Bloom Energy VP of Hydrogen Business Development Rick Beuttel discusses why our high-heat electrolyzer is more efficient than competing electrolyzer technology. He also discusses the potential for carbon capture.
Hydrogen and Carbon Capture Technologies | Bloom Energy 2022 Investor Conference
Video Length: 19:45
Bloom Energy Vice President of Hydrogen Business Development Rick Beuttel discusses why our high-heat electrolyzer is more efficient than competing electrolyzer technology. He also discusses the potential for carbon capture.
- Platform Superiority For Net-Zero
- Why We are Confident
- Being More Efficient Than Low Temperature Technologies
- Proven Performance
- Pathway to Scale
- Carbon Capture
- Economics, Zero Carbon Power
- Who Are We Going to Sell To?
- Rick Beuttel is vice president of Bloom Energy’s hydrogen business. In this role, he spearheads the company’s market strategy, serves as an evangelist for emerging hydrogen solutions, and develops relationships with industry leaders to continue momentum around Bloom’s hydrogen technology. Beuttel brings over three decades of experience in business development in the energy and industrial sectors, including extensive work deploying and scaling hydrogen projects across international markets. Before joining Bloom Energy, Beuttel served as vice president of business development at Air Products, overseeing the development and execution of large-scale energy projects, largely focused on hydrogen throughout the Americas. During this time, he was responsible for the deployment of over $8 billion of capital, including world-scale hydrogen projects in Eastern Louisiana, Edmonton, Alberta, the acquisition of hydrogen plants from PBF Energy, and other projects centered around hydrogen and synthesis gas production. Beuttel also held a number of senior roles across regions during his tenure at Air Products, including business manager for generated gasses in the Americas, business development manager for Latin America, and business manager for Asia tonnage focused on the semiconductor and display industries. Early in his career, Beuttel also served as business development director for TRiMEGA Electronics, LLC, a joint venture with the Kinetics Group. Beuttel holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration from Lehigh University and is also chairman of the board of the Lehigh Valley Velodrome.
Good morning everyone. It’s so energizing to be here with all of you after what we’ve gone through for the last few years. Isn’t it wonderful to just have the opportunity to be together, to have dinner together, to have conversations like this? It’s really wonderful, and I just want to thank all of you for making the journey from wherever you came to come here and spend some of your valuable time with us, hear our story, and ask some questions. Get to know us a little bit better. Rick Beuttel, I joined Bloom in January of this year after 31 years at Air Products. My last several years were developing very large hydrogen and syngas projects in the Americas. Bolted onto many of those projects were clean ammonia and renewable diesel. And when I looked at Bloom’s platform, and you’ve heard Sherlyn and KR and Greg talk about platform, and I’m going to talk about platform a lot. You look at the applicability of Bloom’s platform to high temperature process that’s going to be used to synthesize and manufacture all of these fuels of the future.
Whether it’s low carbon intensity ammonia, whether it’s methanol, renewable fuels, like sustainable aviation fuel, renewable diesel, or even hydrogen itself. Our platform, because it runs at a high temperature, is the most efficient way to make clean hydrogen from electricity. We’ll talk a little bit more about that. But all of those processes run at high temperatures. We integrate extraordinarily well, and it gives us a 15% to 30% advantage over competing electrolyzer technologies. The technology platform and its applicability to the growth of these fuels of the future is why I came to Bloom. And I’m really excited to be here today to talk to you not just about hydrogen but also carbon capture. Personally, I believe that in the long run, by 2050, there will be a trend of everything will be electrified or everything will be fueled by hydrogen. There’s a long time between now and 2050 and natural gas, particularly in regions where it’s abundant like, the country we’re sitting in right now or our neighbors to the north and south. Is going to play an incredibly important role in continuing to supply mankind’s energy needs. Particularly considering the abundant sequestration geology that we’re blessed with, and we understand quite well from decades of oil and gas exploration. I’m going to talk to you about hydrogen. I’m going to talk to you about carbon capture. As soon as the slide advances.
