Hydrogen for green energy?
Tim: I'm Tim Panton.
And this is the distributed future podcast
Vim: and I'm Vimla Appadoo.
Tim: This episode's kind of mostly about hydrogen although it sort of spreads into energy storage and Renewables and things like that. So it's quite a seems like a really simple space and then it turns out to be really complicated which is which is always fun.
Um, I don't know if you've looked at like anything about future energy needs or any of those things actually
Vim: I actually haven't no.
Tim: So it's kind of what we're starting to see and what comes out of this this interview. We I did was that although there are sources of new sources of energy that are green that are renewable or at least zero carbon their
profile of when they're available doesn't [00:01:00] match up with when people want to consume them. And so, you know, like so like when it's sunny that isn't necessarily when you want to consume the most electricity, so. How do you manage the the gap between when the supply is available and when the demand happens and people are looking at storage and and also like demand shifting and stuff like that and it actually turns out to be a really fascinating
crossover between a new sort of new sorts of kind of physics basically, you know, how do you do this? How what's the chemistry of the batteries and stuff like that? But also politics like how much can shift people's demand? Like if people work from home? Will that reduce the commute demand? No, but they'll use more heating.
So it's like that's turns out to be really fascinating. [00:02:00] Overlap between societal and political issues and. Like hard science and I really it is a space. I really think is exciting.
Vim: It's really interesting because I actually took it for granted that it didn't already happen. I had assumed that you could just store renewable energy in a way that made sense so that if it was really sunny the energy from a solar panel would be stored for your winter fuel .
Tim: No, there's no the moment. There's no efficient way of doing that. What what Enapter are doing, which is who we interviewed, they're looking at taking excess generation from from wind and solar and turning it into hydrogen and then storing the hydrogen so that you can then either burn it later or use it through a fuel cell to generate electricity [00:03:00] and.
So that's a storage medium. It's a it's effectively a Time shift and some of the the maths of this. I mean when I know from my own personal experience, some of the maths of this is quite surprising. So if you look at like my car if if I charge my electric car at home, it takes maybe four or five hours and I can burn through that driving fast in an hour or two.
Tim: where as if I fill it with petrol, or fill my wife's car with petrol that takes Maybe? Minute or two and it takes four or five hours to consume it. So the like the the ratio of charge to discharge is also totally different for Batteries versus things you burn. So it's like a lot of the maths of this is really quite quite subtle.
And then as I said, it has huge societal implications about like, how much can we shift behavior is nuclear and acceptable [00:04:00] option like, you know, is it politically acceptable and since because it's zero carbon, but it's not acceptable for other political reasons in some places. So that really subtle set of challenges there.
And then the nuclear also interesting from the other point of view, which is that nuclear like run a constant load after like you're almost generating power at night with nuclear station that you kind of don't know what to use.
Tim: This is my really really subtle stuff here and very I mean, you know, we only scratched the surface, but I think it's really interesting
Vim: and I know that there's a lot of work.
Well a lot of research being done. Specifically around mobile phone batteries as well. And like the most efficient way of getting the most out of our of our phones really,
Tim: right, right. I mean the battery life [00:05:00] managing battery life isn't is a whole other issue? Whole other challenge to do with my my laptop is now hit 62 percent of its battery life.
So if ya had it for long enough that it now it now doesn't last it only barely lasts half as long as it used to. Yeah, and I suspect that's the edge of a cliff within a month or two. It'll probably be down to 10% or something.
Tim: but it's so yeah, it kind of managing the survival rates of of.
These batteries is quite challenging and like but you could look at things. Like when would you charge like if you've got things like mobile phones and laptops? Is it better to charge them at night or should you charge them effectively off solar during the day or on windy days? all of this is unknown.
We completely unexposed to it, which is kind of interesting. [00:06:00] So, so trying to understand it is the challenge certainly
Vim: and it's ever more prevalent with kind of climate change the way that we know we have to change our current consumption levels in the way that we use use energy at the moment.
It's you know, it's now it needs to. It needs to be happening.
Tim: Yeah, we need to understand this and we need to understand what it is that we can do as individuals. I think one of the things that isn't, like there's a scense. There's a sense that these problems we solve centrally and I don't think that's true.
