April 19

ENB #115 – Ken Medlock, Stops by the podcast and we talk government policies, critical issues round the Carbon Capture, Inflation Reduction Bill and the energy crisis.


Source: ENB

This is an excellent discussion around critical issues in the CCUS, Carbon Capture, and policies. Education is crucial to all sides of the energy crisis, and it is fantastic talking with industry leaders like Ken. – Thank you for stopping by the ENB podcast, Stu

Ken Medlock, Senior Director with the James A Baker III and Susan G Baker Fellow in Energy and Resource Economics at Rice University. Please connect and follow Ken on his LinkedIn HERE:

00:00 – Intro

00:57 – Knowing Ken Medlock

02:26 – How long have you been teaching?

03:29 – What are some of the biggest things you’re working on right now in that you’re trying to see in the industry around carbon capture and and those things?

06:11 – How can academic institutions like Rice University help address the challenges associated with the delayed implementation of government policies, specifically in relation to the infrastructure and inflation reduction bills, which are being held up by regulations and time constraints? What role can thought leadership play in driving change and streamlining the implementation process?

10:44 – Talks about Hydrogen

12:24 – Talks about Hydrogen Production

14:10 – Talks about Siting Transmissions

15:45 – Talks about Carbon Capture

20:48 -What do you see coming around the corner? What are you working on right now?

27:06 – How do we develop that hydrogen fuel cell

30:48 – Talks about Fuel and the regulations for pollution

31:41 – What is Next for Ken Medlock

33:10 – Outro

A shout-out to the gang at Raconteur Media Company and The Carbon Neutral Coalition.

Automatic Video Transcription may be edited for grammar. We disavow any errors unless they make us look better or smarter. – Check out the YouTube or podcast for the actual language. (I am from Texas and Oklahoma, so I talk funny).

Stuart Turley [00:00:06] Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Energy News Me podcast today. There is just not a great day. It’s a wonderful day because I get to have a special guest come by our podcast. My name’s Stu Turley, president and CEO of the Sandstone Group, and we’re here to talk to Ken Medlock.

Stuart Turley [00:00:22] He’s got a job title that’s about as long or as big as Texas he’s over he’s a doctor over a Ph.D. over at Rice University, is with James Baker, the third and Susan Baker, fellow in Energy Resource Economics. We have some shared connections, and I’m excited to have this talk today. Ken, thank you for stopping by.

Ken Medlock [00:00:46] Pleasure to be here.

Stuart Turley [00:00:47] So we were chit chatting right before the show here, and you’ve got some other things as a doctor over there at Rice. Tell us what you got going on over there.

Ken Medlock [00:00:57] Oh, yeah. So I in addition to my fellowship title here at the Baker Institute, I’m also the senior director of the Center for Energy Studies. We’ve been ranked number one in the world among all energy and natural resource. Think tanks moved into the category Center of Excellence by the ratings group, which is based out of University of Pennsylvania. Just a couple of years ago. So it’s it’s an honor to work with the folks I work with here. It’s a reflection of the collective expertise of our shop. And I’m also co-director of the Master of Energy Economics program in the economics department here at Rice.

Stuart Turley [00:01:34] It sounds great. And you’re also a an advisor education thought leadership for the Texas Carbon Neutral Coalition, correct?

Ken Medlock [00:01:44] Yeah, I’m actually I’m an academic advisor. Basically, when they have questions about things that they’re contemplating, they reach out and ask for my thoughts and I give them time. So.

Stuart Turley [00:01:54] Well, that’s fantastic. I thoroughly enjoy I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing a few folks from over there, and Susan and Chuck are just phenomenal folks and everything else, so. All right. We’re going to have some great discussions here.

Stuart Turley [00:02:09] We want to cover some ideas, ideas and what you’re seeing. How long have you been teaching? Because you seem like a you know, there’s a you and I were kind of laughing about some of the students and stuff and body language and things like that. How long have you been teaching?

Ken Medlock [00:02:27] Well, I actually started teaching when I was still in graduate school. So that’s going to go back to 1998. And I’ve been teaching consecutively. I taught the last two years of my graduate degree when the private sector for about four and a half years and continued to teach. Worked out an agreement where I could teach a class in the morning at Rice and continue to do that and then came back to Rice full time in 2004. So collectively I’ve been teaching about 25 years.