Platform Superiority For Net-Zero
I spoke about how we have the most efficient electrolysis technology. Probably all of us have really tried hard to forget our high school chemistry classes, our high school physics classes, our college thermodynamics classes. I know I have, but it’s a matter of simple chemistry and simple thermodynamics. Our device runs at 800 degrees Z, give or take because it runs at such a high temperature. We need to input less electricity to produce a kilogram, a normal cubic meter, a standard cubic foot of hydrogen than low temperature electrolysis technologies like PEM and alkaline. And I really mentioned, earlier, one of the things that best suits our platform are the synthesis of these fuels of the future.
And right now, we don’t need to make any bets as to whether methanol’s going to succeed over ammonia or is it going to be renewable diesel made from beef tallow and use cooking oil. Or is it going to be sustainable aviation fuel, or is it going to be the hydrogen molecule itself? Because our technology is the best route to hydrogen compared to any other way of doing this, If you want to do it truly cleanly. I spoke about carbon capture. I’ve done some carbon capture projects in my past life. I did a very, very large one in Louisiana, also one in Edmonton, Alberta. Our technology already, all of the 700 megawatts of installed base that we have out there in power generation, already emits an antiga stream, which is very, very rich in carbon dioxide. And further on in the presentation, I’m going to talk about how this proven technology, which is in every device that we’ve built and all the devices were going to be built, can be very, very simply modified with some piping connections so that we can work with partners as Cheryl Lynn talked about, to either use that carbon dioxide for beneficial purposes like food and beverage or to sequester that carbon dioxide and produce 24/7, 0 carbon intensity power, which is a value in many industries today. But I think ultimately, in the long term, we all acknowledge we’re going to need 24/7, 0 carbon power to limit temperature rise to hopefully one and a half degrees. Just a further thought on that, I don’t know how many of you may have gone to CERAweek this year and listened to Secretary Granholm, and Special Environmental Envoy Kerry. Speak about the challenges of holding one and a half degree C and how we’re going to need all of these technologies. I would have to say it was wonderful a to be back at CERAweek and and bond with the community and the energy industry again. But you would’ve been not terribly mistaken to think that it was a hydrogen and carbon capture conference, not necessarily a global energy conference. And the last CERAweek that I went to, I guess, was 2019. Yes, hydrogen’s important, but people that were talking to us about hydrogen at that time. What did they want to know, and what did they want in hydrogen?
They wanted hydrogen that was cheap, and they wanted hydrogen that was reliable. Why? Because they’re running barrels through their refinery or they’re making ammonia. In the last two years, our collective consciousness has changed. And now, every conversation with respect to hydrogen is how are you making the hydrogen and what is the environmental footprint of that hydrogen production. And if it’s electrolysis, how efficient is it? Where’s the electricity coming from? If it’s so called blue hydrogen, where you start with natural gas and you sequester the CO2, how are you doing that? Can you get a class six well permit? What does the geology look like? Are you certain that that hydrogen, once you shove it 7,000 feet underground, is actually going to stay there? And what safeguards are you putting in place to do that? It’s really fascinating to me, and I’ll bring it back to carbon capture before I move on to the slide. With the 45q tax credit, even at the current level of $50 a ton. We are very, very close, and I’ll walk through economics to parity with combined cycle with anode gas carbon capture from our fuel cell if it’s sequestered. And that’s again for 24/7, 0 carbon intensity power. That doesn’t depend on if it’s sun shining if the wind’s blowing or there was a lot of snow the winter before, that’s going to, you know, melt in have robust flow in streams.
Why We Are Confident
Really, this slide should say why are we confident that with our technology we’re going to meet or exceed what we have all looked at in terms of a forecast for our market penetration in hydrogen and our growth in hydrogen. And what I would pose to this group is that three quarters of the applications for low carbon intensity, hydrogen, clean hydrogen, I’ll use colors. I’m not personally in favor of using colors, but find green or pink hydrogen. Three quarters of the applications are high temperature applications. Our device is a high temperature device. The customers are hosts, the people that are going to buy hydrogen from us that are running exothermic processes. And again, you know, high school chemistry, we’ve all tried to forget that, but processes that give off heat in addition to making a molecule of renewable diesel or a molecule of ammonia. We can take the value of that heat quite simply and not feed water into our electrolyzer as every electrolyzer company does.
