capacity for other purposes. However, as a measure of potential resource availability, off-peak capacity could in principle fuel more than a third of the light-duty fleet for a daily drive of 33 miles on average (Kintner-Meyer et al., 2006).
In considering the current and future electric power sector, there are three ways in which it could be a significant factor in a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (HFCV) future: (1) hydrogen production, either through electrolysis or co-production with electricity, (2) synergies between fuel cells for transportation and stationary applications, and (3) use of electric power for battery-powered vehicles. On this basis, three groups of questions emerge:
To increase the hydrogen available for transportation by 2020 and/or 2035, what could be done in the stationary power sector to accelerate hydrogen production? What are the technological requirements? What incentives would help?
How best can we develop and accelerate the use of hydrogen in the stationary power sector by 2020 and/or 2035? Again, what are the technological requirements and incentives?
Is there a plausible alternative use of the stationary power sector’s excess capacity and infrastructure that can result in a viable alternative to hydrogen use in transportation in 2020 and/or 2035?
It is useful first to examine the technological readiness of the systems mentioned earlier and the likelihood of their deployment in 2020 and 2035.
Producing hydrogen as a transportation fuel is somewhat similar to producing electricity for stationary use because both are energy carriers that require primary energy sources (mainly coal, nuclear, natural gas, and hydropower). About 40 percent of all energy used in the United States goes to producing electricity, which is the main form of energy in the residential and commercial sectors. Less than 3 percent of electricity is produced from oil as shown in Figure 5.2.
Furthermore, power plant emissions have declined significantly even though electricity demand continues to grow. This is shown for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) in Figure 5.3. In the future, expected pressures for cleaner electricity production processes will continue the evolution toward low or zero emissions. In addition, the power industry is facing a significant challenge to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in anticipation of a future carbon constraint. This has resulted in a move toward low or zero-carbon emitting technologies (i.e., renewable energy, nuclear energy, and fossil energy with carbon capture and storage). Tying hydrogen production to the industry’s assets
and processes could extend electric power benefits into the transportation sector, which is currently heavily oil dependent, with attendant pollutant and GHG emissions. Toward this end, an ad hoc group, the Hydrogen Utility Group, was formed in 2005 by nine power companies with the support of the Department of Energy/National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Electric Power Research Institute and National Hydrogen Association to explore the potential synergies between electricity and hydrogen production.
As explained in Chapter 3, electrolysis (splitting water molecules to release hydrogen) is a proven, commercially