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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: First Report 4 Hydrogen Production, Delivery, and Dispensing PROGRAM OVERVIEW Prior to the announcement of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, President Bush announced in February 2003 the FreedomCAR and Hydrogen Fuel Initiative (HFI) to develop technologies for (1) fuel-efficient motor vehicles and light trucks, (2) cleaner fuels, (3) improved energy efficiency, and (4) a hydrogen production and nationwide distribution infrastructure for vehicle and stationary power plants, to fuel both hydrogen internal combustion engines (ICEs) and fuel cells (DOE, 2004). The expansion of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership to include the energy sector that occurred after the announcement of HFI now includes the HFI, whose focus is on hydrogen technology as described in the following sections. The objective of DOE’s HFI is to bring cost-competitive hydrogen fuel technology and infrastructure to the market in order to significantly reduce the following: Oil imports in order to increase national energy security; Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, to head off potential climate change impacts; and Criteria emissions, to improve health and environmental quality. As discussed in Chapter 1 and as indicated in Chapter 5, Table 5-1, HFI’s hydrogen technology R&D incorporates the activities of the Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technology (HFCIT) program except those focused on proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell development. The initiative cuts across four DOE offices—the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE); the
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: First Report Office of Fossil Energy (FE); the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology (NE); and the Office of Science’s Basic Energy Sciences (BES) Program. Overall responsibility for HFI rests with the Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and Infrastructure Program Manager in EERE. Important elements of the program are hydrogen production, hydrogen delivery and dispensing, hydrogen storage, safety codes and standards, infrastructure validation, and education. For FY05, funding is $169 million for the entire HFCIT program, which includes about $75 million for fuel cells and $38 million for projects in hydrogen production, delivery, and storage (see Chapter 5, Table 5-1). For FY05, $37 million of the HFI program funds are congressionally directed (earmarked). (See Chapter 3, “Vehicle Technologies,” for discussion of onboard hydrogen storage for the vehicle and Chapter 2, “Major Crosscutting Issues,” for discussion of safety, codes, and standards.) NRC Report The Hydrogen Economy The NRC/NAE report The Hydrogen Economy: Opportunities, Costs, Barriers, and R&D Needs (NRC/NAE, 2004) noted the central importance of the HFCIT program to improving U.S. energy security and environmental protection. It presented recommendations on program plans and operations. In particular, the report emphasized the development of technologies both to facilitate the early transition to the hydrogen economy and to ensure its long-term viability. That report also recommended that the program shift its emphasis in several key areas. The program’s management has responded rapidly to these recommendations, most of which have been incorporated into the program during the past several months. The principal recommendations of the 2004 report on The Hydrogen Economy may be summarized as follows: DOE should take a systems approach to understand the complex interactions across the well-to-wheels hydrogen system. Increased emphasis should be placed on breakthrough research in on-vehicle hydrogen storage systems, fuel cell cost and performance, and photoelectrochemical hydrogen processes. In addition, efforts on distributed—at the filling station—hydrogen generation technologies should be increased to support the early introduction of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles into the market. Further, given the potential importance that coal may play in a future hydrogen system, there should be closer coupling among DOE’s hydrogen, fuel cell, and carbon capture and sequestration efforts. Increased emphasis should be placed on developing technologies for hydrogen generation and on developing solutions to nontechnical issues for the transition period to the fully functional hydrogen economy. The committee compliments DOE on rapidly implementing most of the recommendations in The Hydrogen Economy and encourages program management
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: First Report to ensure that sufficient effort is devoted to developing technologies and resolving issues for the transition period. Recommendation. Recognizing that changes in large, complex programs necessarily occur at a measured pace, the committee nevertheless recommends special attention to three areas: the transition from the current ICE/fuels infrastructure to a nascent hydrogen economy; on-vehicle hydrogen storage; and carbon capture and sequestration. Specific recommendations on hydrogen production, delivery, and dispensing activities in the FreedomCAR and Fuel Program are offered in other sections of this chapter. Earmarking The interim milestones of the hydrogen production, delivery, and storage component of the program have been delayed owing to significant congressionally mandated activities (earmarking)—approximately $37 million—in both the FY04 and the FY05 hydrogen program budgets (DOE, 2005). Although DOE has some flexibility to allocate funds not earmarked, budgets for the hydrogen production, delivery, infrastructure, and safety parts of the HFI were reduced by 50 percent. DOE continued to fund 80 percent of the hydrogen storage program because of its critical importance to the success of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership. In contrast, the vehicle and fuel cell efforts in the overall FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership were not earmarked, creating a disconnect in the ability to reach milestones between the two parts of the program. In the opinion of the