Jetstream announces more utility-scale, zero-emissions hydrogen power plants

Michael Giberson

Just days after the company reportedly broke ground on their first plant in New Mexico, the Honolulu Advertiser reports that Jetstream Wind, Inc., has indicated plans to build another one of the “world’s first utility-scale, zero-emissions hydrogen power plants” at Molokai, Hawaii:

The Molokai plant, proposed by Jetstream Wind Inc., would use electricity from wind or solar or a combination of the two to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen would then be burned in a turbine – similar to what is used in a natural-gas-fired power plant – and would generate enough electricity to power 6,000 homes and businesses, the company said.

The company cannot disclose the exact location on Molokai for the plant because negotiations for the site are still under way, said Xavier Marquez, Jetstream Wind Inc. chief networking officer.

The company hopes to break ground in 30 to 60 days, Marquez said.

Yet, Hawaiian Electric Co. has not had any contact with the company about selling the power generated by its proposed new plant, said Peter Rosegg, HECO spokesman.

If Jetstream Wind is going to sell power to the utility on Molokai, it will need a Power Purchase Agreement with Maui Electric Co., said Maria Tome, Hawaii State Energy Office renewable transportation energy program manager. Maui Electric is a subsidiary of HECO.

Emphasis added. Odd that they would plan to build a “utility-scale” power plant, and yet not talk to the local utility. (Apparently, they haven’t talked to New Mexico electric utility PNM, either. Also odd.)

More from the story:

“We’re the first company that had the foresight to jump on creating a combinatory system and putting the pieces together to make it viable for the public and for electrical generation,” [Henry Herman, Jetstream Wind CEO] said.

“Basically it’s 8th-grade science scaled up very, very large,” Herman said. “We need to go green to free us from our dependence on foreign oil.”

Citing proprietary concerns, Herman provided few technical details about the inner workings of Jetsteam Wind’s proposed plant in New Mexico.

The July 4 ground breaking at the Truth or Consequences, NM site was a “private ceremony,” according to the Jetstream website. Also odd.  When people build real ground breaking renewable power plants these days, a phone call or two can turn up a gaggle of celebrities and a posse of politicians with goofy green smiles for the cameras.  But not even on there website do I see a photo of this earth-shattering ground breaking event.

Hawaii blogger Ian Lind concludes, “It seems that Jetstream Wind may just be hot air.”

And when you hear the company’s CEO say things like, “We’re the first company that had the foresight to jump on creating a combinatory system and putting the pieces together to make it viable for the public and for electric generation,” it does sound like hot air.

(I posted about Jetstream a few days ago as well.)


5 thoughts on “Jetstream announces more utility-scale, zero-emissions hydrogen power plants

  1. I have the strange feeling I am missing something here. Why would a company generate electricity from two periodic or intermittent generation sources, then use that electricity to separate hydrogen from water in the desert, then store the hydrogen at elevated pressure and finally burn the hydrogen in air to produce electricity?

    The only advantage I see is the potential to dispatch otherwise undispatchable power. The disadvantage is several steps, each of which reduces the efficiency of the overall process. The electricity they generate initially is some of the most expensive electricity available. The electricity they generate finally can hardly be cheaper, not only because of the intervening losses but also because of the investment required between the two electric generation steps.

  2. Glad to see this commentary about Jetstream. I live off-grid about 30 miles from the spaceport. Last week as all the press releases were flying about I took a look and thought “Hydrogen…no market for it, hard to store, extremely inefficient to separate, and our green energy in NM is worth the same as coal.

    PNM is supplies power to major cities in NM (Santa Fe, ABQ, Las Cruces). However, most of the outlying areas are using Coops like Kit Carson or Sierra Coop. Jetstream would need to sell power back through Sierra Coop based on the spaceports location and where they claim to be setting up. Sierra Coop buys back at $0.03 a kwh and sell it to the customers at $0.13 a kwh. It means that you always loose money with a grid-tie situation since they pay PV Solar and Wind customers the same that they pay for coal. Kit Carson Coop is the same. The city of Truth or Consequences (who owns their own power grid) also in the area will not accept any feed in power to the grid.

    What I want to know is why even create the hype for such poorly thought out project?

  3. Mikey, was there local news coverage of the groundbreaking? I’ve looked online and didn’t see anything, but maybe something is out there beyond the reaches of Google news. The more I read about the company, the more is seems like a scam. No doubt the technology could work, but it would just be so expensive as to be a waste of resources.

  4. @Reid:

    There is some sense to it, but it is weird in a way. They want to (probably) store the hydrogen to burn it when electricity is most expensive, plus they can react faster than nuclear or coal power plants. However, I don’t know how many solar/wind cells you need to make this effective (not to say cost-effective). You need to have made enough hydrogen over the day to power the plant either through the night or to power it all time. So, I doubt this is really viable.

    Also, no company in the right sense of mind starts a construction project for a power plant without a contract to sell! I mean the length of the contract to sell defines the costs of the power plant usually. (If you want to amortise your project in 15 years, you need a contract of at least 15 years or more). As Giberson sais, this is highly dubious and probably a PR-project.

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