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1 The emerging hydrogen fuel cell and CCS systems of innovation: towards a permanent variety of systems? Philip J. Vergragt Tellus Institute and MIT Zurich,

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Presentation on theme: "1 The emerging hydrogen fuel cell and CCS systems of innovation: towards a permanent variety of systems? Philip J. Vergragt Tellus Institute and MIT Zurich,"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 The emerging hydrogen fuel cell and CCS systems of innovation: towards a permanent variety of systems? Philip J. Vergragt Tellus Institute and MIT Zurich, April 16, 2007

2 2 overview 1. Context: need for decarbonization of energy; transportation as tough case. 2. US strategies: wedges strategies: increasing variety 3. Case: hydrogen fuel cells for transportation 4. CCS: lock-in of fossil fuel system vs. opportunity for hydrogen 5. Reflections

3 3 1. Context: need for decarbonization of energy Big challenges are climate change, high oil prices, and energy security CO2 emissions could be reduced with 60 % by 2050 by technological innovations and diffusion (ASES, NRDC) Most of it should come through energy conservation and efficiency Transportation currently emits about 1/3 of all CO2 emissions; most of it by passenger cars

4 4 Warming Wont Wait PHOTO NASA © NRDC 2005

5 5 challenges How to agree on a CO2 reduction path for transportation? How to balance variety of options with path dependency and economies of scale? How to balance between technological innovations, changes in infrastructures and city planning, and life style changes?

6 6 2. US strategies: wedges strategies: increasing variety In 2004 Pacala and Socolow introduced the concept of CO2 stabilization wedges For a stabilization and later reduction of CO2 emissions, 7-10 wedges of 1 GtC/y are sufficient. They identified 15 wedges, most but not all technological In essence wedges represent diversification or variation

7 7 The wedge concept is further developed for the USA by NRDC, an environmental NGO For a reduction of -60 % in 2050, which is - 80 % as compared to BAU, they developed 6 wedges More than 50 % comes from energy end-use efficiency The other 50 % or less is by renewables and CCS The most important issue appears to be the urgency of bending the curve

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9 9 Prompt Start Allows Smooth Transition Source: Doniger, Herzog, & Lashof, Science, 3 November 2006

10 10 Increase vehicle efficiency Reduce VMT Substitute lower carbon fuels Reducing Emissions from Transport Emissions Reductions VMT 2050 BaU2050 Stab Million tonnes C

11 11 3. Case: hydrogen fuel cells for transportation Hydrogen is often touted as the fuel of the future It can be burned like petrol, with the emissions of only water In an electrochemical reaction it combines with O2 to H2O and generates electricity Advantages are: higher efficiency, less noise, nearly no NOx emissions However, hydrogen is explosive, difficult to handle, and has low density. Moreover, hydrogen needs to be generated sustainably, without CO2 emissions

12 12 Sustainable options for transportation Fuel efficiency; hybrids; plug-in hybrids Biofuels All-electric cars Hydrogen fuel cell cars. Less car transportation; transit-oriented development; city planning etc Changes in life styles and values: walking, biking, and local tourism

13 13 World Petroleum Use for Transportation and Other Purposes, 1980 – 2020 Source: EIA, International Energy Outlook 1999

14 14

15 15 How does it work? (2) It is the reversal of electrolysis: 2 H20 + electricity---2 H2 + O2 It is invented in 1843 by Robert Groves It has been applied in Apollo and Gemini space programs (1960 and 70-ies) The reaction works only in the presence of a catalyst: Platinum Hydrogen needs to be stored, which is quite difficult

16 16 Sustainable hydrogen generation Hydrogen can be generated by electrolysis, thus by using electricity from the grid, from renewable energy sources, or by steam reforming of natural gas. Each of these methods has its disadvantages Electrolysis from renewables: less efficient use of electricity; better used for direct use Electrolysis from the grid: increase in coal/oil/gas fired electricity generation Natural gas steam reforming: fossil fuel use The latter two could be combined with CCS in order to mitigate CO2 emissions

17 17 Hydrogen scenarios: Tellus study Tellus Institute, Boston, has developed scenarios for a transition to 95% hydrogen fuel cell cars in 2050 They investigated all possible routes for hydrogen generation (centrally and decentrally; transportation, and delivery, and looked at the costs They found that energy efficiency saves more greenhouse gas emissions than hydrogen

