Testing fuel quality, performance, and safety

Hi @anis, @erinnvw, @adventureashr, @Irina, @Mahmoudburai, @Access600, @Shepard, @KeithDPatch, @dwcollins1960, @CamCarbonCapture, @hopkepk, @bartc, @jwangjun, @ACESChris, @peterstyring, @Adaryani, @josephjjames - curious to know if you have any inputs to share on testing framework or standard for green fuels? What parameters of green fuels should be analyzed to evaluate fuel quality, estimate performance, safety and efficiency.

The carbon intensity of green molecules is very important.
I was on CertifHy Work Group 1, which established the world’s first Guarantees of Origin (GoO) for low-carbon, green hydrogen in the EU. And I have recently suggested to Australian non-profits that they align their green hydrogen certification with CertifHy’s GoO. Otherwise, the EU might refuse to buy any blue or green Australian hydrogen.

Thanks @KeithDPatch and @lauramatrax for sharing this insights.

@akb We were actually considering how to best address it – account for the importance of the transition to clean, renewable energy (acknowledging that a lot of the existing infrastructure/conversion tech is often slow to change), but help promote a future of electrification. One approach was to demonstrate all use cases but evaluate (score) differently. Do you see value in this? or, do you other ideas?

The problem that you are faced with is that some portions of the economy do not fit well with electrification. Thus, you would have to think about how those sectors could be made carbon neutral. Hydrogen as a fuel has some issues. The real question is whether resolving those issues is really cheaper than CCS, which would allow the use of a fossil fuel in its current mode. Think about a jet aircraft. Hydrogen is not a real solution for that sector. Jet fuel can be made from biomass, for example, but at what cost. And if that process involves CCS, that begs the question of why CCS cannot be used elsewhere. You have to think about how thermal energy is needed and used. The cement making process uses thermal energy to calcine limestone. Even if the energy source is carbon free, the limestone is not. Calcium carbonate breaks down to lime and CO2. That CO2 would still have to be captured and either stored or utilized. Relative to the cost issue, it makes a difference what kind of entity owns the process. Different entities have different costs of capital (ie money). That will make the comparison between whatever fuel is produced and CCS more difficult. I would suggest, as a first concept, that the cost of whatever clean fuel is produced has to be compared to the cost of burning natural gas with CCS. Natural gas has the advantage of storage, transportability, and existing infrastructure. CCS, right now, is problematical as there is no sequestration site that has the capacity to accept large quantities of CO2 and prove that it remains sequestered. There are current uses for CO2, but not enough to handle gigaton levels. On a US basis, if around 20% of current CO2 emissions eventually had to be captured and stored, the sequestration site, or sites, would have to accept around 1.4 gigatons/yr. That assumes that the other 80% gets done by other means. Solar and wind, by themselves, will not be able to accomplish this economically. Their capacity factor is too low. Here in New England, the capacity factor for roof top solar is 11%. A battery, by itself, does not solve this problem. A battery is not an energy source. It has to be charged from an energy source. If that source is roof top solar, then to get a steady Mw on a 24/7 basis, at least 10 Mw will have to be built. That drives the cost of solar up by a factor of 10, not including the cost of the battery. Substituting hydrogen as the storage medium doesn’t change that fundamental. Now that is a worst case scenario. Wind has a 30% capacity factor. Only 3.5 times has to be built. The only problem with wind is that sometimes it doesn’t blow for over 2 weeks. Battery storage probably won’t cut it. Producing a fuel that can be readily utilized would solve the storage problem, but not necessarily the cost problem. There is a lot to think about.

It’s a complex and challenging subject for sure :slight_smile: Complete life-cycle evaluations are very challenging (and subject to significant levels of uncertainty). I’m sure the XPRIZE team will do a good job of the evaluation. Coming at this from the other end (the simple end) there’s a few high level factors that we might want to consider:

  • Cost (e.g. capital investment required and operating costs)
  • Likely rate of deployment (based on new technical challenges and/or use of existing infrastructure and systems)
  • Environmental impacts (carbon; air, land and sea pollution; consumption of valuable resources - e.g. land use, deforestation; etc.)

Perhaps outside the technical remit of an XPRIZE, there’s also other factors that determine the rate of adoption, such as support (e.g. enabling laws, grants, taxes, consumer preference), investment and marketing / promotion. So prizes for a range of promising (technical) solutions might be relevant. This would allow governments and companies a set of potential solutions to chose from, based on their own unique circumstances. I envisage that a range of products, systems and infrastructure might feature in the overall solution. e.g. Global Renewable Energy Network.

Ideally, we might want to apply the same evaluation criteria to all proposed solutions. However, it might [?] be possible to simplify the complex evaluations by having different categories of prizes that only evaluate the most likely (anticipated) relevant factors for each category. [I’m pondering if this is feasible. One potential limitation of the category approach is evaluating a radical innovation, or breakthrough, that doesn’t fall into any of the anticipated categories.]