Lessons from the 2021 Texas Hydrogen Roundtable

On January 12th, 2021, the UT Energy Institute and Cockrell School of Engineering hosted the Texas Hydrogen Roundtable. The event brought together international thought leaders from industry, government, and academia to discuss near-term challenges and opportunities across the hydrogen value-chain. The expert discussants, totaling more than 20 leaders, took deep dives into hydrogen production, storage and distribution, transportation, and industrial applications, identifying first movers as well as critical gaps where private investment and adaptation to public policy are needed. 

The Roundtable identified points of consensus across distinct groups and raised new questions about the timeliness of opportunities for Texas’s hydrogen economy ambitions. 

Hydrogen Production. 10 million metric tons of H2 already produced annually, but mainlining requires achieving clarity on expectations for low-carbon blue and green hydrogen 

  • Near and medium-term blue hydrogen cost advantages present an opportunity for accelerating scale-up as a bridge fuel as hydrogen market share increases overall  
  • Non-harmonized policy prescriptions and policy goals are a tension threatening near-term market potential of low-carbon hydrogen production 
  • DOE is launching H2NEW, an electrolyzer consortium, with a goal of reducing production costs to below $2/kg for green hydrogen 

Hydrogen Storage and Distribution. High-capacity hydrogen storage, which has one-third the energy capacity of natural gas, is an infrastructure limitation that must be addressed 

  • Electrolyzer hydrogen production from renewables is making headway 
  • Mitsubishi partnered with Intermountain Power Plant in Utah for a demonstration project  
  • Similarities to liquefied natural gas have accelerated pace of hydrogen storage and transmission demonstration 
  • Geological storage methods, the most common current approach for natural gas, likely go-to technique for large-volume hydrogen storage 
  • Liquefied hydrogen supply chain expected to resemble evolution of the LNG supply chain in recent years 

Hydrogen Applications in Transportation. Pairing deployment of FCEVs with ramp up of hydrogen production and transmission infrastructure is an opportunity to derive economic and decarbonization synergies.  

  • Blue hydrogen presents an opportunity for Texas to carbon intensity in transportation while driving down hydrogen technology costs 
  • Leveraging extended driving range and short refueling times, coupling FCEVs deployment in Texas’s trucking sector with emergent hydrogen industry is a first-mover opportunity 
  • The DOE’s Million Mile Fuel Cell Truck Consortium kicking off to emphasize fuel cell durability, performance, and cost 

Industrial Applications and Opportunities. Hydrogen is one of a few pathways with market ready opportunities to decarbonize heavy industry, in which some processes like ammonia production already use hydrogen 

  • A staged approach for transitioning to a zero-carbon hydrogen industry begins with installing fit-for-purpose hydrogen technologies and integrating blue hydrogen; graduating to green hydrogen as costs fall 
  • 24-hour operating schedule common in heavy industry requires a constant, reliable power supply, which limits uptake of renewables but not hydrogen 
  • With ongoing learning benefits and cost reductions, hydrogen could substitute for natural gas in high temperature industrial heat applications 

Texas Hydrogen Roundtable: Benefiting from an Emerging Technology

View the full program video playlist and download the slides

Welcome and Objectives

Christine Dixon Thiesing, Office of the Vice President for Research, UT Austin

Bob Hebner, Center for Electromechanics, UT Austin

Varun Rai, Energy Institute, UT Austin

Energy in Texas: Policymakers’ View

Remarks by The Honorable Michael McCaul, U.S. House of Representatives

Co-Chair, Congressional High Tech Caucus

Remarks by The Honorable Drew Darby, Texas House of Representatives

Vice Chair of the House Business & Industry Committee and Member, House Energy Resources Committee

Underlying Context for Hydrogen: Global and U.S. Perspective

Bob Hebner, Center for Electromechanics, UT Austin

Sunita Satyapal, U.S. Department of Energy

Daryl Wilson, Hydrogen Council

H2@Scale Project and Other Hydrogen Research at UT Austin

Nico Bouwkamp, Frontier Energy

Varun Rai, Energy Institute, UT Austin

Hydrogen Production: Pathways and Critical Needs

Al Burgunder, Linde

Joe Powell, Shell

Nakul Prasad, Siemens

Brian Weeks, Gas Technology Institute

Remarks by The Honorable Marc Veasey, U.S. House of Representatives

Member, House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Hydrogen Storage and Distribution: Infrastructure Development and Coordination

Bob Oesterreich, Chart Industries

Gordon Salahor, Wolf Midstream

Mark Shuster, Bureau of Economic Geology, UT Austin

Hydrogen Applications in Transportation and Power Generation

Matthew McCluskey, EDF Renewables

Ricky Sakai, Mitsubishi

Ed Young, Toyota

Industrial Applications and Opportunities for Hydrogen

Tristan Aspray, ExxonMobil

Jack Broodo, Dow

Brett Perlman, Center for Houston’s Future

Preparing Texas for a Hydrogen Future: Concluding Discussion