DOE explores potential of hydrogen as energy source

By Myrna M. Velasco – October 26, 2019, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin

The Department of Energy (DOE) is advancing pitch for hydrogen as added option for the future energy resources that can be utilized in the Philippine energy sector.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi (Source: https://www.bloomberg.com)

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi (Source: https://www.bloomberg.com)

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi indicated that the energy department had tapped a Japanese entity to study hydrogen as probable resource addition to comprise the country’s energy mix – whether for battery storage, alternative fuel for the transport sector or as tangible resource for power generation.

“That was part of the discussion I made a month ago when I was in Japan – it was presented to me. The study is being done by a Japanese company,” the energy chief said.

He qualified though that this is still a very preliminary target for the country, and prospective plunge into it shall be solidly backed by studies – in terms of resource potential as well as cost impact on consumers.

Based on initial assessments of the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), hydrogen could become “a critical part of a more sustainable and secure energy future,” especially when it reaches commercial-scale deployment in the energy sector.

Prospects on hydrogen development as key facet of the world’s future energy mix took center stage when Japan hosted the G20 Summit in Osaka last June – with its Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) taking the lead.

The IEA noted that based on the “hydrogen study” of METI, it has been established that this technology option “is currently receiving strong support from governments and businesses around the world, with the number of policies and projects expanding rapidly.”

In the Philippines, in particular, it’s the Royal Dutch Shell group that has been advancing the commercial deployment of hydrogen as a feasible resource to underpin the country’s future energy needs.

As noted by experts, hydrogen could face up with various energy challenges – including the need to store variable output from renewables like solar photovoltaic (PV) as well as wind, so that even with intermittent generation, they could have stored capacity that can be dispatched as needed in a power grid.

Beyond the energy sector, this technology is also an excellent succor to the decarbonization efforts of many systems around the world – including those in long-haul transport systems, chemicals as well as the iron and steel industries.

“A wide variety of fuels are able to produce hydrogen, including renewables, nuclear, natural gas, coal and oil,” the IEA has emphasized.

It further noted that hydrogen can be transported by gas pipelines or in liquid form by ships – which is very much like the transport system being employed for liquefied natural gas.

Such resource can also be transformed into electricity and methane to power homes and feed key industries, such as fuels for cars, trucks, ships and planes.

IEA Executive Fatih Birol indicated that “hydrogen today is enjoying unprecedented momentum, driven by governments that both import and export energy, as well as the renewables industry, electricity and gas utilities, automakers, oil and gas companies, major technology firms and big cities.”
Hence, his prescription is for the world “not to miss this unique chance to make hydrogen an important part of our clean and secure energy future.”