Stuart Turley [00:02:53] So nice. You know, I always love academia, but I went to Oklahoma State University and got a 2 to 5 overall in there. So I was not real interested in college and I had to cover it up with another degree from somewhere else. So I always thought I seemed.

Ken Medlock [00:03:11] To be doing okay.

Stuart Turley [00:03:11] So yeah, I always thought I’d retire and go be a college professor and then get my Ph.D. and everything else. But I’m having too much fun being a podcast host. So podcast host, you know, I don’t know. Let’s get into the CCUS. and the carbon capture and storage. What are some of the biggest things you’re working on right now in that you’re trying to see in the industry around carbon capture and and those things?

Ken Medlock [00:03:39] Oh, boy, that’s a great question. It is. First of all, I’ll say it’s a rapidly evolving space and it just a few years ago was really a blank canvas. So a lot of policy overlay, a lot of interest by different, different actors, not only in the oil and gas arena, but really anybody who’s interested in promoting carbon capture and sequestration so they can get credit for it against their own carbon footprint. Right. There’s all sorts of things going on.

Ken Medlock [00:04:09] We published a report and this is actually really what got me connected with with with the Carbon Neutral coalition. We published a report two years ago, February based on opportunities to really scale carbon capture and sequestration in the state of Texas. So it was very regionally focused.

Ken Medlock [00:04:27] Generally, we take that kind of approach with our research protocols because particularly when you’re getting into deploying assets and steel on the ground and making investments, it gets local really fast. Right? So lots of federal overlay here. You know, with the with the Inflation Reduction Act, there’s a lot of stimulus that’s been put in place, the expansion of 45 CU, for example, to, you know, really kind of create a lot of momentum behind carbon capture and sequestration as a viable opportunity commercially.

Ken Medlock [00:04:58] Where we kind of step in as first of all, yeah, we can evaluate that, but there’s not a lot of value add from a university perspective to say, yeah, this, this subsidy is going to do going to be great for promoting interest. I mean, the, the industry sort of makes that determination on its own. Where we step in is really in the in the policy and regulatory space.

Ken Medlock [00:05:16] So what needs to happen, what needs to happen in order to see that these sort of intended stimulus packages actually do what they’re designed to do? And there’s a set of issues that we like to track related to liability permitting, siting of infrastructure, you know, a host of things that really, really is you know, the devil’s in the details, so to speak. But that’s that’s really where where you cut your teeth when you start thinking about getting these projects up and running. So there’s there’s a lot of interest from our perspective on that, really the policy dimension so that the economics can actually work in a market can be created.

Stuart Turley [00:05:55] When you talk about in fact and Secretary Granholm this past week said that they’ve got to overhaul the regulations and the regulatory. And then you take a look at the regulations, the all the extra money that I’m seeing just in visiting with all the other folks.

Stuart Turley [00:06:12] The extra money that came in on the infrastructure bill and the inflation reduction bill, they’re now being drag out because of the regulations and the amount of time. And how can the Rice University help articulate that or change that? Because you mentioned that some of your best focus. How do you because that’s a leadership role, a thought leadership role of that.

Ken Medlock [00:06:39] Yeah. So you mentioned two specific legislative packages one was the IIJA sometimes referred to as a bipartisan infrastructure law. Right. But also the inflation, the IRA Inflation Reduction Act. Both are tremendous stimulus packages for lower carbon energy.

Ken Medlock [00:07:00] So there are provisions around developing hubs for hydrogen, for example. There’s a massive push right now to develop hydrogen hubs all across the country. They’re going to pick multiple locations. And the Gulf Coast to Texas is one of them. There’s a few different proposals in play there.

Ken Medlock [00:07:17] But to really make that a quote unquote low carbon hydrogen hub, you have to think about integrating carbon capture, because a lot of what is is true, a lot of what the industrial complex or core in the Gulf Coast is built on is a lot of infrastructure to move natural gas around. And natural gas is a massive feedstock for hydrogen production.

Ken Medlock [00:07:39] And so if you can capture the carbon emissions associated with the production of hydrogen, there you get what’s often termed as blue hydrogen, which is a low carbon source and a viable prospect for being attractive to those funds from the US government.

