Climate Confident

Powering Progress: The Inflation Reduction Act's Impact with Chris Larsen

January 17, 2024 Tom Raftery / Chris Larsens Season 1 Episode 153
Climate Confident
Powering Progress: The Inflation Reduction Act's Impact with Chris Larsen
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Show Notes Transcript

In today's episode of Climate Confident, I hosted Chris Larsen from DynaPower, a beacon of the clean energy movement. Chris unravelled the fascinating world of power electronics, spotlighting DynaPower's role in seamlessly integrating large-scale renewable energy projects with the grid.

Delving deeper, we discussed the monumental Inflation Reduction Act's influence on clean energy deployment, a game-changer that's fuelling investor confidence and project viability across the US.

A highlight was exploring the burgeoning realm of green hydrogen. Despite the scepticism, Chris presented a compelling case for its potential, particularly in industrial applications. We were privy to ground-breaking projects like Utah's green hydrogen plant, which promises a revolution in energy storage and a greener future.

Chris's passion shone through as he spoke of the cultural dynamism at DynaPower, a place where innovation is not just embraced but celebrated. His insights were a testament to the power of consumer demand in driving sustainable practices up the supply chain.

Tune in for a session rich in expertise and brimming with optimism for a sustainable future, powered by the unsung heroes of the energy industry.

Don't forget to check out the video version of this episode at https://youtu.be/5NSKQJw0HD0


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Credits
Music credits - Intro by Joseph McDade, and Outro music for this podcast was composed, played, and produced by my daughter Luna Juniper

Chris Larsen:

So we're seeing these, these RFPs come out from these steel mills. And again, the point is that yes, there are government mandates and, and you know, the EU has, has these very aggressive targets. All good. But in this particular case, it's also being driven by the consumer who's willing to pay a premium to have a green vehicle.

Tom raftery:

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, wherever you are in the world. This is the Climate Confident podcast, the number one podcast showcasing best practices in climate emission reductions and removals, and I'm your host, Tom Raftery. Don't forget to click follow on this podcast in your podcast app of choice to be sure you don't miss any episodes. Hi, everyone. Welcome to episode 153 of the Climate Confident podcast. My name is Tom Raftery and before we kick off today's show, a little bit of news. So some of you would be aware that I run a second podcast. So I run another podcast, which is called the Digital Supply Chain Podcast, or at least was called the Digital Supply Chain Podcast. Next week, Monday, January 22nd. I'm rebranding that podcast, the Sustainable Supply Chain Podcast. So from next Monday, January 22nd on, there will be no more Digital Supply Chain Podcast. And it will now be called the Sustainable Supply Chain Podcast, where I will be hosting stories focusing on Sustainability in supply chains. So just bear it in mind. If that's a topic that you might be interested in, check out the sustainable supply chain podcast. If you have interesting stories to tell about sustainability in supply chains, feel free to reach out, you know, the usual routine, Tom Raftery at outlook. com, hit me up on Twitter, hit me up on LinkedIn or wherever. Okay. Now with that out of the way, without further ado, my special guest on the show today is Chris. Chris, welcome to the podcast. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Chris Larsen:

Tom, good morning. Good afternoon. Great to be here. Yeah. Chris Larsen, senior director for Clean Energy at DynaPower. Been at DynaPower for almost 10 years now and have the privilege of working with an outstanding team. Thrilled to be here.

Tom raftery:

Okay, and DynaPower?

Chris Larsen:

DynaPower. I, I love telling the DynaPower story. You know, we've . We are a company focused on clean energy, so we do power electronics. So I'll just start with that. What do I mean by power electronics? So, DynaPower specializes in high power equipment that sort of is in the background enabling large solar, solar plus storage, hydrogen, and a variety of other projects to happen. So we do the conversion technology that takes, for example, AC grid power and converts it to DC for battery systems. Or taking AC grid power and converting it to, to DC for hydrogen electrolysis. So anything that involves conversion of power from AC to DC, DC to AC, DC DC converters, frequency conversion. So we do all of that stuff. And so we kind of like to think that for some of these large cool projects that, that are out there, we're sort of the Intel inside, so to speak. We, we do the magic work that helps everything connect and operate smoothly with, with the grid. So it's, it's a fun story though. DynaPower's been in business now for 60 years, so last month we celebrate our 60th anniversary. So founded in 1963 in, in Detroit doing power supplies. Yeah, very exciting doing power supplies for the metal finishing industry. So what does that mean? So , the auto parts that go into all of our cars go through a finishing process, you know, chrome platting and things of that nature. And so we did all the power supplies starting in the 1960s for that industry and obviously based in Detroit for for good reason. So founded by a gentleman named John Pollock. Fun story though, you know, his son Peter Pollock took over, in the, in the 1980s after he had been a professor at the University of Vermont.

