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Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Laboratory Cool. Fuel.

The hydrogen fueled farm of the future

Authors: Charles (Chase) Phillips and Jacob Leachman


On Labor Day in 2020 a series of fires struck Whitman County in Washington State. Some of the fires were started by agricultural equipment during harvest, and others were sparked by electrical power lines. In a matter of minutes one fire destroyed 80% of the homes in the community of Malden.[i] The 2021 fire season is even worse. We saw conditions through the month of July that … » More …

Systemic Logistics of a Hydrogen Economy Part 2: The Production Problem

In this multi-part series I’m considering the many logistical challenges of the upcoming hydrogen economy. In Part 1 I considered the people necessary to start and sustain the hydrogen economy. In the subsequent parts/posts I’ll follow the hydrogen through the logistical supply chain to end use. This post is on hydrogen production. Transfer will be Part 3. End use will be Part 4.

Let me be up front that my expertise is hydrogen properties, storage, and distribution (i.e. logistics), and not production. Back in 2005 I saw everyone running into the production and power side (performance minded folks have a tendency towards power) and … » More …

Systemic Logistics of a Hydrogen Economy Part 1: The People Problem

Welcome 2021 and the World’s new hope for climate salvation: hydrogen.

Since developing the fundamental hydrogen property codes 15 years ago I’ve been waiting for hydrogen to have it’s moment. Despite all of the new press and excitement from folks suddenly interested in hydrogen, I’m here to say that we’re still going to be waiting many more years for hydrogen’s moment to finally arrive. This is evidenced by the many open questions being asked about the future hydrogen economy. We, as a community of stakeholders, still have not addressed many major challenges facing the hydrogen economy. If the ongoing pandemic and struggling vaccine rollout are … » More …

The $10B per year challenge facing Washington State

If you could solve one problem affecting the lives of everyone in the Pacific Northwest, what would it be?

What would you be willing to give up to solve it?

WSU is working to solve many Grand Challenges. The one I’m telling you about today is a $10B per year problem that’s making us sick — the importing and use of fossil fuels in Washington State.

So here is my Grand Challenge:

Sustaining the Pacific Northwest via locally produced, clean, fuel.

More specifically, reducing the importation of carbon-based fossil fuels into Washington State to … » More …

A response to “Toyota vs. Tesla: Can Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Compete with Electric Vehicles?”

Tony Seba, a Stanford University lecturer and renewable energy entrepreneur, is working hard as an advocate for clean and renewable solar power and battery electric vehicles. This is a cause we need many people working hard towards. However, as is usually the case, problems arise not with what someone wants, but how they go about it. In one of his recent popular posts and presentations “Toyota versus Tesla: Can Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Compete with Electric Vehicles?” Tony presents six reasons that hydrogen cannot compete with electric vehicles. We’re going to address these one by one:

1.Hydrogen is not an energy source

Entirely true. Neither is electricity. … » More …

The potential for hydrogen fueled cars in Washington State

This article was originally drafted as an Op-ed submission for the Seattle Times and included input from many people at WSU. Thank you to all of them for the help:

According to the Washington State Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, gasoline fueled cars are by far the largest polluter of carbon dioxide in the state of Washington, accounting for one out of every four molecules emitted. If our state is going to reduce carbon emissions, we’re going to need many zero-emission vehicles– and soon.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) or hydrogen Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) are the most common zero-emission vehicles. Washington state is making excellent strides … » More …

A proposal for large scale hydrogen liquefaction in the Pacific Northwest

Two years ago I received seed funding from the WSU Energy Systems Innovation Center (ESIC) to investigate the potential for large scale hydrogen liquefaction in the Pacific Northwest. Since then I’ve had numerous conversations with diverse stakeholders including existing liquid hydrogen producers, program managers in the Department of Energy, Bonneville Power Administration, wind farm operators, chlor-alkali plant operators, bio-mass refiners, bio-fuel producers, and regional fuel cell companies. After two years of considering all of the diverse stakeholders for a system of this size and complexity, an awesome concept for our region has finally emerged. I’ll present this in the following parts: 1) existing North America … » More …

The potential of the Hydrogen Fueled Farm

As you likely know, Whitman County (the home of WSU-Pullman) is the Saudi Arabia of wheat. We’ve produced more wheat than any other county in the United States every year since 1978. Of course it helps that we have a land mass equivalent to the state of Delaware and average just 6 residents per square mile.

What you may not know is the considerable potential for hydrogen to fuel these farms. This is a topic we’ll dive into considerable more detail over the coming years. Let’s overview the pieces for now:

Farmers are incredibly familiar with the … » More …

Forget space elevators, we need a space pipeline!

A few years ago I attended a seminar on using extremely long carbon nanotubes for a space elevator. And so I started thinking…

Here’s the wiki for the space elevator concept. Here’s a graphic:

To be clear, space elevators may be harder than controlled thermonuclear fusion to achieve (that’s at least 50 years out). Although carbon nanotubes may have the strength to make it possible, the very best we can do could be ~1m in length. Compare that to the image above and you see how far we have to go. Not to mention running an … » More …