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Texas: From Carbon Emitter to Green Hydrogen Exporter – A Promising Sustainable Future
March 8, 2023 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Speaker: Haiyang Lin, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard-China Project on Energy, Economy and Environment
Texas, as the largest oil and natural gas producer in the United States, faces significant challenges in the global move towards decarbonization. As a potential solution, this study examines the feasibility of investing in green hydrogen, a promising alternative to oil and gas as a primary energy source. By harnessing its abundant wind and solar resources, Texas has the potential to become a major producer and exporter of green hydrogen, reducing its carbon footprint and promoting a sustainable energy future. This talk is part of comparative research on the same topics in China, led by Chinese researcher Dr. Haiyang Lin, and drawing on knowledge from China.
This research conducts detailed simulations and optimizations of green hydrogen supply scenarios, incorporating decarbonization of the power sector in Texas. The objective is to explore the role of Texas’s green hydrogen in decarbonizing its economy and reducing the carbon footprint of energy use in the United States more broadly. First, the potential of renewable sources is estimated. Hydrogen supply, pipeline planning, and grid expansion are then integrated to assess opportunities for using zero-carbon hydrogen in transport services, industrial processes, and chemical production. The study reveals that Texas has significant advantages in an expanding hydrogen economy, including abundant renewable sources, existing infrastructure, and availability of salt caverns for storage, all of which provide both scale and cost benefits, as well as enhanced grid stability. Under 2030 low carbon policy restrictions, more than 20 million tons of hydrogen can be produced and then used as fuel or converted to other chemicals at a competitive cost compared to fossil fuel sources. Retrofitting extensive oil and gas pipelines originating from Texas or constructing new pipelines, Texas can maintain its role as an energy exporter, contributing to the energy needs of the country in a sustainable manner.
Our work considers the possibility of importing the cheap alkaline electrolyzer from China to Texas to help the state develop a green hydrogen economy. Chinese electrolyzer is one third of the cost for US eclectrolyzer. We simulated their utilization in Texas and highlighted the impact of importing Chinese electrolyzer on green H2 production in terms of levelized H2 cost and scale.
Meanwhile, given the similarities of Texas and Inner Mongolia in fossil fuel consumption, industrial development, and renewable power endowment, we are looking for collaborations to pursue a comparative study on Inner Mongolia, China. This seminar will focus on Texas’s green hydrogen economy but the research framework and methodology we developed are well applicable for studying other regions.