Tom raftery:

Oh.

Chris Larsen:

Okay. So Peter, and he's this brilliant, Wild, crazy guy, you know, long gray ponytail, Harley Davidson riding guy. And so he, when he took over, he said, you know what? I really like Vermont. I'm gonna move the company to Vermont. And so keep in mind at the time Tom DynaPower's, customer base, about 90% of our customers were within a very tight radius of Detroit, Michigan. Right. The auto industry. So Peter says, says, dad, okay, I've taken over the company, I'm moving the company to Vermont, and I, I think there's some expletives shared at that point. We, we, we u we euphemistically say that, uh, it was, it was considered a very risky move at the time. I think there were some, yeah, some, some, some interesting words shared. The move happened 1989. We moved here to Burlington, Vermont, and the rest is history. You know, we evolved over the years into this focus on clean energy, and it's been really exciting. I've been a part of it for the past nine plus years and it's, it's been a really fun ride. So now we are, we are, you know, we still maintain our roots in the industrial space. We do a lot of really cool work in metal finishing in the steel industry, even in mining. And we do some defense work. But since I've joined, you know, a lot of our focus has really shifted to what we're doing in the clean energy space. And I think the other cool part of the story is that just last year a year and a half ago, we were acquired by Sensata Technologies, a publicly traded company out of Massachusetts. Sensata saw in us an opportunity to really make a big move into the clean energy space. And so for us, very exciting and really a validation of all the work that we've been, we've been doing. So, you know, as I like to say, and, and, and our management team likes to say, it feels like, you know, we, we we're a startup, but with, with a big, big company behind us. And so there's a, a, a lot of, uh, fun, creative, uh, energetic vibe. But, uh, yes, we are backed by a big company and that really helps us go after big projects and, uh, do more ambitious things.

Tom raftery:

Nice, nice. And Vermont. That's where Green Mountain Power is based. Right?

Chris Larsen:

It's, it is, and, and, you know, that's . w that, that's, that's just very fortunate for us. I'll, I'll put it that way. You know, you look at Green Mountain Power and for people outside of Vermont that may be a name that doesn't resonate or really mean anything. But, I, I would say without reservation that Green Mountain Power is, is one of the most innovative utilities in the country

Tom raftery:

Yep. I, I, I'd agree that's the, I, there are a lot of utilities in the US and there's a lot of utilities in the US and I've never heard of them, I'm sure, but Green Mountain Power to your point, are one of the few that I have heard of because they are so innovative. So sorry for interrupting you Keep going.

Chris Larsen:

Yeah. Yeah. So, so, and so we've, we've benefited from that, from that partnership with Green Mountain Power, and I'll tell one story of it to, to, to really you know, emphasize the point of how influential they, they they are and they have been. And how well they're recognized in the clean energy space. So when Tesla came out with their, with their Powerwall, the, the residential program, the residential you know, battery system, they, they first partnered with Green Mountain Power before any other utility.

Tom raftery:

Hmm.