Ken Medlock [00:07:53] What’s interesting about all that right, is it’s well-intended and it is game changing in terms of driving interest. But if you can’t get a pipeline sited in permit, if you can’t, you know, get certain facilities develop, if you can’t drill a well in state offshore or federal offshore waters to sequester carbon dioxide in subsurface saline aquifers, then all of that comes to a grinding halt.

Ken Medlock [00:08:19] So there is a massive need for permitting to really address really the blind spot in a lot of that that legislation, which is, you know, it’s nice to have these incentives in place, but they will they’re a road to nowhere absent the ability to build back. So I think that’s being grappled with. You’re seeing all sorts of signals out of the federal government and I’m hopeful that something will eventually come to pass. But there’s still a lot to do, right, even beyond federal legislation.

Ken Medlock [00:08:47] You know, in the state of Texas, you’ve still got, you know, local permitting issues that you have to address. You’ve still got local incentives. There’s even the issue of what is the regulatory overlay, right? So if we talk about hydrogen, that’s not clearly defined at all. There’s actually a bill on the floor in the in the state legislature now for Texas to give that that legislative or that that regulatory authority to the Railroad Commission, which will be a good first step.

Ken Medlock [00:09:12] Federally, there is no regulatory agency in charge of hydrogen, with the exception of the Department of Transportation. But that’s all on safety. It’s not around market function or constructing new facilities or anything of the sort.

Ken Medlock [00:09:25] So, you know, you step into this this sort of no man’s land in a lot of ways because you don’t know which regulatory body you’re going to have to deal with, which what permits and permitting challenges you’re going to have in front of you as you try to mature these projects and move to NFIB and get to a point where you can actually begin to execute.

Ken Medlock [00:09:46] And I think that is where we come in, right? It’s really about identifying those issues. We don’t advocate. We’re not in advocacy, right? We’re actually I always say elevate, don’t add. And so the idea is to elevate the discussion to a point where the issues are identified so that appropriate action can be taken when it comes to drafting legislation, writing bills, all that kind of stuff. I’ll let the special interest groups do all that right. For us, it’s really just about raise these issues to the surface so that they can be seen.

Stuart Turley [00:10:15] I’ll tell you, that’s huge. I mean, when you sit back and take a look at some of the biggest issues that are out there right now with hydrogen and everything else, because hydrogen, I, I think, is going to be fantastic. And it really leads itself into natural gas because you can transport, you know, with with adding some new terminals to a natural gas pipeline, you can use it to transport it. And that’s where a lot of the problem is.

Ken Medlock [00:10:44] Well, they’re there in terms of moving hydrogen and natural gas facilities. There are some issues that are under study because hydrogen, hydrogen can actually embroil steel. So you’ve got to have the right kind of facility in place to actually move hydrogen.

Ken Medlock [00:10:58] Now, there’s experiments. How much hydrogen can I blend with natural gas and not create a structural integrity issues? There’s a lot a lot of work to be done. Still there, without a doubt. But we in the state of Texas, we already have two thirds of the nation’s hydrogen transportation infrastructure in place. So there are dedicated hydrogen pipes.

Stuart Turley [00:11:19] I did not know that.

Ken Medlock [00:11:20] And yes, and there’s ability to to develop that stuff. So this region is really well situated to become a hub not just for hydrogen, but also for carbon capture, because the two are very intimately linked. When you get down to, you know, ultimately how you make hydrogen and what you use it for.

Ken Medlock [00:11:37] So it’s really incumbent on lawmakers in the state to recognize that comparative advantage and actually put in place the appropriate constructs. And this is where you get into policy and market design so that private private actors or industry can act upon them.

Stuart Turley [00:11:53] So I’ll tell you, when you take a look at the rainbow, if you would, of hydrogen, you know, you’ve got gray, green, blue, purple. You know, green is when it’s done with renewables and then brine and anyway.

Stuart Turley [00:12:11] But water is such a huge issue with hydrogen. What are you I mean, when you take a look at it that Texas is a wonderful location because you can’t always put hydrogen for manufacturing or anything else where there’s no water. I mean, right.

Ken Medlock [00:12:29] Now you need for electrolysis you definitely need a water resource, right. Or other forms of hydrogen production, that’s less of a constraint. So obviously, if you’re going to develop a you’re going to size and electrolyzer and you’re going to use wind, wind energy to drive the electrolyzers for you, making hydrogen by splitting water molecules.

