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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hydrogen Infrastructure

Infrastructure


The development of a national hydrogen production infrastructure to support a hydrogen economy could evolve along one or more pathways using, for example, a distributed production infrastructure located at the point of use, or a centralized production infrastructure at large industrial production sites. While distributed hydrogen production requires smaller capital investments and a minimal transport and delivery infrastructure, centralized production achieves the economic benefits of mass production.

Power parks, which produce electricity and hydrogen, typically produce hydrogen during off-peak hours so they can provide electricity during high grid loads or blackouts. Power parks are another production pathway for providing transportation fuel.

Role in the Transition to a Hydrogen Economy

A new hydrogen economy requires cost-effective hydrogen production and expanded hydrogen infrastructure to ensure that end-users have convenient access to hydrogen energy. Like many technologies, research, development and demonstration must continue to lower cost, increase efficiency and address emissions issues associated with some hydrogen production technologies. The transition to a hydrogen economy features a variety of processes from a diverse resource base. At this point, the U.S. transition will likely build on the existing infrastructure and begin with a fossil fuel-dominant mix in the near-term, followed by an increasing presence of renewables and possibly nuclear energy.

Major Hydrogen Production Processes


DISTRIBUTED PRODUCTION – Located at the point of use; scalable. Often produces smaller quantities of hydrogen (To refuel about 50-300 vehicles per day).

CENTRALIZED PRODUCTION – Central production stations would feature pipelines or other transport infrastructures to deliver the hydrogen to points of use. (To refuel about 50,000 vehicles per day.)

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