committee, the earmarked projects will not help the program meet its goals, and the lower funding on critical projects will reduce its chances of success. The earmarked projects upset the balance of the program because they prevent some work from being done. The earmarked projects do not benefit from technical team input and oversight and are not selected by peer review, nor were they subject to review by the committee. Recommendation. The committee strongly recommends that the Hydrogen Technology R&D be fully funded at the $99 million level for the areas indicated in the FY06 Presidential budget request to Congress. FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership Within the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, part of the HFI is managed by three new technical teams: (1) fuel/vehicle pathway integration, (2) hydrogen production, and (3) hydrogen delivery. These technical teams were established in 2004, when the energy companies joined the Partnership. While HFI has been progressing for several years, the energy companies have only been part of the
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: First Report FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership for the past year. The accomplishments of the new teams so far have been primarily defining and scoping the work to be done. The committee is impressed by the rapid start-up of the fuel technical teams and impressed by how well the members and DOE are working together. The teams have set aggressive completion targets consistent with the overall hydrogen program goals. The committee encourages the teams to keep moving forward and frequently check their progress with go/no-go decisions and adjust their efforts accordingly. This is particularly important since the Partnership is in its early stages and its direction may shift as new knowledge is acquired. HYDROGEN FUEL PATHWAYS The hydrogen fuel/vehicle pathway integration effort is new to the Partnership. This is a very significant addition as the team is charged with looking across the full hydrogen supply chain—well to tank. Specifically, the goal of the integration effort is to (1) analyze issues associated with complete hydrogen production, distribution, and dispensing pathways, (2) provide input to the Partnership on setting targets for individual components, (3) provide input to the Partnership on needs and gaps in the hydrogen analysis program, and (4) work toward full transparency of all analysis activities.1 This technical team has an important role to play in providing input and guidance to the new systems analysis efforts in DOE. It also must work with the vehicle systems and engineering analysis team to integrate the entire hydrogen program on a well-to-wheels basis. Targets and milestones for individual components can be analyzed and reset, improving program prioritization and management. The team has made a lot of progress. It established a set of principles to shape its effort. One of the most important principles is this: “Targets for the cost of hydrogen from energy source to vehicle should be pathway independent.” In addition, the team has developed a framework to evolve the hydrogen program technical targets and addressed difficulties in using current DOE technical targets to assess complete hydrogen fuel pathways. The committee is encouraged by the approach the team has adopted in its “Framework for Pathway Analysis,” which will encompass well-to-tank costs, energy use, and CO2 emissions. There are some significant challenges ahead. Providing input and guidance to layered models created by others, such as the Macro Systems model, the Transition model, and the Systems Analysis Plan, poses a serious coordination challenge. Systems analysis is an especially important tool to help understand and prepare for the transition to a hydrogen economy. Many technologies may emerge 1 D.J. Gardner, Jr., and D. Joseck, “Fuel pathway integration tech team-NAS review,” Presentation to the committee on November 17, 2004.
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: First Report but not become widespread. During the transition, a highly dynamic and uncertain phase, divergent vehicle and dispensing designs may appear in niche markets, offered by those seeking to demonstrate the technology and purchased by the early adopters. It will be important to try to understand the conditions under which such technologies might remain in these niche applications or, perhaps, become more widespread. As an example, high-technology all-electric vehicles recently failed to gain market share in competition with the ICE for mainstream auto markets; yet, scaled-down versions of these electric vehicles compete quite well in certain personal transportation applications, such as are found in retirement or private residential communities. Consequently, although it is not possible to predict which technologies will emerge from their niches to capture mainstream markets, it will be important to understand the technology adoption mechanisms. Therefore, the immediate contribution of these or other niche concepts are the lessons that they provide for other, possibly superior technologies that will eventually prevail in the mainstream marketplace. An appropriate set of systems analyses that model technology adoption could help in understanding and accelerating the transition. For example, DOE could learn from and aggregate the experience of niche demonstrations around the country to ensure that others benefit from them; The models could guide DOE’s technology programs so that they provide the precompetitive technology base that would best support a rapid and effective transition to the mature hydrogen economy; and They could address whether DOE’s current goals for the cost of delivered hydrogen match the needs of the transition (as opposed to the mature) marketplace. Recommendation. The committee recommends as follows: That DOE further focus the achievements of the fuel/vehicle pathway integration team by placing greater emphasis on the hydrogen transition in its systems analysis work; That the results of this systems analysis work be used to assist in identifying needs for the development of codes and standards and for the training of local zoning officials and emergency responders; and That DOE apply its systems capabilities to analyze whether the cost goals for hydrogen production, established for a mature hydrogen economy, are appropriate for the transition. HYDROGEN PRODUCTION The hydrogen production goals assume that U.S. energy security will best be enhanced by producing hydrogen from a diverse set of feedstocks and that no
