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A Cost Comparison of Various Hourly-reliable and Net-zero Hydrogen Production Pathways in the United States


Hydrogen (H2) as an energy carrier may play a role in various hard-to-abate subsectors, but to maximize emission reductions, supplied hydrogen must be reliable, low-emission, and low-cost. Here, we build a model that enables direct comparison of the cost of producing net-zero, hourly-reliable hydrogen from various pathways. To reach net-zero targets, we assume upstream and residual facility emissions are mitigated using negative emission technologies. For the United States (California, Texas, and New York), model results indicate nextdecade hybrid electricity-based solutions are lower cost ($2.02-$2.88/kg) than fossil-based pathways with natural gas leakage greater than 4% ($2.73-$5.94/ kg). These results also apply to regions outside of the U.S. with a similar climate and electric grid. However, when omitting the net-zero emission constraint and considering the U.S. regulatory environment, electricity-based production only achieves cost-competitiveness with fossil-based pathways if embodied emissions of electricity inputs are not counted under U.S. Tax Code Section 45V guidance.

Funding source: This work was funded by the Stanford Natural Gas Initiative, an industry consortium that supports independent research at Stanford University
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: United States

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