Ken Medlock [00:12:54] You’re only going to do that in a place where you’re not resource constraint. So you’re going to have to have water available. You know, it’s it’s it’s an interesting example of how no matter what form of energy we talk about, there are resource constraints present.

Ken Medlock [00:13:08] I mean, even with renewables like wind and solar, you’ve got to have land for siting. And if you’re on land, then that’s the constraint. Right. So there’s there’s a constraint on every front. It’s just a matter of figuring out what that balance is and how to actually allocate those resources to deliver energy at the most reliable and low cost way possible.

Stuart Turley [00:13:26] Well, you’re bringing up some great points on this kind of stuff. And I mean, when you you nailed it with how far out. And again, Texas is leading the war. You know, I don’t want to say the world, but, you know, we’re the third largest, you know, economy out there, whatever the number is. I mean, Texas is really a country and we all are proud of ourselves.

Stuart Turley [00:13:52] But, you know, the transmission lines from all of the wonderful windmills and solar panels and everything else coming back in there, I mean, it’s they’re all into ERCOT. But you got to bring all that from the west into the east and to Dallas and everything else. Those are not lightweight issues.

Ken Medlock [00:14:09] No siting transmission is is incredibly important to really harness the potential for renewables in the state. And it’s not just West Texas. It’s actually when you get into discussions of offshore because the wind potential offshore is massive and you still got to develop, you know, the interconnect capability and the transmission cables offshore and then the sort of the nearest term sort of frontier for for wind and solar is really South Texas.

Ken Medlock [00:14:36] So again, there you’re going to have to have some additional transmission capacity or transmission upgrades. And, you know, we’re right back to talking about permitting and citing. Right. So these issues are front and center, no matter what form of energy you want to talk about.

Stuart Turley [00:14:52] And and I don’t I’m a little bit I’d love to you know when you take a look at reducing the amount of fossil footprint and carbon capture. Carbon capture goes wonderful with taking even the like the methane out of the oil and gas field or the carbon capture.

Stuart Turley [00:15:11] Occidental last year was the number one company on the S&P 500, but they really kind of spun it around. And, you know, not only are they in oil and gas, but they are going into the big the carbon capture society. You know, it’s freezing out. That’s a huge market. Ken when you take a look at what they said, it’s trillions or, you know, as Carl Sagan would say, billions upon billions. But now what’s a few trillion between friends and budgets? But that’s a huge market.

Ken Medlock [00:15:44] So carbon has been captured and used for a while in the state of Texas. Right? So this is where you get to carbon capture, utilization and storage. So the idea that you can capture CO2 or you can actually extract CO2 from from natural occurring formations and pipe it into West Texas, which happens as well, and inject it into the subsurface to increase pressure in the reservoir and lift more oil and gas. That’s been happening for a long time. That’s just enhanced oil recovery. That’s that’s what e.r. Is what we lost here that referred to this.

Ken Medlock [00:16:20] And there’s a lot of evidence that cites, you know, when this stuff is injected, it’s it’s injected in a supercritical form, so it can actually create that pressure, drive and lift, and most of it stays in the subsurface.

Ken Medlock [00:16:32] The pushback is, well, yeah, but you’re doing that, but you’re lifting more hydrocarbon molecules and you’re going to end up creating more CO2 on the other side. And that’s fair. But what Oxy’s interested in doing is creating effectively a circular or zero carbon crude, right? So we can use direct air capture and you use the CO2 to enhance recovery of oil. So you’re pulling the CO2 out of the atmosphere rather than extracting it from, from other means.

Ken Medlock [00:17:02] And so that that has a lot of potential and a lot of promise. It’s expensive. You’re talking about when you talk about director capture or extracting 0.04% of a stream because that’s the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Ken Medlock [00:17:15] So when you think about that, that’s a difficult engineering problem but it’s like anything else when you when you boil it down to a technical issue, you don’t I don’t think it’s safe to bet against humankind because we’re pretty good at figuring those things out historically. And I think we will in this case as well.

