Collaboration and Innovation Pave the Way for Green Hydrogen
Hydrogen is vital to a renewable energy future. It occupies a central role in the clean energy infrastructure of the future with implications for production, storage and many steps in between. Our newest collaboration with Heliogen, a renewable energy tech company, addresses an important problem by producing green hydrogen using concentrated solar power (CSP).
Heliogen and Bloom Energy are bringing our shared expertise in clean energy technology to accelerate the world’s progress toward a zero-carbon future. We will accomplish this by combining Heliogen’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered Sunlight Refinery solar power generation system with our highly efficient Bloom Electrolyzer.
We need renewables to decarbonize, but renewables aren’t always available and sometimes are curtailed at peak times. This combined solution addresses these challenges. Hydrogen provides long-term storage and transportable energy that can help to stop curtailment and encourages further renewables growth.
Further, to achieve decarbonization, we need to tackle the hard-to-abate industries in order to reduce emissions and make a measurable difference for the climate. Our collaboration with Heliogen unlocks the power of both technologies and has the potential to lower the carbon footprint of these industries, like cement, steel, or glass manufacturing.
We can accomplish this because green hydrogen can replace fossil-derived fuels in commercial and industrial applications. These industrial sectors are important economic drivers but have historically been difficult to decarbonize – they account for 37 percent of global energy use and nearly 40 percent of CO2 emissions. Reducing the carbon footprint in these sectors can have a noticeable effect on the planet.
Put another way, we are in the early stages of uncovering an opportunity to enable carbon-intensive industries crucial to a modern world, maintaining growth while limiting carbon output.
CSP technology comes in many shapes and sizes including towers, dishes and linear mirrors. These surfaces capture and concentrate sunlight into steam that can be used to power steam turbines, and then cool, condense and recycle the steam for repeat use.
There are many advantages to concentrated solar power. One primary benefit is that heated fluid can be stored and later utilized to make electricity even when the sun isn’t shining. This keeps the grid stable overnight, during cloudy or inclement weather days and hardens the grid by keeping production curves consistent. This form of storage is key to addressing concerns about always on reliability and ensuring grid resiliency. There are advantages compared to PV, too. The scale of CSP is what enables decarbonization of large-scale, hard-to-abate industries.
In the U.S., the Southwest is the most obvious natural domestic environment for capturing solar energy. Long days of bright and sunny skies in states like Arizona, California and Nevada are an ideal location for CSP. We are very excited about our new collaboration with Heliogen. Together, Bloom Energy’s electrolyzer and the Heliogen Sunlight Refinery, will be able to deliver 24/7 carbon-free energy in the form of heat, electricity and hydrogen at scale.
Bloom Energy is doing its part to enable the hydrogen economy by ensuring that hydrogen can be made and used as efficiently as possible. This is what differentiates Bloom and its technology. Efficiency must be a top priority for electrolysis, and the Bloom Electrolyzer is the most efficient electrolyzer on the market – its efficiency even increases when steam is input.
Hydrogen is projected to make up 18 percent of final energy demand by 2050. We are eager to work with the Heliogen team to deploy our first integrated solution at their Southern California commercial location later in 2021. Teaming up with compatible companies, like Heliogen, is core to our vision of a collaborative, partnership-led approach to addressing energy production for future generations.