Affordability - It is Just a Function of Scale and Time
One of the obvious hurdles to Solid H2 Logistics is the high price of Solid H2 (NaBh4). While this is true today, we need to appreciate the context. NaBh4 today is a specialty chemical in an oligopolistic market (dominated by a few large producers) with a global production around 100,000 MT per year. Demand has been largely flat for many years and its produced using the Brown-Schlesinger Process for over 50 years now - an energy intensive process (making energy the single largest production cost factor).
- 100,000 MT per year in the context of global energy is miniscule. Production in the future will be at a massively larger scale;
- Future production will be at dedicated plants (not batch processes in integrated plants) using the lowest cost renewable energy - again, generated in the best locations on planet earth in super-scaled RE farms.
- Focused R&D into more efficient processes, backward integration of all production factors and raw materials, recycling of spent NaBH4 and the like will only increase the downward trajectory of production costs.
Wright's Law At Work
Wrights Law postulates that that manufacturing cost will reduce proportionally as a function of cumulative production. Coming from the low base of 100,000 MT p.a (equivalent to just over 21,000 MT of H2 gas), the growth in production capacity will be staggeringly unprecedented. If Wrights' Law is anything to go by, the projected downward trajectory should be equally staggering.
If we design dedicated plants with integrated NaBH4 production to offtake all the energy produce, removing the need for transmission completely (NaBH4 produced can be shipped directly to end users worldwide) and conversion into AC (electrolyzing sodium, which consumes the lion share of the energy, and H2 electrolysis uses DC current), we would expect significant further lowering of energy prices that translates into lower NaBh4 production costs.