Ken Medlock [00:17:31] But beyond that, there there are lots of other opportunities for deploying carbon capture and then just just straight up sequestration. And there’s also I’ll just throw this out there. There’s a tremendous amount of research going into how do you utilize carbon that’s captured to create materials. So an advanced material applications, advanced chemistry applications. So turn it into a product rather than than something that’s a byproduct and a cost, because if you can do that, it changes the commercial mindset dramatically.

Stuart Turley [00:18:04] Oh, absolutely. So, you know, as the James Baker and Susan Baker fellowship and the leadership, what a great thing for Rice University, your fellowship and everything else because Texas. Yeah, all of you right here.

Stuart Turley [00:18:18] And I was reading that some of my contacts up in Europe, they were looking at the technology that was going on, just as you mentioned, with carbon capture in Texas. So they can start using it in the North Sea and in those other because they’re. Well, yeah.

Ken Medlock [00:18:39] So in the North Sea that the largest act is carbon capture and sequestration project is actually in Norway. So that’s that’s that’s already operating. Right. And it’s it’s sort of something that came about because of for legal reasons, right? There was a requirement imposed by the government and you know, the industry there stepped up and really met it head on.

Ken Medlock [00:19:03] The the technologies that are being developed everywhere will have spillover effects. And the potential for Texas to be a leader in that space is absolutely enormous because we are endowed with a tremendous fossil resource so oil and gas. We have incredible human capital depth and expertise in extracting and moving and refining and processing all of that stuff to make it usable for the rest of humanity.

Stuart Turley [00:19:33] Right.

Ken Medlock [00:19:34] And we also, because of that, have a massive expertise in logistics and supply chain management that is unmatched really anywhere in the world. And think about the ports in the state of Texas. You think about the pipeline networks, the transportation corridors, all of the goods and services that move in and out of and along those those arteries. It’s just  it’s massive. Massively important when you think about developing low carbon energy solutions and what what what role Texas can play in actually leading the world on this front. So it’s it’s the potential’s there. We’ve just got to see that as realized.

Stuart Turley [00:20:11] You know, not that I’m trying to be nice to or anything Ken, but, you know, education of this whole energy, everything is critical on the energy crisis going on right now. Getting to carbon net zero, you have the folks over here and where you’re at. Is that truly the intersection

Stuart Turley [00:20:31] And I love your comment about you got to have the regulatory issues solved. I mean, you and Rice University here and then with the carbon coalition, unbelievable right at the crossroads of all of these things. What do you see coming around the corner? What are you working on right now?

Ken Medlock [00:20:52] Well, lots of things. I’ll give you a little brief background on the Baker Institute and the Center for Energy Studies here at Rice. And that’ll give you some insight into all these different touch points. Right. So here at the center, we have programs that are on incumbent fuels like oil and gas and what their role in in transitions will be, what their role in providing energy security will be you know, how that is different in different parts of the world.

Ken Medlock [00:21:22] So what’s happening in Europe and how transitions will evolve in Europe is not going to look anything like what happens in Asia and even in Asia. China is going to look different than India. That’s going to look different than Indonesia. You know, pick a country in the world. There’s a different path they all will walk.

Ken Medlock [00:21:37] So bringing that to light is a major point of emphasis for us because it really highlights how you can’t paint with broad brush strokes and, you know, regulatory and regulatory architecture and market design. All these things will have tremendous implications for how things ultimately unfold in different regions around the world.

Ken Medlock [00:21:57] We also have a lot we’re doing a lot of work on minerals and materials. There’s a ton of interest in, you know, what the minerals, metals and materials load will be for certain types of energy choices. And so it’s it’s an area of intense, intense focus, if you will, for us. We’re also doing work on electricity policy, which, you know, as you as anybody knows, if they just watch the news over the last couple of years has been a major talking point in almost every circle.

Ken Medlock [00:22:30] We’re also doing work that’s focused on on environmental issues ranging from waste and recycling to circularity to water to hydrogen to carbon capture. So there’s we have lots of fingers in lots of pies. And we also have very focused regional programs like on on Latin America, on the Middle East, on Asia and Europe. So we’re doing lots right.

Ken Medlock [00:22:55] All of that connects, though, when you start talking about transitions and what’s really interesting is you see a very distinct connection around two things hydrogen and carbon capture. So we we released a study not too long ago on hydrogen. It’s available on our website focused on Texas and what the opportunities are. But the study addresses what’s happening globally as well,.

