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Energy Pipelines

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

This is the Alaska Pipeline. The 800 miles long project was completed in 1977 at a cost of $8 billion. That’s $40 billion in today’s dollars. The investment was worth the cost as the oil pumped from Prudhoe Bay north of the Artic Circle helped the US become less dependent on imported oil after the energy crisis of the 1970’s. It is still in operation and currently transports close to 500,000 barrels per day. The production from the Alaska Pipeline is one reason the US is energy independent.

Imagine if $40 billion were to be invested today by #shell, #exxonmobil , or #conocophillips in a US hydrogen pipeline system? Currently there are about 1600 miles of hydrogen pipelines supplying large users like petroleum refineries. How would fuel cell adoption accelerate if hydrogen were piped to transportation hubs? Globally there is phenomenal interest in pipelines.

Distribution remains one of the hurdles in adopting hydrogen as a reliable and accessible energy source. Pipelines are just one part of the complex solution. Yes, there are challenges. Those can be overcome, just like the designers of the Alaska Pipeline overcame their unique challenges. The demand for hydrogen is growing and production is ramping up. Hydrogen will provide up to 12% of the world’s energy needs by 2050. However, it is unclear how we can keep on this trajectory without a more efficient and cost-effective method of transporting the molecule. For those that want to do their own research I will post links in the comments. #ANDnotOR

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