Chris Larsen:

So when they made the big splash announcement, and this was, I don't know, uh, we'll, we'll call it, you know, six, seven, eight years ago when they made the big splash announcement, it was that they were first partnering with Green Mountain Power, which I thought was a real, testament to, to, to the innovative culture and mindset of, of the utility. And we've, we've done some, some very cool projects with them. We did a, a, a great project, a a one a first of with with Green Mountain Power. A solar plus storage microgrid, first of its kind in the country, where we could isolate at medium voltage and support a, a, a grid. This was actually inspired by, um, you know, we had a lot of flooding after Hurricane Irene back in 2007. They said, Hey, we need more places where people can go in the event of a natural disaster. So we worked with Green Mountain Power to set up this, this solar plus storage. No other assets, no diesel gen sets or anything like that. So a clean microgrid, at a landfill, a former landfill right next to some facilities where people could, could huddle and huddle and shelter. So we set up this micro grid with green mountain power. Just one example of, of some of the cool work that they have have funded within the state and, and and part of, you know how they sort of built this reputation, and so they we're very lucky to have them here in Vermont.

Tom raftery:

Nice. Yeah, no, I remember reading that partnership with Tesla where they were partnering with Tesla to give people Powerwall batteries so that, because apparently I didn't know this, and correct me if I'm wrong, but apparently there are ice storms which happen in Vermont during the winter, which can take out people's power. And so this is what I read. And so, instead of people having diesel generators in their garden to power them when there's an outage, they could use the batteries to power them. And at the same time create a virtual power plant from those batteries. So that would re, that would mean that Green Mountain Power could dip into the batteries from time to time and not have to build peaker plants, which are obviously far more expensive than two or 3000 distributed batteries.

Chris Larsen:

Absolutely. Yeah. You know, it's, it's, and that's, that's all part of, of how this, how this worked out and, and yeah, the, um, I don't, I couldn't tell you the adoption rate, Tom, you know, how many customers actually took, took up Green Mountain Power on this, but I know a number of folks here at DynaPower did join that, that program when, and, and were part of it. And that model, what, what you just described, I, I think we're gonna start seeing a lot more of that. We, we, we haven't, it's still early, right? This whole idea of the virtual power plant, the, the, the VPP. But that is a growing space and, and very exciting. And you know, that includes not just focusing on residential, you know, batteries, but also commercial, industrial. There's also, I, I love this vision of the future where our cars, our electric vehicles will be part of that as well, right? So if we have excess battery storage in our, in our cars, and we so choose to make that available when we're charging, we have a charger that's bi-directional. So the utility, if they have the green light from the car owner can actually draw from that, from that vehicle. You know, if you think about the number of batteries that are on the road in cars today. That's a, a big game changer. So I'm, I'm really excited about this whole idea of vehicle to grid as being part of the larger virtual power plant movement.

Tom raftery:

Yeah, no, I, I agree. And what a lot of people might not realize about that is if you do have an electric vehicle and you are part of a virtual and using your vehicle to do that, this isn't rolled out anywhere yet today, but it could be in the future to your point. But the Tesla Powerwall, for example, and similar batteries, the Tesla Powerwall is 14 kilowatt hours of storage and a car battery Usually, I mean, I have an electric car. It's a 64 kilowatt hour battery. It's a Kia Niro. The Teslas are 70, typically depending on the model. The ID4 is a 77. Some of the others are higher again, so, you know, you're talking between 60 and 80 kilowatt hour is kind of typical for a car versus 14 for a Powerwall on a house. So you could, you, you could just, you know, allow your utility to dip in and take 10% of your battery and if, if you had, you know, a thousand people doing that, that's a significant amount of storage for a utility for only 10% of an individual's storage. So, you know, it's not going to impact me if I give six kilowatt hours of my battery in any way for my range. And even if I thought it might, I could, you know, say, no, not tonight.'cause I have a long journey tomorrow. So, you know, I think there's, there's lots and lots of things like that that we can do and we will be doing to make the, the grid a lot more resilient and a lot more sustainable.

Chris Larsen:

A a. Absolutely. And you, you know, the other part of that, of course, Tom, is that is, you can imagine it's a way to actually make money as well, right? So the premise of, of what you described is that, well, you would get paid for those kilowatt hours, right? If, if you allow the utility at two o'clock in the afternoon to pull from your car, you're gonna get paid for that. You know, there was a pilot program up in Canada by one of our partners, a company called Peak Power, and they did a pilot in oh, I wanna say it was somewhere in near Toronto. Anyhow, where, where they actually did this. They, they, they built, they designed and built bi-directional chargers and worked with the utility for this program and I've forgotten now, Tom, the, what, what the, the consumers, the, the vehicle owners were paid. You know, the ones who joined this pilot program, again, this is small scale, but they were being paid a, a substantial multiple for those kilowatt hours above what they paid in the charging process. So, so. The economics, I think, will work as well, because when the utilities need that power, you know, the peak power, yeah, there, there's money to be to be had for the vehicle owners, which again, I think there's a virtuous cycle here, right? As, as those sorts of programs start to happen and people start to hear about this, think about the economics of owning an electric vehicle. Right now. You pay a little premium for your electric vehicle. We all know that it's, it's less expensive to charge with electricity than with gasoline. But having this opportunity to participate in vehicle to grid programs, would, would further accelerate the payback and I think the adoption of EVs. So very exciting stuff and, and something and, and you know what the other thing is I. The industry's moving fast. We are, we're gonna see this soon. I, I, I, I'm not an ev, you know, I, I drive an EV myself and, and we have a, a, a, a a group within our company that, that focuses on that, that market. But I'm not gonna pretend to be an expert. But, I think we're gonna see these, sorts of, of programs, sooner than later.

Tom raftery:

Nice. Yeah. Yeah. And who are typical customers for DynaPower? Is it just utilities or do you go broader than that?

Chris Larsen:

You know, we, so our customers are typically going to be, large integrators or project developers, or other equipment OEMs. So I'll give you, I'll give some examples. Um. In the battery space, for example, you know, because we make the inverter that converts to the DC from the battery to AC for the grid, you know, our customer might be a battery company. He says, okay, we make the batteries, but we would like to sell a battery that is grid capable. You know, we would call that

Tom raftery:

Mm-Hmm.

Chris Larsen:

the industry, an AC battery. Okay. DynaPower. We'd like to work with you and incorporate your inverter technology into our battery system. So that's one example. Or a, an an integrator. You know, we did an interesting project with Alpha Structure. A, a developer and integrator for a, a bus charging depot in Maryland. So in that particular case you know, they, the, the integrator, the developer, was our customer. And we also work with, you know, electrolyzer manufacturers and, and, and hydrogen plant developers. So it's interesting though, we, we don't do a lot of work directly with utilities, 'cause usually there's an integrator that's, that's pulling our gear in and then they're selling directly to the utilities.

Tom raftery:

Okay. Okay, that makes sense. And the recent passing of the Inflation Reduction Act.. I, I being, being Irish, I gotta be very careful, not to call it the IRA, so the Inflation Reduction Act, has to have had some, you know, it has to have really kicked into gear the, the, the space you are in, right?

Chris Larsen:

Without a doubt, y you know, it's, it's, it's been, I wanna be careful not, I don't wanna overstate it, but it, it's, it's been hugely important. And, and you know, it's interesting, you, you mentioned, you know, being from Ireland and, now based in, in, in Spain, you know, I've, I've been to a number of, of hydrogen con conferences and so I'll pick on hydrogen for just a moment in, in Europe. And you know, what we hear over and over from the big major players in, in the European hydrogen market is. Oh my gosh, I wish we had an IRA type of of program here in Europe. I heard one one major developer, hydrogen developer from the Netherlands, describe it this way. He said, it's, it's, it's, it's simple. It's smart, and it's fast and it's predictable. Right. So, so the program, the way it's structured is, is it's not competitive in the sense that you're competing against other . , projects. Basically it's, it's one of those, if, if you build it, they will come that, you know, the, the, the money will be there. So, it's a, in many regards, a simple direct, and this is the important part, bankable program. So if you're an investor., right? You look at this and you say, okay, we build this plant. It comes online in this year, and we know what the, the financial incentive will be. So, absolutely. You know, we , I won't share the name, but you know, one of the major wind and hydrogen developers out of Scandinavia. Well, actually she said this publicly, she said, you know, their pipeline, you know, this is a company based in Scandinavia doing a, you know, the, I think they, they're the largest wind developer in, Northern, Northern Europe. She said that their pipeline for hydrogen projects is greater in the US than it is in Europe, even though European based company, principally because the incentive structure is, is what it is. So, so the answer to your question is absolutely yes. And it sort of starts at the top with, with the, the, the investor class that is saying, Hey, this is something that, that, that we can rely on. It's helping projects pencil and, yeah, we are, we are very, very thankful for the tailwind that that has helped give to, to an already very, you know, active industry. And, and I should say, you know, it's, it's the, the, the industry has been doing very well and there are lots of big, big projects that are going to the ground, you know, regardless of, of, of the IRA. So, so in many regards, the IRA is, you know, an added boost. Things have been, you know, clicking along at, at quite a nice pace even prior to that. And I mean, there, there are lots of great examples of projects pre IRA and you know, one that we're involved in out in the western US the, the ACES, Delta Utah hydrogen storage project. Again, this is pre IRA. There is a US Department of Energy loan guarantee behind the project.