Ken Medlock [00:23:19] Because you have to realize that there are a lot of countries that have actually put out national hydrogen strategies, right in those strategies. In many cases, they connect to lots of different production technologies, but they ultimately connect to carbon capture as well.

Ken Medlock [00:23:35] And so getting a clear line of sight on how you develop a market around hydrogen and at the same time promote a cost effective, viable carbon capture and sequestration industry is not an easy task. Right? And you’ve got to really think about it’s more than just the government’s going to subsidize this or provide a tax credit for this because that’s great for stimulating interest, but it ultimately will just lead to bilateral deals and that does not a market, right? You need you need liquidity, you need depth, you need transparency because markets crave transparency at the end of the day. And so you’ve got to think about market design.

Ken Medlock [00:24:14] And that ultimately gets into a discussion about how do you create transparent, transparent vehicles so that transactions can occur, right? And participants can enter and exit and that as little cost as possible. And that’s a lot of what I see coming. In fact, I’ve already seen a couple of workshops and participate in a couple of workshops on that exact point. Right on.

Stuart Turley [00:24:36] Right.

Ken Medlock [00:24:36] How do you actually envision secondary markets and hydrogen evolving? What sort of transparency protocols need to be put in place? Because there’s a recognition that you need depth to to drive liquidity and you need transparency to drive all of that. And only when you get that will you promote an investment platform that is low enough risk to attract a lot of different actors. And that’s ultimately where we need to get.

Ken Medlock [00:25:00] So there’s a lot of interest on all this stuff. And it’s not easy, right? Because there’s thousands of special interests with different niches and different places they want to play in this. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to see it happen. And we have in other markets like the natural gas market, for example, we saw this happen between the late seventies and early nineties. It was utterly transformed. That was an innovation in market design that allowed the market to double in size relative now relative to what it was then. So there’s a lot of potential there that needs to be captured, but it’s going to make for a lot of discussion and a lot of debate, quite frankly.

Stuart Turley [00:25:35] When I get, you know, the only problem with our discussion, Ken, is you’re bringing up so many points. I’ve got about 18,000 questions that you just brought up. I can tell you what you’re doing it. I mean, this is a cool discussion and we’re going to have to have you back because I’ve got about 16 different things to follow up but I got to two last questions here for you. In discussions,.

Stuart Turley [00:25:58] You know, there’s a critical minerals rail in this may be some way you may want to table to the next one, but hydrogen seems to me that we’ve missed the boat on compressed natural gas and hydrogen fuel cells to try to help out the renewable industry in the electric vehicles.

Stuart Turley [00:26:20] I mean, it seems like if we’re talking kind of mentioned or I was thinking about this, is that as we build the hydrogen market, it seems that the hydrogen fuel cell would actually springboard that into some profitability in the making, some some things the there was just a keel laid, I believe, last week for one of the first cruise ships to be LNG and hydrogen.

Stuart Turley [00:26:49] And I like that duo because the I’m going about six different ways as well here too but you can see where I’m going is how do we develop that other hydrogen fuel cell or that hydrogen dual use because, you know, it’s Yeah.

Ken Medlock [00:27:04] So couple of points that you raised there, there has been in certain places a pretty robust set of policies that are really designed to promote low carbon energy sources. So I’ll mention the state of California to have a low carbon fuel standard that has not really driven the uptake of hydrogen fuel cells and passenger transport the way Summit envisioned, but it has actually benefited electric vehicles.

Ken Medlock [00:27:34] And you have to ask yourself the question why? Because if I’m a buyer of a new car, right, I need to know that I can refuel the car. Right. If it’s an EV, I can plug in almost and I can plug in in my garage if I buy the kit to do that.

Ken Medlock [00:27:48] So that reduces a risk of me being able to refuel the vehicle and drive it whenever I want to drive it with a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. I’ve got to know that there’s a there’s a refueling station somewhere, and those aren’t really widely distributed. So you almost get into a chicken and egg issue. This gets into something called coordination, right? You need coordination along a supply chain for an activity to really flourish,.

Ken Medlock [00:28:12] For hydrogen to grow. I think there’s a couple of things to point out. You need some large commitments, which is where heavy transport, shipping, industrial use, those provide a viable platform. If you get a certain, you know, select large actors to move that you can start to facilitate growth.