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: First Report single candidate feedstock will probably be capable of providing all energy needs over the long term. The mission of the hydrogen production technical team is to “drive the development of commercially viable centralized and distributed hydrogen production technologies that meet the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership goals.”2 The program encompasses the following (energy) sources for the generation of hydrogen: natural gas, coal, nuclear heat, biological systems, wind, and the sun. The overarching technical challenges in all areas are cost reduction, improved energy efficiency, and technological feasibility. The program considers distributed hydrogen generation (where hydrogen is produced at the filling station) as the most viable approach for hydrogen production and hydrogen delivery for the transition period. The Hydrogen Economy (NRC/NAE, 2004) estimated that in the most optimistic plausible case, significant hydrogen-fueled vehicle penetration (>50 percent) would not occur before 2035). Initially, then, hydrogen will be produced locally and a hydrogen delivery infrastructure is not required. Furthermore, it is unlikely that there would be investors willing to put significant capital at risk to distribute hydrogen, given all the uncertainties. The first fueling stations will need to be in areas that serve a small local market of vehicles. The volume of hydrogen demand will not be great enough to support central production, and distributed production might not achieve the fuel savings and carbon capture of the ultimate solutions. The reason to start with distributed stations is to get the number of hydrogen-fueled fuel cell vehicles large enough to justify centralized production. In other words, it could solve the significant chicken-and-egg barrier to widespread penetration of hydrogen-fueled fuel cell vehicles into the market; indeed, it might be the only solution. The technologies for near-term distributed generation are the reforming of natural gas and small-scale water electrolysis. For the longer term, the vision is centralized production of hydrogen that will take advantage of economies of scale and use a more diverse set of feedstocks. However, the centralized approach requires the development of a massive hydrogen distribution infrastructure for hydrogen delivery and dispensing. In addition, since coal would probably play a significant role in a hydrogen economy, carbon capture and storage (CCS)—or sequestration—technologies and systems will have to be developed (NRC/NAE, 2004). From a societal standpoint, these infrastructure issues are some of the most difficult barriers to the program’s realization. In summary, the most cost-efficient means of providing hydrogen in the long term is centralized plants and a network of distribution pipelines. However, distributed hydrogen production will be the means of hydrogen production and delivery during the transition period, which could be long, and, as stated in The 2 P. Devlin and S. Schlasner, “Hydrogen production tech team—NAS peer review,” Presentation to the committee on November 17, 2004.
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: First Report Hydrogen Economy, resources must be applied to distributed technologies in order to meet the need from 2010 to 2030 (NRC/NAE, 2004). Technical targets for hydrogen production, delivery, and dispensing have been set for 2010 and 2015. The targets are R&D milestones and are different for each feedstock based on factors like the feedstock characteristics and cost, the state of development of the technology, and the expected production unit size. A total of 54 projects are being funded during 2005 in the hydrogen production and delivery area. The total funding is $14,218,000, and projects range in size from $100,000 to $800,000. The committee considers the interrelationships among the elements of the program to be an essential feature that is being very appropriately addressed both through the working relationships of the DOE program managers and through the coordination of program goals and objectives. However, the overall program would be improved by expanding the scope and frequency of the coordination efforts. Recommendation. Even closer coordination with other DOE programs would be beneficial, including programs in the Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology (NE). Representatives from FE and NE should be added to the fuel/vehicle pathway integration and hydrogen production technical teams, and FE and NE should be linked closely with systems analysis efforts in the Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technology program. Recommendation. The committee believes that significant development efforts should be directed to distributed hydrogen production, including natural gas reforming and electrolysis, as well as exploratory work for other distributed generation options. Coal and Carbon Sequestration Coal is a viable option for producing hydrogen in very large, centralized plants. The United States has enough coal to make all of the hydrogen that the economy could need for more than 200 years. U.S. estimated recoverable reserves of coal are about 270 billion short tons (EIA, 1999). In addition, new and very promising gasification technology is under development that can lead to high-efficiency hydrogen manufacture at costs comparable with those of gasoline.3 It would require over 100 million metric tons a year of hydrogen to fuel the 3 The Hydrogen Economy estimated the current cost of coal gasification to produce hydrogen at about $2.10/kg H and the future cost at about $1.70/kg H, whereas the gasoline-efficiency-adjusted cost of gasoline for a gasoline-fueled hybrid electric vehicle was estimated to be $2.12/kg H, assuming a petroleum cost of $30/barrel (NRC/NAE, 2004).
