The United States and other countries have enormous untapped renewable energy resources, with one fundamental problem: how to get the energy to market. Outdated electric grids around the world can’t handle the volume of renewable energy that producers can supply. The H2 Clipper will revolutionize the production, distribution, and storage of hydrogen, which will in turn unleash the potential of solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources that now suffer from an inability to get energy to market because of a lack of transmission and energy storage capacity. By unlocking the potential of commercially ready renewable energy, the H2 Clipper will generate millions of green jobs, strengthen the U.S. manufacturing and industrial base, and revitalize the U.S. economy. H2 Clipper, Inc. is seeking funding for detailed engineering design and the integration studies necessary to deliver an H2 Clipper prototype for wind tunnel testing.
Energy from renewable energy sources can be converted to hydrogen which can in turn be used in fuel cells to generate electricity where and when needed.
Like electricity, hydrogen is an energy carrier. Due to the ease of making hydrogen from renewable energy sources using conventional electrolyzers, hydrogen is the ideal way to overcome the transmission barriers that stem from inadequate electrical grids.
Hydrogen is an energy carrier like electricity, and provides a way to circumvent the grid. Wind, solar, biomass and other renewable energy sources can be economically converted into hydrogen, which can then be compressed and transported to distant markets in inter-modal tanks. There, the hydrogen can be used to produce electricity either in stationery and mobile fuel cells, or by direct combustion in peaking generators. The availability of low-cost hydrogen transport will reduce the need to upgrade the electric grid and to resolve the complicated planning, siting, and cost-allocation issues blocking the installation of new high-voltage transmission lines. Presently, Texas, the U.S. Midwest, and other places rich in wind resources lack the means to market their vast resources in distant cities that need the power. Low-cost hydrogen transport will stimulate the creation of other new businesses that produce hydrogen from plain water via electrolysis powered by wind, solar, and other clean energy sources. In turn, this increased supply of low-cost hydrogen will create a virtuous circle that will continually expand the market for renewable energy.
As fossil fuels continue to release harmful hydrocarbons into the atmosphere, the current global climate change crisis has become an increasing threat. Alternatively, hydrogen provides an answer to our current energy crisis by providing abundant, safe, and clean energy with its only combustion byproduct being water rather than dangerous carbon emissions. Nine major automakers, including Honda, Daimler AG, GM, Toyota, and Hyundai, either currently have hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, or plan to bring them to market by 2015. There were 40,000 routine hydrogen fuelings that occurred by 2010, and even higher rates of refueling occurred in 2011 and 2012.The company will buy renewable energy, convert it into hydrogen, and compress the hydrogen to either 3000 or 5000 pounds per square inch (psi). Of critical importance to automakers and the fuel cell industry, the company will transport hydrogen to the growing network of hydrogen fueling stations, eliminating the need for costly transport of hydrogen in its liquefied form or through expensive new pipeline networks. The H2 Fuels Division of the company will buy renewable energy, convert it into hydrogen, and compress the hydrogen to 3,000-5,000 pounds per square inch (psi). It will then transport the hydrogen in intermodal tanks on trucks or trains to customers. Potential customers include utilities and manufacturers of hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles, as well as other users of hydrogen or mobile and stationary fuel cells.
Hydrogen vs. Helium
The two most common methods to generate hydrogen are methane reformation (to extract hydrogen from compounds such as natural gas) and electrolysis (to extract hydrogen from water). Electrolysis is the method we use, as it requires no fossil fuels or hydrocarbons; we use 100% renewable energy sources such as geothermal, wind, and solar to power electrolysis extraction of hydrogen.
Due to the rarity of helium and its widespread use (MRI machines, superconductor manufacturing, party balloons, etc.), helium supplies are scarce and increasingly more expensive. As we deplete the ﬁnite supply of helium, the price will continue to go up – even faster were demand to increase signiﬁcantly.
The primary source of helium on Earth is through the slow process of radioactive decay. This produces small, nonrenewable amounts of helium in subterranean conditions that also trap natural gas, from which most commercial helium extraction occurs. Once helium is used (e.g., in industrial applications and party balloons), it is typically released, not recaptured, and is light enough to ﬂoat out of the Earth’s atmosphere into space – gone forever and non-replaceable.
Hydrogen has an atomic weight about ¼ that of helium. Therefore, even though hydrogen must be a diatomic molecule (containing two atoms) in its gaseous form, it is still half the weight of helium gas and is able to provide more lifting power.