Tom raftery:

Okay.

Chris Larsen:

So all I'll to say that there's, there's a lot of interesting activity happening and, and even predating what, uh, what's, what's, what's become a real shot in the arm with the IRA.

Tom raftery:

Nice, nice. And the likes of, I know wind isn't a big one in the US per se, maybe in East Texas and places like that, but offshore wind at least isn't, isn't that big. But solar is booming, and I mean, we just saw, the recent International Energy Agency report to talk about the, the, dangers, particular potential dangers with solar are more around there not being the security of supply chain for all the solar that's gonna be demanded because you know, the prices are coming down and the demand is going up. So solar is really booming at the moment. Storage is as well. So are you seeing a lot of combined solar and storage or a lot of solar projects being rolled out at the moment?

Chris Larsen:

Short answer is yes. yeah. So, so. Okay. Solar itself, there are, you know, long-term supply chain concerns. It, it's interesting though, like in this moment of time though, right now we are seeing a, a mild glut in the market of solar panels, which, you know, again, these things come in waves, right? So at the moment, supply is clicking along just fine. Long term, you know, these, these are macro issues that, that we have to think about. How, how do we design materials out of the, the solar modules? And I think also there, you know, we, we very quickly in these discussions get into issues around geopolitics, right? Where are the, the raw materials, you know, where physically, geographically, that are being used in all these, these technologies and these are real issues and, and, issues of, of national security. I, I, because I'm more familiar with the battery side, I'll, I'll share some perspectives on, on the battery side where there is a lot of concern. About, you know, the, the availability of things like cobalt. You know, one of the largest producing countries of cobalt is the Democratic Republic of, of Congo. And so, you know, you think about that, well wait a minute, are, are, are we getting into issues around, you know, human right human rights violations in the DRC? And so we talk about conflict materials. So. Um, you know, I think on the battery side there's a lot of sensitivity around the materials that are going into the batteries. You know, where is the lithium coming from? Who, who has lithium supply? One of the things that we're seeing as a trend that will help, I think, mitigate some of that, is again, in the stationary storage space. So, so forget cars for just a moment. Uh, and, and, and to be really clear. Automobiles. EVs are by far the largest consumer of lithium ion batteries. I think it's five x versus the consumption of batteries for stationary storage. So set that aside though. When we think about stationary storage, which is a space that we're heavily involved in, we're seeing a trend right now, Tom, towards more long duration battery needs. Right? When I say long duration batteries, we're talking about greater than four hours of, of energy in, in these batteries. And, and I bring that up in the context of materials and supply chain diversity because when we start talking about these longer duration batteries, typically alternative chemistries that is non lithium chemistries become preferable more economic. We're talking about things like, flow batteries, uh, uh, zinc bromide. Uh, we're talking about, uh, iron, uh, iron batteries, iron air batteries. They're, they're, vanadium batteries. There are a variety of different chemistries that rely on different materials. That creates, I think, more diversity of supply, particularly when we talk about these longer duration batteries. Which we are seeing a lot more demand for in, in the market. So, that gives me some, some optimism. It doesn't solve the lithium problem. It doesn't solve the fact that, you know, electric vehicles, are, are consuming lithium batteries at a great clip. I don't know the long-term answer to that, but I will, I will share for, for your listeners in the US they will be surprised to hear that we are now mining lithium in Southern California. There was actually a fascinating 60 minutes, special on this. There's a mine, a lithium mine in Southern California. So we, we, we, uh, for, for your US listeners, we, we actually do have some homegrown, uh, lithium there.