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: First Report entire U.S. light-duty vehicle fleet by 2050, assuming that hydrogen fuel cell development is successful and meets current goals. However, in a CO2-constrained world, managing the increased CO2 emissions from coal could become a significant barrier to its use. Since it is hard at the present time to imagine a long-term hydrogen economy in the United States without coal as a major hydrogen feedstock, the CO2 issues must be overcome. This is particularly true when the volume of hydrogen required to significantly reduce oil imports and CO2 emissions is considered. To put the CO2 issue into perspective, 6 gigatons (Gton)/year of CO2 are emitted in the United States, 1.7 Gton of it from transportation. If coal is used to supply the hydrogen-fueled fuel cell vehicle fleet in 2050 (NRC/NAE, 2004), the CO2 produced for transportation alone would be 6 Gton/year. Thus, CO2 must be reduced or removed from coal plant emissions. This could potentially be accomplished through CCS—also called carbon sequestration—which involves separating and capturing the CO2 at the plant, transporting the CO2 to a disposal location, and storing it underground in depleted reservoirs, coal seams, or saline aquifers. There are many questions to answer about CCS technology and its environmental impact before it can be concluded that CCS will be successful in managing the CO2 produced when coal is the source of hydrogen for transportation. For example, the mass of CO2 that would have to be transported by pipeline would be twice the mass of natural gas transported today. This presents huge infrastructure issues. Also, CO2 transport and storage present safety issues. In 1986, an 80 million cubic foot eruption of CO2 in Cameroon killed 1,800 people. Another issue is that there must be tremendous subsurface capacity to be able to handle the high volumes of CO2 that will be generated over the next several millennia, and they must be able to trap the CO2 for hundreds of years. While most oil and natural gas reservoirs probably have sufficient trapping capability, they probably have a CO2 capacity of only a few decades to about 100 years.4 Saline aquifers and/or deep ocean storage will most likely be required, and very little is known about their suitability. Finally, the costs associated with high-volume CCS are completely unknown. CCS therefore has many issues to resolve before it can be concluded that coal is a viable feedstock for hydrogen in a carbon-constrained world (NRC/NAE, 2004). 4 Estimates of oil and gas reservoir capacities vary, but some estimate a range from about 25 billion tons to 40 or 50 billion tons of carbon in the United States (Beecy et al., 2002); also, G. Hill, “CO2 capture project: Hydrogen production with geologic sequestration,” Presentation to the Committee on Strategies and Alternatives for Future Hydrogen Production and Use on April 23, 2003. Emissions from light-duty vehicles are about 400 metric tons carbon/year in 2000, projected to increase to 700 metric tons carbon by 2050 assuming conventional gasoline-fueled vehicles only (NRC/NAE, 2004). Thus, light-duty vehicle CO2 emissions might be sequestered in U.S. oil and gas reservoirs for anywhere from a few decades to about 100 years.
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: First Report The CCS program at DOE is managed by FE. It is funded at $50 million to $60 million per year, with more long-term funding planned but not appropriated. The program contains core R&D programs and regional partnerships with industry that include field tests, environmental impact studies, public education programs, and systems studies.5 The core R&D program includes capture and geological, terrestrial, and ocean sequestration. In addition, the program has a number of milestones, including a significant 2012 goal of predicting CO2 storage capacities with a precision of ±30 percent. Thus, the program is broad and long term. The CCS program appears to the committee to encompass most if not all of the areas required to make CCS successful or at least to determine if CCS could prevent high volumes of CO2 from being added to the atmosphere by the use of coal. However, it is difficult to identify any ties between the CCS and HFCIT programs. It is very important that a CCS systems team develop an understanding of how the CO2 delivery infrastructure will be developed and ultimately configured. For example, what would be the best location for a coal plant relative to the associated hydrogen filling stations, the CO2 sequestration sites, and the coal supply? Successfully dealing with the need for carbon sequestration is critically important to making coal and natural gas acceptable energy sources in a carbon-constrained world. Research in this area should be an integral part of the program. Recommendation. DOE should create a CCS systems subteam (under the hydrogen production team) in the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership and make it part of the overall HFI. Terrestrial and ocean environments are options that may provide effective carbon storage over long time periods. The HFI will have to understand the real capacity and trapping integrity of hydrocarbon reservoirs and coal seams by 2010 to 2012 in order to determine if funding for the hydrogen from coal program should continue. Recommendation. The goal of ±30 percent precision in estimating CO2 capacity should be focused on geological storage. Recommendation. DOE should strengthen the ties between managers of the CCS effort at HFCIT and managers at FE by developing a specific CCS program for hydrogen within FE. In addition, DOE should increase the shared management responsibility of the CCS program between EERE and FE. 5 L. Miller and S. Klara, “Carbon capture and storage,” Presentation to the committee on March 21, 2005.