I think we individuals have to take a hand in it. And then I think to some extent the, our behaviors have to be modified to to achieve these things and quite how that's going to play out. I think it's is difficult. One of the things I found is like I don't know what the medium is for having that sort of intelligent discussion.
I tried it on Twitter and it's simply [00:07:00] doesn't work.
Tim: like trying to trying to have a distensible reason discussion about complicated issues in like 280 characters. Doesn't work and people - like people assume the worst of you they really do. It's very depressing actualy.
Vim: Yeah, and I and and people are quick to tell you when it you.
I haven't got it right like you're just you completely misunderstand understood. What's happening here. So don't even bother trying. Is it something that I've had quite a lot as well?
Tim: Yeah. Yeah. I got told to do the maths.
Dude, thanks for that. You know, yeah,
Vim: that's helpful. Thank you.
Tim: You really you really helped me understand that you know, so I mean, I know it's not anybody else's job to teach me things and whatever but like just. Like civilized discourse is really [00:08:00] not the medium Twitter's me, you know strong point. So I don't, like is there a space where you wouldn't have that kind of conversation sensibly do you think
Vim: see I do go to Twitter for stuff like that.
But that doesn't yeah, I am also aware that doesn't really work. I think we've spoken about in a podcast before about how we find out about new information. And mine is word of mouth. So that's just how I find it easiest to get that to find out what's going on. Also like be informed about the latest food Trends or what I should be doing or have the meditate is it's all through word of mouth.
The conversation like this this podcast is actually how I learn a lot about what's happening in Science and Tech and since we're looking out for but if I had no idea that this was even a [00:09:00] problem. I had just assumed that technology was Advanced enough to really figure this out which is worrying.
Tim: Yeah. Well, right I mean, you know and not only do I think the takeaway from this is that it's not only is it a technical problem which is to some extent on the way to being solved but isn't solved yet, but it's also a political problem, which I think hasn't even been. Like if you're not aware of it as a political problem then much nobody is
Tim: and I think you know, we keep bumping into in this podcast we keep repeat bumping into issues, which are simply not being addressed that are going to be huge within the next 10 years.
I'm not that but that's really worrying. To be honest. I don't I mean is this like what's this always like this? Like was everyone's Horizons two years forever or is this new?
Vim: I just don't know [00:10:00] I'd like I've I feel like it's new but I also saw its new because we're more open to talking about it as well.
I think that the the most well-informed. We've ever being but only one informed enough to have a kind of. An uninformed conversation about it if that makes sense that we feel like we've got the knowledge we need to do all the stuff or to have these conversations, but then we don't so then we end up just talking on the surface and never really getting to the point where we want to change it or can change it.
Tim: Right, right. It's yes, I think what worries me is that I mean, there's the quality of the discussion but there's also the sense of inability to change things like what that you maybe that's just me. Maybe I'm feeling kind of powerless.
Vim: Sounds like we both are
Tim: right right, but but when I mean, you know, that's the so there are people out there doing stuff about this and thinking about this and there's a great group [00:11:00] in Manchester.
The carbon Co-op who meet up and discuss this kind of stuff. So right but you have to go along to meeting to find out about it. And then if the meetings topic isn't like that starter level and maybe you don't find out the thing you need to know the beginning. So it's difficult this stuff. I think this is complicated and education.
I mean it is education actually start learning about new stuff.
Vim: Yeah, and I think you know that emphasis is always... It's really hard. It's like we shouldn't underestimate how difficult is that actually put yourself out of your comfort zone and go at go to a meet-up and try and find out new information that you you will be the kind of novice in the room about, you know, that's a difficult thing to try and do or to try out
Tim: for sure. I mean, none of us. None of us likes to be the ignorant one in the room.
Vim: The idiot in the room.
Tim: And yeah. Yeah, we're [00:12:00] not kind of. Well. We're not comfortable about that most of us and but it's actually like, you know in terms of effort put in for reward. It's probably the most rewarding thing you can do because you go into a room knowing nothing and you come out knowing maybe 70% of the topic or at least like, you know that the quantum from where you went in to where you went out in terms of knowledge is just massive.
It's like the biggest like learning thing you can get and there's a huge reward for putting yourself into that position. But I think we have to make it more feel more comfortable and Twitter really really doesn't do that. Not for me.
Vim: No, that's true. I'd be surprised if it does for anyone really like it's not an easy platform for to feel confident in .