18 18 Figure 6 3 Carbon emissions - hydrogen-consuming end uses, USA

19 19 Figure 6 4 Carbon emissions - all end uses, USA

20 20 The emerging hydrogen and fuel cell system of innovation California: Hydrogen highway; H filling stations, California fuel cell partnership; mainly car companies. Massachusetts: Hydrogen fuel cell partnership; more than 60 firms, 7 major universities, and State government; Road Map; job creation; mainly focused on stationary and portable power, not on transportation Federal US government: $ 1.2b R&D; mostly aimed at nuclear and clean fossil Main obstacles: technical; capital; lack of incentives and regulation

21 21 Conclusions for hydrogen for transportation Hydrogen is no panacea; other options for transportation are possible (electric; biofuels; Fischer-Tropsch synthetic fuels) Large-scale sustainable hydrogen until 2050 only possible with CCS Renewable electricity better used for replacement of fossil fuel power plants In the USA, no transition to hydrogen economy, but diversification strategy (conservation, efficiency, renewables, and CCS

22 22 4. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) CCS is capturing CO2 at a point source, compressing it, and storing it underground It can be used at fossil fuel power plants, coal gasification plants, steam reforming of methane for producing hydrogen. The technology is not yet proven; experiments and pilot projects are under way. However, experience has been acquired by injecting CO2 underground for enhanced oil winning

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24 24 Thus CCS is connected to hydrogen in the following ways: Without CCS, hydrogen cannot be produced in sufficient quantities for at least 50 years from renewables and/or nuclear CCS can also help to generate CO2-free electricity from coal by coal gasification and CGCC, which could be used for plug-in hybrids and electrical transportation

25 25 CCS (continued) CCS cannot be considered as a sustainable technology, because it is essentially end-of pipe. Several aspects as safety, storage time, are not yet sufficiently understood. Experiments are under way to test the feasibility of large-scale CCS Without CCS hydrogen for transportation may not be available in sufficient quantities

26 26 The emerging CCS system of innovation Oil companies (injection: Sleipner; Weyborn; In Salah) Utilities and oil companies: capture technology; IGCC (BP Scotland 350MW IGCC with possibly CCS) Pipeline builders Ocean tanker dispatchers Local communities (siting; social acceptance) Banks (financing) Governments (CO2 policies; coal policies); US-DOE regional sequestration partnership $ 100m /4 y FutureGen: large scale demo $ 1b Norway C tax $50/ton CO2

27 27 How to conceptualize CCS? On the one hand, CCS is a clear example of increased entrenchment of fossil fuel industry; by CCS coal, oil, and gas can continue to be used with diminished CO2 emissions It can even be compared to nuclear energy, with large-scale centralized CO2 capture and compression, a heavy infrastructure for transportation; and unknown risks for the long term (gradual or sudden CO2 emissions from the ground) CCS under sea has even more scary risks

28 28 On the other hand, CCS can be conceptualized as a transition technology It may pave the way for hydrogen as a sustainable energy carrier on the long term It may buy time to develop enough conservation, efficiency, and renewables It is an essential wedge especially if we want to avoid nuclear energy (another wedge in Pcala-Socolow)

29 29 5. Reflections What does it mean for transition management, path dependency, and variety? Wedge approach is compatible with a transition to a decarbonized energy system on the highest level of abstraction However, on the level of energy systems it means the emergence of a portfolio of energy system innovations, including conservation and end-use efficiencies For transportation it also means a range of options ranging from smart growth and car sharing to some mix of hybrids, biofuels, all- electric and fuel cell vehicles.

30 30 We thus can speak of a broad emerging portfolio of sustainable energy options A lot of variety is being created, together with new infrastructure and thus new forms of lock-in (CCS) Essential is to prevent lock-in into systems that cannot be part of the new system (old-style coal power plants) Most pressing question is how to speed up the transition to the new variety, or how to implement the desired wedges. Do traditional transition management approaches deliver fast enough?

31 31 Some implications for government policies Governments should aim at transition to a decarbonized energy system, and within this to endorse an continuous large variety of options; the market and specific circumstances will choose the mixture. A mixture of policy instruments is needed, such as carbon tax or carbon trading; mandatory deployment of CCS at new coal plants; increasing renewable portfolio standards, etc Most technologies are available; diffusion policies are urgently needed, including new infrastructure development and demo projects R&D subsidies on specific technologies help, but should be aimed at the next generation sustainable energy technologies. Entrenchment of present subsidies for fossil fuel companies should urgently be addressed.

32 32 Final reflection Both Pacala et al and NRDC (Lashof et al) assume in their scenarios that the USA continues to emit more than its share of CO2 as compared to the world average For global equity even much deeper CO2 reductions in USA and EU are necessary Changes in life styles are probably unavoidable (Tellus Great Transition and Boston deep change scenarios) There are trade-offs between pushing for diffusion of technologies, R&D for new technologies (beyond 2050), and life style changes

33 33 thanks

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