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: First Report HYDROGEN DELIVERY AND DISPENSING The hydrogen delivery and dispensing goals are based on the need to transport hydrogen long distances from the point of production to the point of use. The goal for hydrogen delivery and dispensing is as follows: Advance research aimed at developing low-cost, safe, and energy efficient hydrogen delivery systems. Catalyze the development of hydrogen delivery technologies that enable the introduction and long-term viability of hydrogen as an energy carrier for transportation and stationary power.6 The current delivery options are pipelines or tank trucks (carrying liquefied or compressed hydrogen), along with intermediate storage tanks and processing equipment. Three important issues surround the distribution infrastructure: large overall energy use during delivery, uniform codes and standards, and right-of-way approvals. Hydrogen delivery at the dispensing sites or filling stations is complicated particularly because this is where the consumer interface with the hydrogen takes place. The only long-term solution to the delivery problem may be to transport the hydrogen in liquid or solid form, using chemical hydrides or methanol as carriers. Alternatively, the transition technologies, such as electrolysis, might continue to be used. The principal challenge in the HFCIT program is to develop a hydrogen appliance (a device at the filling station that would convert, say, natural gas into hydrogen and dispense it to a vehicle) with demonstrated mass producibility and capable of operation in service stations and, possibly, homes. The appliance would have to operate reliably and safely with only periodic surveillance by relatively unskilled personnel (station attendants and consumers). It would be the critical component of the integrated, standardized fueling facilities essential for a hydrogen transition. The system weight and volume requirements for production, delivery, and dispensing of hydrogen are not as constrained as they are for onboard vehicle hydrogen storage. Storage losses, energy efficiency, and rapid dispensing are shared needs that will need focus as new hydrogen storage materials and processes emerge. Although there is greater latitude in energy and gravimetric densities for hydrogen storage in stationary applications than for onboard vehicle applications, new materials and process solutions must be developed for stationary applications. Currently, such densities are approximately 1 Wh/L and 1 Wh/ kg regardless of the application (stationary or onboard). For large-scale stationary applications, new storage mechanisms and/or processes have to be developed. Such developments will impact (positively) both applications. The Grand Challenge, recently funded hydrogen storage initiatives involving industry and academia, has just begun. Consequently, it is too early to predict its outcome. 6 G. Parks and M. Paster, “Delivery tech team,” Presentation to the committee on November 17, 2004.
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: First Report However, unique storage issues in the chain from production to tank are likely to be found, which could lead to high costs and energy losses. (See Chapter 3, section on hydrogen storage, for a discussion of onboard hydrogen storage for vehicles.) As discussed in Chapter 2, the learning demonstration programs are very important to validate current component and systems concepts and to uncover previously unknown issues. They will establish many system and engineering parameters for a complete operating hydrogen supply and fuel cell transportation system, especially for addressing the interfaces between the vehicle and the hydrogen fueling appliance, and between the appliance and the on-site production and/or refueling system. Recommendation. The technical teams working on hydrogen production, delivery, dispensing, and storage should identify the unique R&D needs for hydrogen storage for production, as well as for delivery and dispensing, that are not being adequately addressed by the current project portfolio. REFERENCES Beecy, D.A., V.A. Kuuskraa, and C. Schmidt. 2002. “A perspective on the potential role of geologic options in a national carbon management strategy.” Journal of Energy and Environmental Research 2(1). DOE (U.S. Department of Energy). 2004. Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure: Multi-Year Research, Development and Demonstration Plan, DOE/GO-102003-1741. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Available on the Web at <http://www.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/mypp/>. DOE. 2005. Department of Energy FY2006 Congressional Budget Request. DOE/ME-053. Available on the Web at <http://www.mbe.doe.gov/budget/06budget/Start.htm>. EIA (Energy Information Administration). 1999. U.S. Coal Reserves: 1997 Update Available on the Web at <http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/coal/reserves/front-1.html>. NRC/NAE (National Research Council/National Academy of Engineering). 2004. The Hydrogen Economy: Opportunities, Costs, Barriers, and R&D Needs. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.
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