And, we can take water. But if we’re able to feed steam into our electrolyzer, really to me that is the game changer that gives us a specific power. Again, kilowatt hours of electric energy per kilogram of hydrogen. That’s 30% or more efficient than competing technologies than low temperature technologies. All of these segments, I said it, the fuels of the future. Sustainable aviation fuel, renewable diesel, ammonia, we don’t care what wins. We’re hedged to all of these. Whatever wins, we have the killer application to deliver it. And even sort of historically sleepy segments, steel production, steel making isn’t going anywhere. If you look at all the infrastructure in this country and around the world that needs to be replaced. Zero carbon steel is going to be trading at a premium in the future. Similarly, other hard to decarbonize segments like cement, the cement industry very focused in looking at this. You can deal with a third of the challenge of producing cement from clinker with hydrogen, using hydrogen as a fuel as opposed to really, really dirty fuels. Like no kidding, like bunker scrap tires, pet coke.
I mean you can imagine the combustion CO2 footprint and not just the CO2 footprint. All the other nasties that go up the stack when you’re using waste fuels like that. Three quarters of the applications we’re dialed in for and these are all applications that are going to remain where they are or most likely going to grow. And finally, one more thought on this slide. Everybody’s got their own forecast of how much hydrogen’s going to be required. I like the IEA one. Bloom is now a member of the Global Hydrogen Council, and actually there’s a meeting of the Global Hydrogen Council next week in Washington DC. They just issued a new forecast of course, it’s going up. Unless you have a crystal ball, you don’t know what it’s going to be, but it’s going to be tremendously large and we are very well positioned to capture it.
Being More Efficient Than Low Temperature Technologies
We are more efficient than low temperature technologies. This is a view based on today’s costs. Three quarters of the cost of making clean hydrogen is the electricity itself. Our efficiency, if we’re fed with steam is under 40 kilowatt hours per kilogram. And that casts a longer shadow than every other component in the equation. I’m not saying capital cost isn’t important, I’m not saying O&M cost isn’t important. I’m not saying that any other facet, whether it’s degradation or efficiency, and by the way, during our stack lifetime, unlike PEM and alkaline, we don’t lose capacity. We don’t lose efficiency. We’re level, steady eddie during the life of the analysis. But no matter how you slice it, efficiency carries the day. And whether it’s with steam, as I spoke of, if you’re integrating with a high temperature customer process or we’re fed with water because not every process on the planet is a high temperature process. We’re markedly better than competing technologies like PEM and alkaline.
And I’ll just riff for a moment on something that Greg said. We also don’t have iridium in our box. We also don’t have platinum in our box. Everything in there is not a rare earth metal. It’s nothing that we don’t have difficulty finding. It’s all dual sourced, and to the best of my knowledge, Satit, I don’t think any of it comes from Russia or the Ukraine. Thank you.
We talked about efficiency, so I’m not going to beat that to death any further. Proven performance, we’ve got 700 megawatts of fuel cells out there operating today. It’s going to be a gigawatt by the end of the calendar year. If you were to do electrolysis equivalent of that installed base, that’s almost two and a half gigawatts. Manufacturing platform I hope everyone got the opportunity to walk around and see this beautiful factory that’s just been built. All the tools and equipment that’s moving in. The manufacturing platform for electrolysis is identical to the manufacturing platform for fuel cell, which Bloom have been practicing for 15 years. The factory is flexible the order book in a given month, if it’s a hundred percent fuel cell, that’s what the factory builds. If the next week, we sell an electrolyzer to an ammonia producer and we need to adjust and say okay, we’re going to cram an electrolyzer into it. It’s real time adjustable. It’s the same materials, it’s the same platform, it’s the same inks. All of the know-how, all of the IP that has been developed with respect to fuel cell is directly applicable to electrolysis. And finally, I come from the big hydrogen world. Our modular approach in terms of what it offers the customer in terms of, we speak about it in electricity terms, in electrons as resiliency in the molecule world, we think of that as availability. And so if you’re building a steam reformer, if you’re building an auto thermal reformer, you’re very happy to get 97% or 98% availability. With our modular architecture and a number of stacks all operating in parallel. As a minimum, you can expect two nines availability. But our fuel cell experience has been five nines availability. And that just does not exist in the process plant world. It’s really, really a compelling story.
