How does a wind farm make hydrogen? The simple science behind a big proposal

A huge energy project planned for Stephenville, N.L., includes 164 wind turbines, but producing electricity from wind isn't the goal. The goal is producing "green hydrogen" — and then, to produce "green ammonia." Watch how it's done, and get a lesson in a subject that could be a big part of the province's energy future.

It's all about separating the Hs in H2O. But the key is using green energy to do it

How wind from N.L. could become hydrogen power for the world

1 year ago
Duration 3:49
A massive energy project planned in Stephenville, N.L., is all about separating the H's from the O's in water molecules. But the key is the kind of electricity that powers the process. Watch how it's done with a simple experiment, and get a lesson in a subject that could be a big part of our energy future.

Nobody sees a wind turbine and thinks, "Just look at that hydrogen farm!"

But the massive wind-energy project being planned in Stephenville is exactly that, or even more accurately, an ammonia farm. The project features 164 wind turbines that would dot the landscape of Newfoundland's Port au Port Peninsula, but generating electricity from wind isn't the goal of the project. The goal is producing hydrogen, and from there, ammonia.

And not just any hydrogen, but "green hydrogen," which is hydrogen produced from a renewable source. But why bother converting the wind energy into hydrogen at all? And where does ammonia come into the picture? 

We put these questions to Kevin Pope, an associate professor at Memorial University, who specializes in renewable energy and hydrogen production. In the video above, Pope shows us how the process works with a simple experiment, and takes us to school on a subject that could be a important one in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Zach Goudie is a journalist and video producer with CBC in St. John's.