Tim: And yeah, I'm wondering about whether like what architecturally makes that the case.
[00:13:00] Vim: Yeah
Tim: 'cos I think. It's interesting to comparison with with for example slack which is built to make people feel what's the word at home comfortable like but also feel compelled to join in which is very clever the way they've done that I know exactly how it was done, but it's very clever.
Vim: Yeah. Yeah. No, I agree. So yeah go on. No, but I was just nervous. Slack's an interesting case study in and of itself because of that reason, the way it's changed how we communicate and open ourselves up to conversations that we probably wouldn't have done before it's completely new.
Tim: Yeah be fun to try and get somebody from.
The psychology part of slack because they're mean I know that lead the founder is a is a psychologist by training actually.
Vim: Oh, yeah? I didn't know that.
Tim: Yeah. Yeah. That's why it is why how it is. Yes, it would be really interesting to get somebody from from [00:14:00] there to talk after class. It's a long shot, but I could ask around.
Yeah, so yeah. No, I think in terms of the the current interview, it's maybe time for everyone to listen and educate themselves a tiny bit about hydrogen raising.
Vaitea: Hi Tim. Thanks for having me. My name is Vaitea Cowan. And I'm one of the cofounders of Enapter. Enapter now is 14 months old. We started it end of 2017 and we grew quite a bit since then we started we were a team of 11 and now we are 38 and we are making electrolyzers.
So this is the machine splitting water. Into hydrogen and oxygen and storing the hydrogen gas as an energy carrier and as a green energy storage solution.
Tim: So this is a kind of competitor for Battery Technology [00:15:00] or some that sort of thing or is there another use for it in parallel with that?
Vaitea: So hydrogen one of its strengths is its versatility it can be used for power for heat.
And for Mobility. I wouldn't necessarily say it's a competitor. It's in the same category and the sense of its use for storage but every technology has its Advantage batteries are good for short-term energy storage solutions if you just need one or two or three hours, but as soon as you need more they can get quite big in size and investment and it also won't hold the charge as long as hydrogen would so hydrogen is really an ideal solution for long-term energy storage.
It will not lose any value or it will not leave its lifetime will be conserved for however long [00:16:00] you need to store the hydrogen for Let It Be 10 Years. It'll still have the same energy storage density and capacity.
Tim: So it's really a I mean it is a fuel and it's a it's more like conventional fuels that we think of like diesel or something in sense of like holding that energy and it's a storage problem rather than than Battery Technology, which is kind of more.
No chemical and and less and more leaky. So that's interesting question like in terms of storage of hydrogen and I realize that's not kind of your core Mission but terms of storage of hydrogen. How does that work? Is this like pressure vessels or or what?
Vaitea: So that's one of the strengths of hydrogen is really its modularity.
And in the sense that you can store it as a gas. So our electrolyzers have a gas output pressure of 35 bar and we store directly in big tanks that hold up to [00:17:00] 350 bar of several xrx in several liters at 350 bar. In gas tanks, but you can also add a component which is a compressor in order to compress the input of the gas into the storage tank so that you actually store more gas into the same tank size because it's a higher compression.
So for different types of applications, you will require a different type of hydrogen gas output. So for cars, for example, when you want to refuel a car, you might need to refuel it at 700 bars. So that's when you would use a compressor so that the output would match the demand of the fuel cell.
Which is what will transform the hydrogen into electricity.
Tim: So so that's that's kind of starting to touch on the usages and I think I totally get the the idea of vehicle usage. So there you're talking [00:18:00] about a fuel cell rather than actually burning it. I mean, I know that who is it one of the car companies did do like actual burning hydrogen engines?
I think it was Mazda. I don't know if those are still in production. I. Kind of guessing not so most of it so you see that as a Mobility Aid so that's one use case where else would you see these these the hydrogen usage the consumption ending up?
Vaitea: No, absolutely. I mean just to go just a little bit deeper on the mobility because I think Mobility right now is gaining the most traction and gaining the most attention in terms of understanding the potential of hydrogen because it can be for personal vehicles.
But as well as trucks, ferries trains are hydrogen trains are picking up here in Europe as well as boats. So it's really and from small scale applications to large-scale Applications. We can really use a [00:19:00] hydrogen and it makes the most sense for Long Haul and heavy-duty Transportation. But as well as the opposite Spectrum, which is more like Material Handling and forklifts and bicycles and drones fuel cell drones are also. In the making and coming out.