Pathway to Scale
Where are we? We launched the product in 2021. We have done a series of small scale demonstrations, and happy to speak in some more detail about that with anyone in the room. We are now in the process of launching 10 megawatt demonstrations. And actually we just announced fortuitously this morning that we’re able to reach agreement with an ammonia producer, LSB Industries. We also are talking to other customers in other segments such as we’re refining and renewable fuels, and the nuclear industry who are all focused on getting to clean hydrogen. As we get through that in 2022, we deploy those units in late ’22, early ’23. Really that’s like the final set of pre-production cars that go down the line and we work the bugs out, and then we’re ready for large orders starting in the second half of 2023. And my view personally, is that the world will be ready for that with us because they’ll be able to go look, see, touch, feel, see the efficiency. Talk to the operators, understand the resiliency, understand the availability. And that is going to be a big differentiator for us, and it’s going to supercharge our efforts in this segment.
I’ll spend some time on carbon capture. What I’d like you to think about with respect to Bloom and carbon capture compared to conventional power production, so for example, with a combined cycle gas turbine. If you look at the exhaust of a combined cycle gas turbine compared to the exhaust that comes out of our fuel cell, much higher CO2 concentration. We’re over 50% CO2 in the exhaust. In a combined cycle facility that might be 4%. Much less mass flow because we don’t have all that nitrogen that’s just going along for the ride. What does that mean? That means if you’re trying to get to CO2 that you can do something with and take economic advantage of it. Whether it’s sequestration with a $50 45q, or God willing in the future, an $85 45q. Or you’re looking to commercialize it and do something with it.
It’s much less energy to purify it because you’re starting with a much higher concentration of CO2. And it’s also little silly things in the EPC. Like the pipes are a lot smaller you also put a lot less Capex into the ground. Getting from our 52% CO2 stream that comes out of the exhaust of the box. About 40% is also water. Really easy to knock that water out. Dehydration, very, very mature technology. The other technologies to go to 95% or 99% or greater, that’s sequester or usable as industrial grade CO2 for food and beverage or heat treating or other applications. All very mature technologies, very well known practice for decades. These are all things mankind knows how to do.
Economics, Zero Carbon Power
Evidently it’s not what I know how to do. Advance the clicker here. I spoke about combined cycle, dirty power, gray power, the power we’re all probably using in our homes and businesses. 6 cents a kilowatt hour now that’s subject to $3 gas, yada yada yada levelized. If you were to try and capture the exhaust of that and sequester it and get the 45q benefit, that 6 cents a kilowatt hour jumps to about 10 cents a kilowatt hour. With Bloom because of the concentration in CO2 in our exhaust and the ease of making that sequesterable. Our number is very, very close, six and a half cents. And again, that’s for 24/7, green power. I guess it would be blue power, 24/7 carbon-free power. How about that? We’ll settle on that as a compromise. It’s much simpler because we’re starting with a higher purity stream.
It’s very scalable.We can fit a hundred megawatts of power generation in about an acre. And what does that unlock? That unlocks very low barriers to siting. What do you need to be near in order to site this and do carbon capture? Really? You either need to be near the hole in the ground or a pipeline to the hole in the ground to sequestration. But from a placement of these assets standpoint, because we have no knocks, no socks, no particulates, it’s quiet. They’re actually pretty good looking. I think you guys probably saw what the boxes look like. I mean, I think they’re aesthetically pleasing. Very low barriers to sitting.
Who Are We Going to Sell To?
Two more points. Who are we going to sell this stuff to? The people that are coming to us now, and asking us questions about this today. Are people that are manufacturing products that are traded on their carbon intensity. Sheryl Lynn talked about renewable diesel, and even our base platform without carbon capture is significantly more efficient than the grid from a CO2 perspective. If you add carbon capture, and you’re able to take the benefit of the 45q into your economic calculation, you get to zero carbon power. And then your ammonia, your renewable diesel, your saf, your methanol, you can sell it at a much higher premium. And Greg said it, Cheralyn said it. And now we’re value selling. We’re not just competing against a grid. We can put some of that margin in our pocket. I think ultimately, it would be hard for any of us to disagree that we all need 24/7 0 carbon power, that’s a fact. With Bloom, that can be done economically. And again, we don’t depend on the sun shining? Is the wind blowing? Did it snow last winter? Can you get a nuclear permit? Thank you very much.