Tom raftery:

Yeah, and didn't I read recently that there was a big find of lithium in Nevada as well, so if that's exploited as well, that will significantly help the, the, the global lithium industry.

Chris Larsen:

Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and you know, we're gonna, and. Hey, listen, e economics, right? As demand goes up, those searching the world and, and for, for places to mine this, they will find more. I'd be, uh, outta my league trying to comment on, on, you know, global lithium supply. But, I do believe that we're gonna have more finds like that. Well, we, we, we better, right? Um, Yeah. But it's, it, it is an exciting time and I think for us it's, it's, you know, you know, from DynaPower's perspective also say sort of selfishly because of our role in the market as the power electronics supplier, we get to work with all of these different technologies, and I think that's part of the the fun of my job and, and our team's job is that, you know, we are, you know, one day we're over here working on a, uh, a large lithium ion battery project, solar plus storage project, and the next day we're talk, talking with, with folks about 100 hour batteries, you know, an iron based battery that, that lasts for a hundred hours. And then the next day we might be talking with a, a ultra capacitor partner who's doing storage that is from six seconds to six minutes. Right. You know, just for those, those, those peak peak moments, transients on the grid. And then there are all these, these new generation, new gen, generators out there, using hydrogen. So there's a lot of great technology and I think that's part of the fun part of, of, of what I do and, and what our team does is, you know, getting to work with and see a lot of what's going on in, in the industry. And it gives me a lot of hope. it's fun, you know?'cause I got, I've got a geeky side, so. For me, it, it's, it's fun that I get to geek out and learn about these new technologies. That's, that's a great part of my job, but it also gives me a lot of reason for optimism to see these companies coming up with these great ideas and, um, getting real funding to, to, to bring it to market.

Tom raftery:

Cool. And you mentioned hydrogen as well. Personally, I'm quite skeptical about hydrogen. I think there's a lot of hype out there about hydrogen and there's far more probably pipeline for hydrogen generation and the demand will that we will see. I think a lot of that green hydrogen that we'll see brought on stream will just go to replace the gray or black or dark hydrogen that's being used today. And also supplant the kind of using Coke, burning coke for steel or, for concrete and cement manufacture as well. But apart from that, you know, some industrial processes, I don't see it going into a lot of things like transportation, which a lot of people are hyping it up for. So you were saying you were seeing a lot of, of developments happening there, which is great as long as it's used correctly. Where are you seeing most of the, the developments happening?

Chris Larsen:

Yeah, I, I agree with, with, with a lot of that, Tom, you know, there, there, there is, well, first I to, to underscore your point, that right now there is a, a, a large hydrogen . Industry and infrastructure out there, right? We talk about, you know, gray, you know, brown and all these other different colors of hydrogen. Hydrogen is a, is a, heavily traded and used commodity today, and I think a lot of folks don't, don't really appreciate that. But you know, it's used a great deal in refining, it's used in ammonia production, it's used in methanol production, it's used in steel, it's used in cement. These industries that, that you mentioned. So there is a thriving industry for hydrogen. So what we're talking about now is, well, wait a minute. This, this green hydrogen revolution is, is that going to really make, make a difference? And yeah, the, listen, the issue is again, it's, it's today. the cost of green hydrogen, which is simply hydrogen produced instead of being produced, you know, with, with either, grid power or being produced with, with coal or, or, or steam, you know, steam reformation processes with, with natural gas, it's, it's produced with electrons from from renewable energy. The, the challenge is that, yeah, it's more expensive period, right? Today it's, it's, it's much more expensive. It's, it's more than two x, the cost of what you would get in terms of, standard, you know, steam reformation of natural gas. So that's the gap, that's the challenge. So, to answer the question, well, there's this hype about, you know, green hydrogen plants being built, is this real? And you know, my perspective is absolutely yes. And, and because we are, we are seeing projects that are actually getting built and getting to, to, to FID and being funded. So, and of course some will say, well, wait a minute. Okay, time out. Time out. How much of that funding is, is government grants and subsidies and, and, and can this thing stand on its own? So I'll, let me address that. Yes. I mean, you, you look at any new technology, or a lot of new technologies, and a lot of it is government subsidized and you know, whether it's coal, nuclear, solar batteries. Now hydrogen, okay. Subsidies from the government. Let's just take that for granted. So hydrogen is in that phase right now where a lot of these projects do depend on government subsidies. I gave the example of the project in Utah, the ACES project. Now, that was a loan guarantee, but it call, you know, Whatever flavor it is, it is a, it is a government support. But, I'll describe maybe a couple examples where I think the market that will, will create demand for this and, and, and pay a premium. So two, actually I can give three examples. Start, well maybe start with that project in, in Utah, because I think that's, that's particularly interesting and it's, it's being built like the, the, the site is being erected today. And hats off to, to Mitsubishi. They're the, the sort of the brains behind this, uh, this particular project. So in that case, the hydrogen is being used as seasonal storage. Okay? So producing hydro green hydrogen, you know, using, renewables to produce hydrogen through electrolysis at this plant in Utah, which is sited there because they have massive salt caverns down in the ground.

