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Author Topic: Renewable Hydrogen Power  (Read 1317 times)

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    • Renwable Revolution

Jan 20 2022, 6:39 PM By Shaun Robinson

GlobalFoundries’ offices in Essex. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

GlobalFoundries plans to pilot ‘green hydrogen’ system

BURLINGTON — GlobalFoundries plans to produce and use “green hydrogen” to heat its manufacturing plant in Essex Junction, working with Vermont Gas Systems and the University of Vermont to pilot a fuel source that could be adopted more widely across the state.

Green hydrogen gets its moniker because the gas is extracted without producing new carbon emissions. Electricity from renewable sources, such as wind or solar, is used to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen, a process that’s called electrolysis.

Most hydrogen used for fuel today is extracted from 🦕 fossil fuels , generating excess carbon emissions. This gas is known as “gray” or “blue” hydrogen.

GlobalFoundries plans to use green hydrogen to displace some of the 🦕 gas in the existing natural gas lines at its “Fab 9” campus. If the pilot succeeds, the company then wants to incorporate green hydrogen into its 🤖 chip manufacturing process

The project, called the Vermont Green Hydrogen Partnership , was announced at a press conference Thursday at the University of Vermont. It’s the first of its kind in the state, representatives from GlobalFoundries and Vermont Gas Systems said.

Green hydrogen is a key strategy in diversifying our fuel supply with renewable options,” said Neale Lunderville, president and CEO of Vermont Gas Systems. “This project will demonstrate the value of renewable fuel in high-tech manufacturing, which is a critical element of fighting climate change.”

One challenge in producing green hydrogen is its cost. Currently, green hydrogen is 2 to 3 times more expensive to produce than hydrogen from fossil fuels , according to a December 2020 report from the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Vermont Gas Systems plans to fund the project, Lunderville said, though organizers have not finalized the cost. Partnering with UVM on the project could help organizers secure federal grants and offer opportunities for students, he said.

“We know from our experience with all types of renewable energy, costs start high, and then they go down,” Lunderville said.

Construction is slated to begin in 2023, provided regulatory approval is granted by then.

Lunderville said expanding green hydrogen production could help Vermont Gas Systems meet its commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. For instance, he said, the company could use the fuel to displace existing natural gas throughout its network.

And Vermont Gas Systems could one day use its network to store excess renewable electricity as green hydrogen, then convert it back into electricity when needed, Lunderville said.

8% of Vermont’s electricity

The pilot project comes amid GlobalFoundries’ proposal to make Fab 9 an independent energy utility, buying energy from the regional wholesale market rather than Green Mountain Power. That would reduce its electricity costs, the company has said.

At the same time, environmentalists contend this could allow the multibillion-dollar company to shirk its responsibility in helping the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions as required by the 2020 Global Warming Solutions Act.

GlobalFoundries, headquartered in Malta, New York, has said it uses 8% of Vermont’s electricity — more than the city of Burlington. Based on estimates from Renewable Energy Vermont, a clean energy advocacy organization, the company’s manufacturing processes contribute to 3% of Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In response to a question Thursday, Kenneth McAvey, vice president and general manager of Fab 9 for GlobalFoundries, said the green hydrogen project demonstrates the company’s commitment to reducing its carbon emissions at the facility.

The money saved by making Fab 9 an independent utility would allow GlobalFoundries to further invest in projects such as green hydrogen production, he said.

“Our ongoing initiatives will be well organized and focused on putting our state in the forefront of green energy innovation,” McAvey said.

Thursday’s press conference also included a cameo from U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

In pre-recorded remarks, Leahy congratulated the organizations involved in the project and said he would help bring it to the attention of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Disclosure: Neale Lunderville is a board member of the Vermont Journalism Trust, parent organization of VTDigger.


The question becomes, why use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen and then use the hydrogen to power fuel cells that make electricity when you can? Every time energy is converted from one form to another, losses inevitably occur.

🤔 agelbert > ctromley
Based on what you just wrote, which is admittedly logical and fact based, crude oil would never have been converted into gasoline in a refinery. The gamed Energy Return on Energy Invested (i.e. ERoEI) numbers of hydrocarbon fuels are based on MONEY (i.e government welfare queen subsidy swag and tax breaks and oil shocks and wars and so on), not actual energy units. The electricity used in refineries is VAST (e.g. Oil Refineries are the LARGEST source of electrical demand in Texas!), yet they NEVER input that energy COST into crude oil per barrel ERoEI because it is A) subsidized and B) mostly from coal generated electricity (still true to a large extent).

The hydrocarbon crooks have kept that scam going for over a century. When ALL the ACTUAL energy costs of producing hydrocabon fuels are input into the ERoEI formula, hydrocarbons have a NEGATIVE ERoEI. Yet, they have been the energy basis of our thoroughly polluted civilization for over a century.

The issue here is not simply ERoEI, but pollution costs. We, as a civilization, need to stop fixating on "energy efficiency" numbers and, instead, soberly look at environmental costs above any other consideration.

Because Renewables are so easily harvested, they do not need to be so efficient. For example, a solar panel will make electricity, whether you need it or not, as long as the sun is shining. Also, as long as the wind is blowing, a wind turbine will do likewise. There is a place for that excess electricity, which comes to us at almost ZERO cost. Yes, we will send more of it to battery banks but, in addition, we should use it to make clean green hydrogen as well.

Hydrogen gas is required for many chemical processes. At this moment, it is the hydrocarbon industry that supplies ALL OF IT! Do you want them to be able to continue with that grossly ERoEI NEGATIVE (even worse than for making hydrocarbon fuels!) production of Hydrogen from methane? I don't.

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37


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