Distinguished professors from both academia and industry will be invited to give speeches.

Keynote Speakers


Professor Michael Fowler

University of Waterloo, Canada

Colours of Hydrogen Production

Abstract: Colours of Hydrogen Production has become very ‘colourful’. Black or brown hydrogen is produced from coal. The black and brown colours refer to the type bituminous (black) and lignite (brown) coal. The gasification of coal is a method used to produce hydrogen. However, it is a very polluting process, and CO2 and carbon monoxide are produced as by-products and released to the atmosphere, toxics such Hg. Where much of hydrogen is from now. Commercialized. Grey hydrogen is produced from fossil fuel and commonly uses the steam methane reforming (SMR) method. During this process, CO2 is produced and eventually released to the atmosphere even if there are several ‘cascade’ processes. Where most of the hydrogen is used from now. Commercialized. Green hydrogen is produced through the water electrolysis process by employing renewable electricity (e.g. solar, wind, hydro). The reason it is called green is that there is no CO2 emission during the production process. Water electrolysis is a process that uses electricity to decompose water into hydrogen gas and oxygen. This is Zero-emissions. Commercialized. Yellow hydrogen is a process that has direct electrolysis using a solar panel. Research is at work. Blue hydrogen is sourced from fossil fuels. However, the CO2 is captured and stored underground carbon sequestration. Companies are also trying to utilize the captured carbon called carbon capture, storage and utilization (CCSU). Utilization is not essential to qualify for blue hydrogen. Other ‘products’ may be made from Blue Hydrogen. As no CO2 is emitted, so the blue hydrogen production process is categorized as carbon neutral. Near commercialized at this time, but few full sized prototypes. Pink hydrogen is generated through the electrolysis of water by using electricity from a nuclear power plant. Is thus near-zero-emissions hydrogen ‘well to wheels’. Commercialized. Turquoise hydrogen can be extracted by using the thermal splitting of methane via methane pyrolysis. The process, though at the experimental stage, remove the carbon in a solid form instead of CO2 gas. Near commercialized at this time. Purple hydrogen is made though using nuclear power and heat through combined thermal-chemical electrolysis splitting of water. (i.e. Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells (SOEC). Near commercialized at this time. Red hydrogen is produced through the high-temperature catalytic splitting of water using nuclear power thermal-chemical process as an energy source. This is hydrogen zero-emissions energy. (e.g. Cu-Cl Thermo-chemical process). Not commercialized at this time. Cyan hydrogen can be extracted by using ethanol and bio-gas, or hydrogen can be added for ‘methanation’ to add natural gas. The processes can be net neutral roundtrip CO2 (NOT agreement on net neutral of bio-fuels and bio-gases). Commercialized but not used. White hydrogen is naturally-occurring geological hydrogen found in underground deposits and/or created through ‘fracking’. There are no strategies to exploit this hydrogen at present. .

Bio: Dr. Michael Fowler is a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and Canada Research Chair - Zero-Emissions Vehicles and Hydrogen Energy Systems, at the University of Waterloo with a research interest in electrochemical power sources. Specifically, his research focuses on fuel cell system design and reliability, fuel cell and battery materials durability and green power systems. His research includes modelling of hydrogen production and distribution systems, including Power-to-Gas. With the University of Waterloo Alternative Fuel Team (UWAFT)), he is the co-advisor of the development and building of a number of fuel cell (FCV) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) as part of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (see http://ecocar3.org/). As a Faculty Advisor for student teams, he has been involved with over seven teams that have won international or national competitions including winning the National Hydrogen Association H2U Student Design Competition three times. He has over a 170 peer reviewed publications mostly related to ‘Hydrogen Economy’ issues (See Google Scholar h-factor 67 http://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=hUUCkoMAAAAJ&hl=en). One of the key questions to be addressed in the 'hydrogen economy' is the clean production and distribution of hydrogen. Hydrogen production is now investing in the ‘colours of hydrogen’. Through a series of over 40 publications and presentations, his work has furthered the concept of 'clean energy hubs' as distributed energy generation systems. This includes systems such as wind and solar, and large-scale systems with CO2-free nuclear energy as a key component of the hubs. Unique to this work is the consideration of the electrical transmission system, specifical congestion in the system as a constraint. This work has principally included hydrogen as an energy vector, but also considered the impact of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles within such clean energy hubs. The techno-economic analysis of the use of excess off-peak power to generate hydrogen gas for industrial applications, heating and fuel cell vehicle (FCV) propulsion is a clear outcome of this work. Policy issues explored include a comparative lifecycle assessment of the use of hydrogen produced within a Power-to-Gas concept for powering FCVs and an economic analysis which compared the use of hydrogen as renewable fuel with the use of biofuels/methanation. Power-to-gas (P2G) is a technology concept that converts electrical power into hydrogen through electrolysis, and then used through a variety of energy storage and transformation pathways and is being explored internationally also. A number of publications have demonstrated the potential of Hydrogen Econony for Energy Vectors and energy storage, including energy storage over an extended seasonal timeframe. This work showed the potential for the 'colours' of various ways to produce hydrogen to use CO2 free nuclear and renewable energy (wind and solar), specifically the using surplus power for environmental and economic benefit in Ontario and how Power-to-Gas pathways can play a role toward a fossil-free economy in the long term.