It’s difficult throwing around terms like “world’s first” and “breakthrough” technology and this story probably doesn’t measure up to these standards. Nonetheless, it is important as another corporate entity is ready to put their money where their mouths are in regard to hydrogen technology.
Jetstream Wind Incorporated has just broken ground on a hydrogen power plant in Truth or Consequences (didn’t you just love that old game show?), New Mexico. The main idea behind this new renewable energy power plant is that they will use wind and solar energy and run the resulting electricity through water to create hydrogen gas.
The hydrogen gas will then be burned in a gas turbine similar to what other natural gas power plants are currently using. This in turn will create electricity for about 6,000 homes and businesses and create 150 construction jobs for the building of the plant. Excess hydrogen will be sold for cars and for medical purposes.
Now, I’ve talked about other hydrogen power plants in the past such as the natural gas project in Abu Dhabi, the garbage to hydrogen project in Italy, the chlor-alkali waste hydrogen plant in Ohio and the direct solar to hydrogen plant in Australia.
In regard to the Jetstream Wind project a couple of questions come to mind. First, if they are going to use wind and solar energy, why not just pipe this electricity straight to the grid instead of the energy intensive method of electrolysis to create hydrogen? Why not just use the excess electricity to create hydrogen for storage and later use.
And the second thing that comes to mind is that once you’ve created hydrogen for the primary or secondary energy source, why burn it inside a turbine and not run it through a fuel cell to create electricity? Jetstream says that there is proprietary information involved so they are not releasing many technical details of their new hydrogen plant.
But, one does have to wonder how this company plans to make its system more efficient than any other system and turn a profit while doing so.