And of course, we all know that to make the green hydrogen economy that we're envisioning affordable, it's not a one state play. We have to look regionally and unfortunately today because green hydrogen is a new tool in the toolkit. There's not necessarily a, you know, a forum for focusing on this and focusing on market development. So that's why the green hydrogen coalition partnered teamed up with the net with nascio, the Noce National Association of State Energy officials, and the western interstate energy board. That's 11 states plus Florida, Louisiana and Ohio, two Canadian provinces, to collaborate to focus on green hydrogen infrastructure development. We call this initiative, the western green hydrogen initiative, or wiggy. for short. It's truly a state run state led initiative. And I encourage you to check out our website, we have a whole portion of the website dedicated to the work of the Western Green Hydrogen Initiative, and they'll be looking at modeling, they're looking at policy best practices. And it's really inspiring the level of collaboration and the conversation that's happening at a regional level among the state and provincial leadership.


Sean McMahon  26:02

I guess you always want to have a marketplace, a market in place for all the hydrogen, you're going to be trying to get out there and across the country. So something like that makes perfect sense. And what kind of pushback Are you seeing on the policy front? Obviously, politics isn't involved in a lot of things in this country these days? So is this one of the things you see people coming together on because there's stakeholders across various states that can benefit? or What does that picture look like?


Janice Lin  26:26

Absolutely. And that's why we are feeling extremely bullish about this, starting with the leadership of the Biden administration, you know, the fact that the Department of Energy has focused on hydrogen as its first or shot, very encouraging. We have proposed legislation for investment tax credits, production tax credits for hydrogen. And at the state and provincial level, we're seeing leadership in many pockets around the country from Florida to British Columbia, here in California in Utah. This is not a partisan issue. There's a lot to love about hydrogen, clean hydrogen, green hydrogen. One of the key advantages in you mentioned it earlier, is it enables us to beneficially reuse a lot of the infrastructure we already have, and to generate more jobs in the process. Because we are part of an emerging global industry for green hydrogen, and that makes the pie bigger.


Sean McMahon  27:26

What kind of competition is there on a lobbying front? Because I I envision, if hydrogen is going to be kind of replacing gas and these pipelines, then the gas lobbies got to be kind of a formidable opponent, or was that Crossroads look like?


Janice Lin  27:39

You know, it's interesting, because hydrogen can be used as an alternative to fossil fuels. So a lot of incumbent industries, see hydrogen not as a threat, but as an opportunity to stay relevant, even during an after the energy transition. gas pipelines, by themselves, you know, are hugely valuable, right? You mean, they have right away as they can move huge amounts of energy from one place to another very cost effectively, the issue is what's inside them. So I personally feel very excited about the alignment and what's possible today. And when you come to the gas pipeline, for example, and one of our challenges is we have to get through some technical demonstrations, to give each local jurisdiction comfort, that it's safe, that it's possible. It's happening all over the world. But, you know, our observation is every local jurisdiction has to go through that testing process on their own. And that just takes some time.


Sean McMahon  28:40

I want to pick up real quick and talk about an educational resource you have from the GAC. We have a lot of listeners as podcasts that are new to green hydrogen, you guys produce the green hydrogen guidebook, what resources went into that? And what kind of feedback have you gotten about that resource?


Janice Lin  28:54

When we started the GHC, we noticed that there was no like singular source of information about green hydrogen. And so the guidebook was our idea. You know, we're an educational nonprofit or putting it in one place where folks could easily access you know, folks with a non technical, no background in hydrogen and look in the table of contents, in access helpful information. That guidebook has been downloaded 1000s of times, we're in the process of updating it because we get all the time as we go along. More is known, more is revealed. I think the next update will be happening in the first quarter of next year. But it is available for free to all your listeners. We also have on our website, many, many recorded webinars that are available to the public for free on a variety of topics, everything from hydrogen 101 to what's happening with the European hydrogen backbone initiative.


Sean McMahon  29:51

Okay, so you know, getting things to mass scale. I want to ask for a bold prediction on where you see the hydrogen market, say five or 10 years out and I know given your position, you're probably bullish on this, but go ahead and just paint that picture for me in five or 10 years.


Janice Lin  30:05

Okay, here we are. So we can revisit this in some years to see if the predictions are right. So I say this and cross my fingers that my prediction is HyDeal Los Angeles will be one of the four green hydrogen hubs, or clean hydrogen hubs that the US federal government wants to see advanced in the near term, we're able to develop the infrastructure and deliver mass scale hydrogen into the LA basin to satisfy those applications. The Port of Los Angeles, maybe the Port of Long Beach becomes the first port in North America to provide green hydrogen refueling options for maritime shipping. partnering up with Singapore and some other progressive parts in the Asia Pacific. We see the first green hydrogen passenger flight happening between Los Angeles and maybe nearby cities, and las starts offering decarbonized green hydrogen fuel for long haul flights. At the same time, because of all this aggregated demand, and now the low delivered cost of green hydrogen, we achieve really low cost in the LA basin, heavy duty trucking and vehicle travel gets accelerated. So we see a mass conversion of diesel trucks to hydrogen fueled trucks, green hydrogen fuel trucks, and the emissions and the port of LA is. And that whole region goes from being a, you know, basically a disadvantaged, you know, poor air quality area to one of the most pristine air quality locations in the country that also has tremendous economic development and opportunity to export low cost green hydrogen to Hawaii and Japan. So that's the vision that we would like to see happen within the next 10 years.


