Theoretical analysis of green hydrogen from hydropower: A case study of the Northwest Columbia River system

Selisa R. Andrus, Rob J. Diffely, Terry L. Alford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Within the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, there is the unique opportunity to explore alternative energy management solutions of the Columbia River's multi-use hydropower system. As with various European hydropower systems that experience large variability in water runoff, but lack adequate reservoir storage capacity, the Columbia River System is a viable source for renewable hydrogen production. This paper studies the theoretical potential of green hydrogen production from excess hydropower energy from the Columbia River System. The potential surplus hydroelectric energy and hydrogen production potential from surplus energy (during March through July months) are estimated from 11 hydroelectric projects along with the Columbia River System. Results show that the system's total monthly average hydrogen production potential ranges from 2.22 × 106 to 8.96 × 106 kg H2 with the utilization of surplus energy over a historical 80 water year period (1928–2008). This study concludes that hydrogen production from spilled hydropower energy and its use in the transportation sector is a viable opportunity to lead the country towards a hydrogen economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7993-8001
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number22
StatePublished - Mar 12 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Green hydrogen production
  • Hydrogen economy
  • Hydropower
  • Lack-of-market spill
  • Overgeneration spill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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