Outside of the mobility applications. There's a huge potential as well for the use in energy storage and power we can either use hydrogen to stabilize our grid since we've seen that there's a growth in the use of renewable. Renewables, whether it's solar or wind energy, but their nature is is fluctuating.
So in order to stabilize the grid we can use any excess solar or wind energy that the grid cannot take in and use the excess to power an electrolyzer which will then split the water using the excess [00:20:00] solar or wind and transform the excess renewable into a hydrogen gas which then can be stored for later use or it can also be transported for other type of application.
So it's really creating this, this green energy storage solution with the parallel of stabilizing the Grid.
Tim: It's so it's trying to track back for second. You said something which kind of really caught my ear, which was hydrogen powered drones.
Vaitea: Yeah, right.
Tim: Is that a thing? Like I wonder where do I see them?
Vaitea: You know, so they're they're coming out there. I would love to tell you more about it, but you'll see it come out quite soon. I think we're quite proud to be the. The the manufacturer of the electrolyzer for one of the first drone refueling stations. So just keep an eye out on the news and you can smile when you remember this conversation a
Tim: brilliant know that that sounds like fun.
So back to the [00:21:00] the grid, I mean particularly here in Germany. That's a huge issue that you know, there are certainly in the summer. There are times when the there is more green energy than the grid can cope with and. There are negative negative prices for putting putting energy into the grid because there's an excess of you know, the solar power is exceeding consumption.
So that's the sort of thing that your electrolyzers would help fix. They would they would consume that energy store it and then it would be released later maybe at night or on a colder day or something like that. So that's the picture.
Vaitea: That's the picture indeed basically readily available excess Renewables for nighttime, or as well as to transport it in the case of Germany.
For example, we see that there is a lot of wind energy up in the north, but that most. [00:22:00] And habitants are in the southern parts of Germany and that we would need to transport wind energy to where the demand is and that's not the easiest thing to do. So one solution is to transport it in the form of hydrogen gas.
So it's having an electrolyzer on site where the wind turbines are and converting this excess energy into the hydrogen gas and then transporting it either either via the grid. There has been regulations that allow a greater amount of hydrogen gas to be injected in the grid and another way of transporting hydrogen gas is in storage tanks.
Tim: Oh, wow. So actually I've just realized that there are two sorts of grids. We might be talking about you. You've just mentioned the I guess the traditionally the natural gas grid. But there's also the electricity grid. So we've got like three ways. We could move the energy from you know, the windy [00:23:00] North to the power consuming South.
You've got like the gas grid which I hadn't even contemplated but that's like really interesting and and you've got the conventional electricity grid and presumably that's unsatisfactory. For some reason.
Vaitea: So instead of different types of usage for the grid is the electricity grid is mainly the use of hydrogen and the electricity grid is to stabilize the grid. So there's no hydrogen going through the electricity grid because the electricity is. The electricity grid is transporting current whereas the natural gas grid will actually transport the hydrogen gas. And so this will be for a different type of application. It will not be used for electricity, but it'll be used for heat.
Tim: Right? Right.
Vaitea: This is again a new application for hydrogen. We talked about Mobility electricity and now through the natural gas grid we can also use hydrogen to heat our homes.
Tim: So that's actually quite. [00:24:00] Flexible pattern is there like a an environmental downside to hydrogen and when you look at some of the kind of some of the gases and you start thinking well, you know, there are there are huge potential climate implications of particular fuels like is hydrogen fully clean or they're like, you know fears of some leakage or I don't know.
Vaitea: I think there are always fears like for any other conventional gas. It's about understanding the setup of the Energy System understanding where there could be a leak, but from our experience working with hydrogen for the last three years which all started in a residential application creating on-site hydrogen and then using it to power a kitchen and a water management system and really.
Powering a sustainable lifestyle. We haven't experienced any any fears or any [00:25:00] problems. And another way of ensuring safety is to have a proper ventilation of the the facility in which the hydrogen is being created and stored because hydrogen is the lightest element, so if there is a leakage the hydrogen will immediately fly up.
It just needs a place to escape but there is no other danger. The only other potential danger would be if there is a static shock then that's where the danger comes. There's very little chances for this happening. If there's just strictly the electrolyzer the storage tank and the fuel cell, why would this happen in the first place?