Tom raftery:

Gotcha. Yep.

Chris Larsen:

Um. And they are using the salt caverns to store the hydrogen. So in this case, the hydrogen is being created, pumped underground into these massive salt domes. I, I think it's, it's the equivalent of a, a over 300 gigawatt hours if we converted this to electricity gigawatt hours of, storage, that's, that's available. So we're not talking about oh, 10 hours or, or a hundred hours of storage. We're talking about seasonal storage and, you know, being able to produce a lot in, in, you know, whatever time of year they , well, they're able to produce it out there all year long, but then supply the power in in peak seasons , to in this case, and this is what's important, Southern California. The offtake for this power, the primary offtake from this power is LADWP, the utility in Los Angeles, whose customers are saying we want green electricity. Right? And and the utility is, is, you know. Then therefore they're buying this, this power, which again, to close the loop there on the, this plant in in Utah, they will then be burning the hydrogen in turbines and then sending it to Southern California over high efficiency, what we call HVDC, high voltage DC transmission.

Tom raftery:

Mm-Hmm.

Chris Larsen:

that's one use case where again, it's, it's largely customer driven. We want green power. We have this ability to store, for long periods. So, so that's one example. I think another example, which, which I think is, is, is kind of cool in, in Europe. BMW, so, so I'll, I'll pick on them in, in a good way. You know, their customers say, Hey, we, we wanna buy electric vehicles, but we don't just want the car to be electric. We would actually like the materials in the car to also be green. We want you BMW to be, you know, using green steel. So they hear this from their customers. So they go to their auto parts manufacturers say we want green steel. So the auto parts manufacturers go to the, go to the steel mills and say, Hey, we, we need to purchase green steel because our, our customer BMW is asking for this. So. How do the steel plants produce green steel? Well, there are a lot of different processes. I mean, you, you, you, you know, the steel world, it's, it's a complex process to produce

Tom raftery:

Hmm.

Chris Larsen:

