Green Production of Microelectronics-Grade Hydrogen and Research-Grade Oxygen; Governmental Green Hydrogen Promotion Techniques

Sanjay, Abhinav, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Anderson, Eric, Chemical Engineering, University of Virginia
Francisco, Pedro, Department of Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

As the effects of climate change increase in severity, it is increasingly important to decrease the carbon footprint of the world’s hydrogen; developing technologies and policies to support the production of green hydrogen, a carbon-neutral type of hydrogen produced via the electrolysis of water, is key to reducing the world’s carbon footprint. The technical portion of this paper involves the design and economic analysis of a potential green hydrogen plant, to provide a basis for future reference. The STS portion of this paper discusses government policies which can be used to promote green hydrogen and the effects of these policies. Both the technical and STS parts of this paper are needed for the implementation of green hydrogen plants in communities; an understanding of how a plant should be designed and what policies promote the green hydrogen economy is crucial for the adoption of the technology.
The rationale for the technical portion of this paper is to reduce the climate impact of hydrogen, which has large-scale use in the fertilizer, microelectronics, and energy industries. This portion of the paper creates an understanding of the process behind green hydrogen synthesis and will provide a starting point from which changes can be made to accommodate specific plant needs in the future. The methodology involved the use of equilibrium models, ASPEN modeling, MATLAB modeling, and other mathematical tools. The methodology further involved an economic analysis, including a cash flow and life cycle analysis.
The process, designed to create green hydrogen for the microelectronics industry, begins with the purification of inlet river water. The water is first run through a coarse filter, a rapid sand filter, a UV disinfection tube, a Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) filter, and finally a Reverse Osmosis unit. This purified water is then supplied to an electrolyzer unit, which splits the water into its hydrogen and oxygen components. These gasses are then further purified in separate processes, using a condenser and pressure swing adsorption process, to meet the required specifications for microelectronics grade hydrogen and research grade oxygen. Lastly, these gasses go through a multi-stage compression process where they are compressed to the desired pressure. An economic analysis of this process showed it to have a total profit of $6.6 billion over the 20 year lifespan and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 64%.
The STS portion of this paper looks into government policies which can promote green hydrogen and the effects of these policies. These policies are crucial for the adoption of green hydrogen, due to the cheaper cost of gray hydrogen, hydrogen made from fossil fuels; however, to prevent the severe effects of climate change, the earlier adoption of green hydrogen is needed. The methodology used to analyze the policies and their effects involved the concept of manifest and latent functions and dysfunctions and the actor network theoretical framework.
The evidence for this paper came from various studies involving the use of carbon taxes and government subsidies as tools for government intervention in an industry. Further evidence was provided by green hydrogen case studies by Severson-Baker et al. and Webster in Alberta, Canada and the U.S. northeast, respectively. It was found that the use of greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity thresholds can be used jointly with carbon taxes and green hydrogen and renewable subsidies. In areas where both renewable and natural gas are low cost, the use of subsidies should play a larger role than carbon taxes. This is due to the potential for carbon taxes to simply shift to less carbon intensive options, rather than the carbon neutral option of green hydrogen. Therefore, carbon taxes have a larger role to play in areas with abundant renewable resources without natural gas deposits.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Green, Hydrogen, Government, Promotion

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Technical Advisor: Eric Anderson

STS Advisor: Pedro Francisco

Technical Team Members: Brian Song, Daniel Sweeny, Amara Pettit, Amish Madhav

All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
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