Ken Medlock [00:28:32] The other thing about heavy transport in particular, and this is where fuel cells come into play, is the routes for heavy trucks are relatively fixed. In other words, they’re predictable because they’re moving goods. Right.

Ken Medlock [00:28:43] And so you can cite refueling along those routes in very strategic ways to ensure that all of that happens unimpeded. And so it’s likely that as we kind of move into this hydrogen economy, the first step is going to be the industrial core.

Ken Medlock [00:28:59] So decarbonizing heavy industry through hydrogen applications, that’s going to create a backbone that allows heavy transport applications to really flourish. So this is going to be trucking this will be you know, I was talking to somebody other day, if you’re a large grocery distributor, imagine, like the the h-e-b’s of the world,.

Stuart Turley [00:29:17] Right.

Ken Medlock [00:29:18] You’ve got need for energy 24 seven because you’re running your warehouses all the time, right? You got conveyor systems that are moving constantly and you also have to fuel trucks. And so there’s a nice way to envision, you know, because you’re trying to bring in a lot of electric power into those those warehouses envision developing, you know, electrolysis capability to make hydrogen, refuel your trucks and kind of transition your entire fleet into a zero carbon fleet right on that backbone.

Ken Medlock [00:29:47] But the other one that’s probably going to springboard even faster than in heavy trucking is maritime applications. You’ve already seen a big deal struck, for example, between Orsted and Maersk for Orsted to use wind power to make hydrogen so that it can use hydrogen to make methanol so methanol can be provided as a green fuel to Maersk to operate its shipping fleet in and around port. So these sorts of things are going to happen. It’s just a matter of we need them to happen enough so that we actually get DEP, so it becomes a market and not just a bunch of one off transactions.

Stuart Turley [00:30:21] Oh yeah. I’ll tell you, I really do need to have you back because I’m sitting here every time you talk. I’ve got all these other things that are just rolling in and they.

Ken Medlock [00:30:31] Sure.

Stuart Turley [00:30:33] But you know, it’s kind of funny when you sit back and there was a company that is putting masts on tankers and so you’d hear your comment about the maritime is the fuel and the regulations for pollution have just turned man and I applaud them because if you look at the maps with all of the tankers and shipping cargoes as a lot of pollution going on out there.

Ken Medlock [00:31:01] Oh yeah, yeah.

Stuart Turley [00:31:03] And it should have been fixed a long time ago.

Ken Medlock [00:31:05] Reducing and in particular this this is not really even a carbon related issue, right? This is more about particulates and other pollutants associated with the combustion of diesel fuel and fuel oil and whatever the case may be, especially when you get in and around ports. Because what’s true about ports right there at the center of major urban areas. And so if you’re polluting the air there, you’re having direct implications for local populations. And to the extent we can eliminate that, that’s great.

Stuart Turley [00:31:32] Oh, yeah. So what’s coming around the corner for you in the foundation or coming around? So what do you got coming around in the next quarter?

Ken Medlock [00:31:41] Oh, boy. We’re working on several things. It’s it’s very fluid, right? Our work is is constantly evolving and we’ll continue to do it. We host workshops on various energy related issues. We engage through congressional testimony, through testimony, through staff briefings, etc. Just get direct discussions with members of legislature, particularly at the federal level, on various energy issues and we’ll continue to do that. That’s kinda what? What we do on a daily basis. It’s a lot of fun. Again, elevating, not advocating, but trying to make everybody aware of of all of the facts on the ground so that real good decisions can ultimately be made. So more of the same is really, really what, if not what it amounts to.

Stuart Turley [00:32:29] Well, we’ve got your LinkedIn. We will put that in. We’ll put your website in there as well. Is there any other place people can get a hold of you and then sign up for your classes? Because if they mention this podcast, I know it’s going to be a guaranteed day.

Ken Medlock [00:32:44] Well, to to take to sign up for my courses, you’ll have to be a student Rice. So that’s another, that’s a different hurdle. Right. But but yeah, people, they can find me on the web and you know, my, my contact details are actually on, on our web page at the Baker Institute. So feel free to reach out.

Stuart Turley [00:33:02] Sounds great. Thank you so much for stopping by the podcast to see.

Energy News Beat 


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