Supercharging Electrolyzers to Support Zero-Emission Hydrogen Generation
Recent CLEE/UCLA report identifies policy solutions to grow electrolyzer adoption
Join us for a webinar on December 13 at 12 PM to debate the report’s findings.
Hydrogen could play a critical role in helping California to decarbonize its electricity grid and achieve carbon neutrality. The gas may be generated from surplus renewable energy resources (like solar or wind) to create zero-emission (or “green”) hydrogen. The clean electricity powers a tool called an electrolyzer, which uses the strategy of electrolysis to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen can then be used to assist decarbonize high-heat industrial activities, provide long-duration energy storage, and fuel transportation, especially heavy-duty trucks, ships, and possibly airplanes.
Yet today, zero-emission hydrogen is roughly triple the price of traditional fossil-based hydrogen production. Electrolyzer project developers also face hurdles around producing, storing, transporting, and facilitating cost-effective purchases of their zero-emission hydrogen.
To handle the challenge, the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) at Berkeley Law and the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA Law are today releasing a recent report, Supercharging Electrolyzers: Boosting Zero-Emission Hydrogen Production and Deployment in California. It highlights policies that would scale zero-emission hydrogen in a way that reduces fossil fuel demand, enhances state energy resiliency, creates recent job opportunities, and contributes to improved air quality in disadvantaged communities. The recommendations could also help the state secure a portion of the $8 billion in competitive grant funds for Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs that the U.S. Department of Energy announced as a part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021.
Among the many priority options to support California electrolyzer deployment, Supercharging Electrolyzers recommends that state leaders consider:
- Establishing a state zero-emission hydrogen roadmap to support the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Hub grant application
- Mandating that each one hydrogen production be zero-emission or require hydrogen production to be magnitudes cleaner than fossil-based hydrogen production
- Supporting local governments with best practice guides to expedite land use approvals for electrolyzers and needed hydrogen distribution infrastructure
- Setting statewide “High Road” job standards for the hydrogen economy workforce.
California is well positioned to leverage its clean energy policy and cleantech industry to cut back the prices of electrolysis-based zero-emission hydrogen. The state is already increasing investments and policy support for electrolyzers. For instance, the 2022-2023 California budget included $100 million for 10 to fifteen business demonstration projects and can deal with each lowering the price of electrolyzers and demonstrating the usage of zero-emission hydrogen for industrial activities, power plants, and energy storage. In September 2022, Governor Newsom signed a bill requiring the California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, and the California Public Utilities Commission to discover the role of electrolytic hydrogen in helping to attain the state’s climate goals.
To see the total list of proposed solutions, download the report here.
To learn more, please join us on December 13 at 12:00 PM PT for a webinar to debate the report and California’s zero-emission hydrogen production efforts, featuring:
- Senator Nancy Skinner, California State Senate
- Tyson Eckerle, Senior Advisor for Clean Infrastructure and Mobility, California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)
- Jesse N. Marquez, Executive Director, Coalition for a Protected Environment
RSVP for the webinar here.