Women in the Hydrogen Revolution

By Emily Vidovich. Emily has a background in environmental journalism and sustainability and is a member of the George Washington University Class of 2019.

AltaSea recently hosted an open house highlighting the women who are enabling hydrogen to play a role in the clean energy revolution. Keynote addresses were given by Alison Hawkins, Air Products’ general manager of the Hydrogen for Mobility program, and Katrina Regan, SoCalGas’ engineering and technology development manager of the Angeles Link–a proposed renewable hydrogen pipeline system.

The appeal of hydrogen power lies in its ability to be stored long-term, as well as in its lightweight yet energy-dense nature. Hydrogen power can provide a carbon-free means to support the energy grids of population centers at times when other renewable sources are limited, such as at night or on days when there is no wind. It can also directly power cars, trucks, and boats. Because it is so dynamic, hydrogen could supplant fossil fuels and strengthen grids powered entirely by renewable energy.

But in order for hydrogen to be a zero-emissions fuel source, it must be produced using renewable resources. Currently, 95 percent of hydrogen produced in the United States is obtained through an emissions-heavy process called steam-methane reforming. Many facilities that utilize the alternative process of hydrogen electrolysis, which does not create greenhouse gas emissions itself, are still powered by electricity obtained from fossil fuels. However, this does not have to be the case—the creation of “green” hydrogen at plants fueled by renewable energy is gaining traction globally.

At AltaSea’s Women in the Hydrogen Revolution open house, pathways for increasing green hydrogen production were the focal point of the keynote addresses. Hawkins spoke of Air Products’ partnership to create the world’s largest carbon-free hydrogen project, a $5 billion, renewable energy powered facility that will produce 650 tons of hydrogen by electrolysis every day. The facility will be operable by 2025 and provide green hydrogen worldwide, primarily to power vehicles.

In addition to learning about the hydrogen revolution, open house attendees were able to learn about other aspects of the emerging blue economy from the AltaSea tenants–including the California Department of Fish and Wildlife–that were exhibiting at the event. The open house also featured displays by over a dozen community partners including Citizens Climate Lobby, LA Waterkeeper, and USC Sea Grant.

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