And then the next step to the solution in terms of prevention is having an energy management system where we collect the data of the hydrogen production storage and consumption to really track the performance of the system and [00:26:00] to understand if there's anything wrong. Going on and if there's anything that we can really optimize.
Tim: So I want to think about like some of the use cases you talked about. One of them was was for ferries. So that would be kind of basically a replacement for diesel. I suppose see your where would you like to sit your electrolizer or would that be on the ferry or would it be in the port or would it be like at a Refinery?
Where does it sit in there? Like physically geographically
Vaitea: so specifically our electrolyzer is for small to medium-sized applications. So we wouldn't be in the category of refineries the conversations we've had on Mobility for maritime applications are electrolyzers are either sitting on the boat and creating the hydrogen on board for
[00:27:00] that's a small sailboat that is going around the Mediterranean or the Atlantic. It's not necessarily stopping in a port so regularly, so this one has the electrolyzer on board. It's really a sailboat on an adventure, but for other use cases if it's a ferry for example, or if it's. If it were just using this boat for a day-to-day function, then the electrolyzer may just be on Port and the it's maybe just in the refueling station which produces hydrogen on site and then the boat just comes to the shore refuels in three minutes and they're good to go.
Tim: Wow. So so just like coming back to the kind of dull practicalities. Would you need to like feed an electrolyzer what it like you've got one sitting there? On your sailboat. How does it what does it need to be to be functional?
Vaitea: So needs electricity this electricity. [00:28:00] If you're on a sailboat for example can be generated from solar panels.
It can also be generated from wind energy and from traction from a kite. We've seen this as a whole setup where a boat had those three. Different types of renewable energy feeding into the electrolyzer and also other power consuming appliances on the boat, but the electrodes are only requires electricity and it requires water.
So water on it sailboat can also come into. You might ask yourself. Okay, what type of water system can use salt water that you treat and desalinate because in the electrolyzer there needs to be a certain type of water qualification and water Purity in order for the hydrogen gas to also be pure and to to not if the water has.
Is under the Purity requirement, then it would harm the [00:29:00] electrolyzer which does need a certain quality in order to create a quality and pure hydrogen gas for the fuel cell use.
Tim: So it is water and electricity and you're good to go with this and I'm interested in the kite solution. I had not seen that is that that's basic kind of reels itself in and out and.
And it's a rotational energy or how does that I mean again is not you're not your your product, but
Vaitea: I haven't also looked at so deeply into it. But from what I've seen, yes, you do kind of roll it out as you would when you fly a kite and I think it's. Kinetic kinetic energy of it's basically like them.
Yeah. I I don't even want to try and get some
Tim: alright cool so so that but that's really interesting. So you sort of like basically it's a sort of it's a [00:30:00] catch all method for all of these these electricity sources that are intrinsically I was going to say unreliable, but that's let's probably wrong variable
right? It's variable and also just any isolated site whether it's an island or the top of a mountain any place that is remote and has no connection to the grid can now harness energy security and independence by. By storing any renewable that they have available daytime as a solution for nighttime energy and also if case of a natural disaster, you can always count on hydrogen to be converted into electricity whenever whenever it's needed for long-term backup or critical infrastructure support.
Its hydrogen is ideal for. Long-term storage, but also low power [00:31:00] applications. So whether it be for communication or a signage or mobile charging we've seen a lot of containers for example integrating. Hydrogen as critical backup infrastructure support in case of a tsunami or in case of there's just if the grid is not if there's a power outage, what do you do you can count on hydrogen
Tim: right and and you've got quite a high energy density and the ability to release it relatively slowly which is kind of really interesting for.
For those sorts of I mean I'm and I know from the cell network point of view. It's it's kind of really, you know, you're not talking about huge numbers of watts but you want to be sure that they're there for days on end and that that sounds and and specifically nights as well.
Vaitea: Now having this this reliable uninterrupted power supply.
I think is quite key you mentioned earlier the diesel generators, basically [00:32:00] wherever there's a diesel generator, we can replace it with on-site production of hydrogen and we've seen a really growing business case of mobile operators replacing their remote base stations diesel generators with on-site hydrogen production because this allows them to eliminate the fuel Logistics the delivery and the maintenance all of this can just be taken away.
And of course the pollution whether it be CO2 or noise can now be replaced with on-sites green hydrogen production.