One of the key elements in that process is the use of hydrogen and, you know, in the chemical process. So today. Right. That's usually brown, gray hydrogen. So the steel mills are now looking to green hydrogen developers, Hey, can you place an an electrolysis unit at our plant so that we can self-produce, green steel? So we're seeing these, these RFPs come out from these steel mills. And again, the point is that yes, there are government mandates and, and you know, the EU has, has these very aggressive targets. All good. But in this particular case, it's also being driven by the consumer who's willing to pay a premium to have a green vehicle. And so that aff effects affects the supply chain all the way down to the actual steel mills. So I think we'll see more and more of, of, of those sorts of dynamics. And listen, like anything else. I, uh, I, I have a degree in economics, and so maybe I, I'm, I'm drinking the, the economics Kool-Aid, but I witnessed this with solar. I mean, I got into the solar industry in 1996, which it sounds crazy. In fact, that's even a lie. There wasn't a solar industry in 1996. I mean, that was, that was the dark Ages. Not the dark ages, but I guess the the, the early solar hippie ages and. You know, at that point, PV modules, I don't know what they cost, but it was well over $5 a watt. And now, you know, today, you know, what's the, the, the price of a module for large projects. It's, it's, it's, it's south of 40 cents per watt. So we see economies of scale and I think we're gonna see some of that with green hydrogen as well. I can't tell you when we're gonna get to this magic number of $2 per kilogram. You know, that's sort of the, the, the, the target. You know, if we can get to $2 per kilogram, this becomes sustainable. I don't know when we're gonna get there, Tom, but it's, it's moving in the right direction. And the other comment I'll make about the production of hydrogen that I think is, is relevant is the greatest proportion of the cost to make green hydrogen is the electricity. Right? You know, and again, we're talking about using electricity to feed into the electrolyzer, which splits the, the water molecule, the H and the O and Presto. You've got hydrogen and oxygen. The electricity cost is the biggest driver. It's an opex driven, production process. And it's somewhere between, you know, some people will say between 60 and 75% of the cost of green hydrogen is the electricity itself. And so, that obviously relies on less expensive renewables. So as we continue to see the cost of, of renewable energy come down. And it, it still is coming down, we will see, you know, obviously the, the cost of green hydrogen comes down with it. Now, set aside for the moment, the, the issue of, you know, will it ever work in transportation? I don't know. I think there are limitations. So I don't disagree. I think there are real limitations to using hydrogen in transportation, but I'm not gonna pretend to be an expert in that space. But, but setting that aside, there will be a lot of demand in these other sectors.

Tom raftery:

Okay, cool. Cool. So Chris.. We're coming towards the end of the podcast now. Is there any question I haven't asked that you wish I had or any aspect of this we haven't touched on that you think it's important for people to think about?

Chris Larsen:

Well, we've talked a bit about the, uh, the technology and some of the things that we're, we're involved with, which is, which is a lot of fun and, and, and, uh, that gets me really excited every day. I think one thing that we haven't talked too much about is sort of the. What, what the other part of what, what I love about my job is, is, you know, the people I work with and, and the culture here at, at, at DynaPower. So, I would say, you know, I'm very lucky at this stage of my career to have, to have found, this home at DynaPower. You know, I, I, I've spent time at, at ABB, a large multinational loved ABB, a great company. I've also worked for startups. I've worked for a startup that failed. You know, the classic case didn't, uh, ran outta money. And so I, I feel very lucky to have to have to have gotten to DynaPower. And for me, a lot of it has to do with just the culture here. I. You know, I have a lot of fun every day, but I think more importantly, the the, the first week that I joined DynaPower, I remember this very clearly. I joined as a, uh, as a sales engineer about, uh, nine, nine years ago, you know, individual contributor. And the first week I was asked to join a, a major strategy session. I thought, wow, this is really cool. You know, this, this company, really values the input of, of, of the individual. And I felt really empowered. So that for me is a lot of what I enjoy about being here and, and it's part of the experience that I wanna create for, for our team members, is this feeling that you can have an impact. And we're not such a big company that your voice doesn't matter. I, I love the fact that our, our CEO, uh, Adam has an open door policy. So everyone has access to, to our CEO and, and everyone's voice really matters here. So, that's part of the culture that I, I enjoy and, and part of what keeps me, me fired up and, and, coming to work every day. It's, it's, it's, the technology is fun, love the people and, uh, the company's been, um. Yeah, it's been, it's been fantastic. And hey, we're, we're always hiring. So, uh, I think that's the other part, fun part of my job. I get to talk to a lot of talented people that are coming into the industry.

Tom raftery:

Super, super, super. Chris, if people would like to know more about yourself or any of the things we discussed in the podcast today, where would you have me direct them?

Chris Larsen:

DynaPower.com. So our website I think tells, tells the story and has contact information and so I, I think, um, yeah, I would just send people to, to, to the website.

Tom raftery:

Fantastic. Chris, that's been really interesting. Thanks a million for coming on the podcast today.

Chris Larsen:

Tom, appreciate it. Thanks for the time. Take care.

Tom raftery:

Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about the Climate Confident podcast, feel free to drop me an email to tomraftery at outlook. com or message me on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you like the show, please don't forget to click follow on it in your podcast application of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're published. Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find the show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.

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