Generating Renewable Hydrogen

While hydrogen is abundant in water and living matter, it rarely exists as a simple gas on Earth, which is why it must be separated from other elements. Although splitting water with electricity was used to produce hydrogen a century ago, taking hydrogen from fossil fuels proved far less expensive and remains the primary source of hydrogen today. With clean energy sources, such as solar, wind and hydro, becoming more affordable and available, we can make hydrogen with renewable energy, eliminating carbon emissions in a cost-effective way.

Electrolysis powered by solar and wind can split water molecules releasing only clean oxygen into the atmosphere, while storing then transporting the renewable energy as hydrogen to where and when needed.

The U.S. government is rapidly investing in decarbonization, driving down the cost of renewable energy and electrolyzers. And corporate demand for a reduced carbon footprint is driving demand up for cleaner energy solutions, such as renewable hydrogen. The bipartisan federal infrastructure bill included $8 billion to invest in at least four regional renewable hydrogen hubs. The Biden administration and Congress prioritized this technology in part because large-scale renewable hydrogen projects are already underway in European countries and the United States is working to catch up.

The Obsidian Pacific NW Hydrogen Hub will connect areas where renewable energy can be used to produce renewable hydrogen to regional commercial customers. Its storage pipeline will lower both production and transportation costs, providing the region with affordable access to this clean fuel. It will also develop an infrastructure that can connect to other hydrogen infrastructure projects in the broader region, such as the Intermountain West, and ultimately across the nation.

Renewable hydrogen facilitates the development of renewable energy in our sunnier and windier regions without increasing the strain on the electric grid. As more renewable energy comes online, it’s more cost-effective to deliver this energy through new storage pipelines than new power lines. A storage pipeline costs a third as much as a new high-voltage transmission line and can deliver three times as much energy.