Tim: Yeah. In terms of the noise aspect that's one of the ones that like quite often. I find that is actually a selling point for a lot of ecological things. Like, you know is things like windows like triple-glazed windows make your apartment quieter and and that's an unexpected benefit of the you know of the technology and I hadn't thought about how much quieter you know, [00:33:00] you would be with with a hydrogen versa
diesel generator hammering away. That's that's an interesting particularly at night. And I know that on sailboats that's a huge issue that
Tim: running a generator at night is really unpopular
Vaitea: and even in the for new eco-tourist eco-lodge for example, and like. Sustainable tourism green tourism.
That's also quite growing and since its you can have a clean and green conscience when you travel as well one way of offsetting your carbon footprint could be staying in an eco-lodge that doesn't use diesel generators, but that's running fully on on solar and hydrogen energy. For example.
And as I said of where do you see this going in the future? Are they going to shrink their going to be like can I am I going to be able to buy one to you know, put in my pocket or on the roof of my car or something? How'd it how are you looking like, you know looking five years out? Where are we going with this?
[00:34:00] Vaitea: It's definitely shrinking and I think in terms of portability what we may see more of is some conveniance store that will have hydrogen refueling points. I think it's so Japan is a very active country in terms of driving hydrogen Innovations. So there has been a partnership between Toyota and 7-Eleven where at some point you can also recharge your phone or your scooter or you're more like small portable
Electronics and appliances and tools at a 7-Eleven as you would recharge for example your phone or your MetroCard you can go there and then just recharge your hydrogen phone or battery pack.
Tim: Right. So but that is that's an electrical recharged rather than transferring hydrogen into the device. We're not going to see a mobile [00:35:00] phone with a hydrogen fuel cell sitting in it.
Are we or are we,
Vaitea: you know, there has been some developments in that direction. Specifically a phone I'm not sure but I've definitely seen the battery packs. So it's a fuel cell battery pack instead of the current lithium batteries that we see today or those solar panel battery of my purse. Battery dies for the solar panel recharging options in the future.
We can have a fuel cell recharger.
Tim: Wow, that's just kind of that's an interesting future to be looking at so so do we like do we see the limiting factor here have been the safe hydrogen storage should like kind of thick wall bottle that you need to hold it. Is that is that going to be the limitation on that or there are things evolving in that space?
Vaitea: Yeah, absolutely. I think because everyone was so afraid Once Upon a Time of hydrogen [00:36:00] just because it was new and who knows what could go wrong. There is always been a lot of developments and making it safer. I think the main barriers today have been an infrastructure barrier. In terms of deploying this hydrogen infrastructure.
We've heard a lot about the chicken and egg theory of who's building the infrastructure for the cars to be rolled out and these are coming down. I mean Japan as I mentioned earlier has quite a well-developed hydrogen infrastructure Germany France as well, California is doing quite well. So this one is slowly coming down.
I think the last one which is also one of our personal missions is breaking down the cost barrier because until today 90% of hydrogen is still being made from fossil fuels and that's not a clean method of production. So Bringing Down the cost barrier for green hydrogen production with water [00:37:00] electrolysis is the last one to
to really break so that hydrogen can be widely available for all and you brought up the question on size. We just released for example, our latest electrolyzer and one of the first things the two first things that we change were bringing down the price and bringing down the size. So significantly reducing both is the direction that we're going in and of the industries is really moving towards so that.
We can not only use hydrogen by in large scale applications or from companies. But also on a personal level to have it in our homes, for example, because as we install more solar panels on our roof tops, the question of storage immediately comes and why not be able to become ourselves energy independent with hydrogen.
Tim: I think that's really exciting is [00:38:00] one of the things that we've kind of keep. In around to in themes in this podcast around the idea of of to some extent decentralization of of local responsibility for for some sorts of energy and also to an extent kind of community. It's like trying to pull things back from the center of the grid is a very centralized thing and I think it's interesting to see how you can pull that back
to the edges where it makes sense. I mean obviously it doesn't make sense everywhere. But I think it's really interesting to see that it's possible and and particularly for outlying communities or as you say people with kind of risk of natural disasters that's super exciting to be able to you kind of confident that there might be a power available.
That's kind of a huge change.
