Paris Blaisdell-Pijuan

HMEI-STEP Fellow 2020
Electrical Engineering

HMEI-STEP Topic: Assessing Routes to Clean Hydrogen: Meeting the Norwegian Hydrogen Demand with Hydropower

HMEI-STEP Advisors: Michael Oppenheimer, Jesse Jenkins

Thesis Topic: Infrared Catalysis and Hydrogen

Thesis Advisor: Claire Gmachl

Blaisdell-Pijuan hopes to ease the transition to clean hydrogen energy by exploring the use of hydroelectric power as a zero-carbon, energy efficient method for producing hydrogen fuel. Electrolysis — in which electricity is used to separate hydrogen from water — produces hydrogen fuel without carbon emissions, but its use is limited by high costs, which come primarily from large electrical draw. Blaisdell-Pijuan will study Norway — which derives nearly 100% of its energy from hydropower — to determine the costs and limitations of creating a network of hydrogen plants powered by renewable low-cost hydroelectricity. He will use techno-economic modeling to determine the number of hydroelectric-hydrogen plants needed to meet the projected demand for hydrogen fuel by 2050, and he will identify the most efficient technologies and plant designs for production.