Sean McMahon  31:59

Well, sounds like you've put some thought into this.


Janice Lin  32:02

And it's entirely doable, technically. It just takes it comes back to what you were saying. It's the willingness this alignment and, and really what we're finding more and more at the end of the day, it's about policy.


Sean McMahon  32:15

Anything else we should share inform our listeners about either, you know, trends you see in the marketplace, or initiatives from the GHC


Janice Lin  32:22

Well, just, you know, the space is moving very quickly. And I encourage listeners to sign up for our newsletter. And regardless of where you're listening in are calling in from, there is an aspect of the clean energy transition, and specifically green hydrogen, where you personally could have a role to accelerate progress. And if this topic excites you, don't wait. We need lots of help. And the more folks that are advancing progress together in the right direction, the faster we'll make progress. So thank you for listening in. And, you know, just listening to this podcast and becoming more familiar with the issues is step number one. But I believe that everybody has a role to make progress happen faster, and you know, there's no time like the present.


Sean McMahon  33:15

Well, thank you very much, Janice. I really appreciate your time. It's been a wonderful conversation. Thank you.


Janice Lin  33:20

Thank you, Sean.


Sean McMahon  33:28

Okay, now it's time for the pod brief segment of the show. And I want to touch on something that's certainly been in the news the last few days. Hurricane Ida. 


In addition to the human toll hurricane Ida has taken on the Gulf Coast is also ravaged vital infrastructure. blackouts in the region are expected to last for days. And the oil and gas sector is already warning drivers across the country that they might feel the financial pinch from Iowa at the pump. 


All this disruption got me thinking about how an offshore wind farm might weather the storm if it were in the path of a hurricane as powerful as ita. After all, some of the areas the US is planning to stand up wind farms off the Atlantic coast aren't exactly immune to hurricanes. So what would happen if a big hurricane hit a big wind farm? 


Well, I did a wee bit of research, and one thing I found wasn't very reassuring, while another thing was very entertaining. For starters, the most recent research I could find indicates most offshore wind turbines have been designed to withstand wind speeds that accompany a category three hurricane and maybe even a category four. But what about a category five hurricane? Well, it turns out that a wind farm taking a direct hit from such a massive storm could be a huge problem. That's troubling, because it's not hard to imagine the nightmare visuals that would accompany an offshore wind farm fully destroyed by a storm. Equally troubling is the amount of time I imagined it would take to bring that lost power generation back online after the storm. Of course, some really small people are hard at work trying to design wind turbines that can withstand a category five hurricane. And trust me, I'm gonna try to bring some of them on this show to talk about their progress. But the fact remains, we're not there yet. So here's hoping we can very quickly design turbines so strong that category five doesn't spell catastrophe. 


Now, the one entertaining study I mentioned came out in 2014, and it was put together by a team of researchers from Stanford, and the University of Delaware. You can find a link to this study in the show notes for today's episode. But here's the gist, researchers ran computer simulations to see if a wind farm could potentially reduce the severity of a hurricane by acting as a sort of buffer, a buffer that would weaken the wind speeds of the hurricane and diminish the accompanying storm surge. In the case of Hurricane Katrina, the researchers model found a wind farm could have reduced wind speeds by between 80 and 98 miles per hour, and a storm surge by a whopping 79%. That's amazing, right? But then I saw the one tiny, not so insignificant detail from the study that made me laugh out loud. The mythical wind farm the researchers use for their modeling exercise featured 78,000 turbines. That's right, 78,000 turbines, all nestled off the coast of New Orleans. That seems like quite a big easy fantasy. But look at the bright side. turbines have grown a lot in size since 2014. So maybe today, we only need a paltry, I don't know 50,000 turbines to keep the French Quarter nice and dry. 


That's all I've got for today. But before I sign off, I want to say a quick thank you to Janice Lin and the green hydrogen coalition. And another shout out to the exclusive sponsor of today's episode, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. 


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Background about the Green Hydrogen Coalition (GHC)
The difference between green hydrogen and other "colors" of hydrogen
Green hydrogen as an energy storage solution
Hydrogen hubs
Generation from renewables sources
Current state of green hydrogen pipeline network
Challenges green hydrogen is facing
Regions and countries that are leading the way
The European Hydrogen Backbone initiative
What is the definition of green hydrogen?
Getting renewables generation to hydrogen pipelines
Blackouts and a Strategic Renewable Energy Reserve
Green hydrogen for shipping, agriculture, airlines and more
HyDeal LA
The Western Green Hydrogen Initiative
Politics and green hydrogen
Competition on the lobbying front
The Green Hydrogen Guidebook
Janice's Bold Predictions
PODBRIEF: What if a Category 5 hurricane hit an offshore wind farm?
An entertaining study about a wind farm off the coast of New Orleans