Vaitea: No, I agree. I think it's definitely shifting a lot towards decentralised energy production and just the growth of microgrids are booming. [00:39:00] Whether it's even in New York, for example, and in Brooklyn, there is a micro grid and it allows to become a test bed really of understanding the different strengths of the Technologies and then really exploring the potential of exchange of energy peer-to-peer trading of a solar energy and in the future.
We really see. The hardware and also the software that we developed to become a Gateway and unlocking a new opportunity to trade energy storage as a service as well.
Tim: All right. So so in theory I might like acts as a as a central point for like my neighborhood. So like me and my neighbors might share energy on some kind of and I hesitate to say blockchain, but some kind of sharing organization that would be facilitated by by well, I guess technological, you know Computing means like so that [00:40:00] everyone gets a fair share or whatever.
That's kind of interesting. So if my my. roof Gets shaded today and or I need a lot more electricity today because I'm doing something that needs it. I might buy some of my neighbor.
Vaitea: It's definitely an option. If you can create a Marketplace of this micro grid and of your community of decide. Okay, Tim has that is lacking some sun today.
I'm not even I'm on holiday. Why don't I just send him over my energy and then it becomes a trading platform. That is yes used. Using the blockchain technology in terms of just the the transaction and the trust and the exchange of the information the energy and then depends how you monetize it.
Tim: But again that's geographically local or do you see that as like working for a whole country or how what's the scale of that?
Do you think
Vaitea: I think it can? I work at a country [00:41:00] level but technology clearly it's feasible. I think it's more question of mindset and regulations which is why it's not happening at such a large scale where it might be happening at a larger scale are countries like Puerto Rico where there was a natural disaster and this became a green field completely.
So instead of you know, the recreating the mistakes from before they had the opportunity to really leapfrog into The Cutting Edge technology or just the solutions that are of our 21st century. And really push forward different tests. So here we can maybe see a larger scale application of such Technologies, but we look at you know, Germany or really like old infrastructures.
I think it may take some time.
Tim: Okay, that's can so the which leads me were to what I guess is probably my last question which is around the politics of this. Do you see any enthusiasm within the political class for for for [00:42:00] hydrogen's of as a solution to particularly the Grid or. Is it a bit of an uphill battle?
Vaitea: no. No, I think maybe in the past it wasn't so popular just because it wasn't on the agenda and but it is definitely on the agenda. For example in Japan. They are an energy poor and insecure and Nation so they have to be smart about where they Source their energy how they Source it and how can do they ensure that they have enough?
So the Prime Minister has really mandated its companies to. Push the adoption of hydrogen the development of the Technologies and in 2020. It will be the showcase for the hydrogen Olympics in Japan. So here you see a strong political push coming from Japan, but even in Germany and in France and in Europe and in California as well, those are like really the strong.
[00:43:00] Governmental and financial pushes happening today in the world and is also reflected in the association's that are being created whether it's hydrogen Europe or hydrogen Council, which really englobes not only the regulatory bodies, but also the main companies like the oil and gas companies.
Everyone's really getting involved because. There are such a huge potential and the all the barriers that were up before in terms of regulations or cost or technology. They're not they're not barriers today. The technology is ready to scale and it's just a question of actually true collaboration across all bodies, too.
Widely deployed it.
Tim: So that's really encouraging because quite often like the politics is actually the block on technological innovation. So I'm kind of pleased to hear that at least like normally we kind of here. Oh, no, we're struggling with the politics. So it's great to hear positive message.
Vaitea: I think it's the Holy [00:44:00] Grail really hydrogen its kind of the future and everyone recognizes it and
doesn't there's no reason to hold it back. There's no good reason, honestly, that's it.
Tim: That's cool. It's a great great place to be in so if you've got any any links you want to send over I'll add them to the podcast or if you've got anything else kind of you think I haven't asked you about you want to say now, that's also great.
And otherwise, that's great.
Vaitea: Yeah. I know. I'll happily share. Just a bit more about us some some explanations of what we're doing because we're approaching it very differently from other players today. We actually invented a type of electrochemistry solution really as so it's combining the advantages of the existing established Technologies, but slashing the cost.
Significantly so really putting us at a in a good position to be in to be scaling a hydrogen to making it available for everyone and [00:45:00] just say I keep an eye out for it's more and more. You'll see it in the media. You'll see it for different applications and I'll happily answer any hydrogen related questions today and in the future