UK Hydrogen Madness: "Does the Committee on Climate Change want to blow us all up?"

Hindenburg Hydrogen Explosion Disaster

Hindenburg Hydrogen Explosion Disaster – By Gus Pasquerella – http://www.lakehurst.navy.mil/nlweb/images/1213d.gif, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=632191

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Most UK households use natural gas for home heating, largely because green policy inflated electricity costs are so high. But the Carbon Worriers in the British Government have a plan to fix this.

Does the Committee on Climate Change want to blow us all up? by CHRISTOPHER BOOKER.

Some publicity has alighted on the latest brilliant idea from the “greenies” as to how we can comply with the Climate Change Act by “decarbonising” our economy. Ofgem paid £300,000 for a study suggesting that, instead of cooking with CO2-emitting natural gas, we should switch to carbon-free hydrogen. A £2 billion pilot project for Leeds would show how natural gas, or methane, could be converted to hydrogen by piping away all its nasty CO2 to be buried in holes under the North Sea.

This scheme has already been smiled on in principle by the green zealots of the Committee on Climate Change, run by Lord Deben (aka John Gummer), their only real reservation being that it would be rather expensive. But there are one or two other practical problems that would have to be taken into account. One is that the technology to bury the CO2 under the North Sea has not yet been invented, and probably never will be. Another is that, extrapolating from the £2 billion needed to convert 320,000 homes in Leeds by requiring them all to buy new cookers, the cost of extending the scheme across Britain could be a staggering £162 billion.

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/23/does-the-committee-on-climate-change-want-to-blow-us-all-up/

More details on the plan;

Meeting the Challenge of the Climate Change Act

A practical answer for decarbonising heat presented to date.

Minimal Impact on Customers (85% use gas)

Maximising the use of existing infrastructure.

Understanding lessons of the past and investments of today to influence options of the future

Read more: http://www.praseg.org.uk

Christopher Booker has a point about the risks. Pure Hydrogen is dangerous. In my opinion, Hydrogen is not something you would want to pipe into a normal home. The slightest leak could present a lethal risk of explosion.

Hydrogen possesses the NFPA 704’s highest rating of 4 on the flammability scale because its elemental form of H2 hydrogen gas risks autoignition when mixed even in small amounts with ordinary air; hydrogen gas and normal air can ignite at as low as 4% air due to the oxygen in the air and the simplicity and chemical properties of the reaction. However, hydrogen has no rating for innate hazard for reactivity or toxicity. The storage and use of hydrogen poses unique challenges due to its ease of leaking as a gaseous fuel, low-energy ignition, wide range of combustible fuel-air mixtures, buoyancy, and its ability to embrittle metals that must be accounted for to ensure safe operation. Liquid hydrogen poses additional challenges due to its increased density and the extremely low temperatures needed to keep it in liquid form.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_safety

When I was a kid, I went to a party, where someone had filled some balloons with hydrogen – cheap floating balloons. Just popping the balloons, without any flame, was usually enough to trigger an explosion.

Lord Deben, and the other people pushing this plan, must surely be aware of the potential risks.

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257 thoughts on “UK Hydrogen Madness: "Does the Committee on Climate Change want to blow us all up?"

  1. Are existing pipes and appliances approved to safely transport and burn hydrogen, which burns with a colorless flame? Hydrogen embrittlement should be the kiss of death for this scheme. But not before
    1. They milk it for $$$.
    2. Something blows up.

    • No, the pipework isn’t designed to transport hydrogen and our stoves, ovens and boilers aren’t designed to burn it. Hydrogen embrittlement isn’t relevant since this occurs during heat related manufacturing processes such as welding where it is a problem for stressed joints. It seems that in the climate change world everyday is April 1.

      • Most UK households use natural gas for home heating, largely because green policy inflated electricity costs are so high.

        No, sorry. A high proportion of British households have always used gas. Earlier coal gas and then during the 1970s we switched to “Natural Gas” , mostly from the North Sea fields and everyone had to have a refit.
        This has nothing to do green lunacy of the last couple of decades. Please check you facts rather than just guessing.

      • Greg, many have access to natural gas as you say, but that is nothing to do with the choice of cooker or heater. They can choose gas or electric. Electric is much too expensive to heat with.

      • Heat speeds up the process of embrittlement.
        A bigger problem will be the rate at which hydrogen escapes from pipe joints that weren’t designed to contain it.

      • While hydrogen embrittlement is accelerated by high temperatures, it will still occur at low temperatures as long as the hydrogen remains in contact with the metal. It just takes longer. NASA has some very good tables showing the rate of embrittlement even at the temperatures found in outer space.
        Low-temperature hydrogen embrittlement might be negligible if the hydrogen exposure were only during use but transmission lines, valves and fittings remain filled with fuel at all times. And since we generally expect our gas lines to last for the life of the house (if not longer), even a low rate of embrittlement can cause non-negligible damage eventually.

    • You’re not thinking about the bigger picture. Because of the expense, only the true greenies will adopt it and subsequently they’ll be blown sky high. So, who will really benefit from this scheme? Oh, the humanity.

    • “Hydrogen embrittlement isn’t relevant since this occurs during heat related manufacturing processes…”
      I’m pretty sure it’s caused by exposure to gaseous hydrogen, not just a heat treat issue.

      • Paul,
        You need heat to give enough speed to any reaction between (mainly atomic) hydrogen en carbon in the carbon steel or cast iron pipes. That transforms the carbon to methane and the steel/iron loses its strength.
        Something that happened at a reformer in the Antwerp Exxon refinery at ~700°C with as result a broken pipe and fuel entering the oven followed by an explosion and one person killed.
        At lower temperatures with molecular hydrogen the speed of reaction (and migration through the steel wall) is practically non-existent.
        What I do fear is that the joints will be the largest problem: it was already a problem when they changed from (wet) coal gas to (dry) natural gas, where the joints (in the past made of hemp cord and fat) started leaking because getting too dry. Then they added water vapor to natural gas too.
        Hydrogen will multiply that problem a hundredfold, as it creeps through the smallest openings. The only way out is 100% tight welding all over the distribution network and inside houses. That will be extremely costly, as they have to break all lines out of the walls/floors/basements/streets…

    • Well that Hindenburg explosion was actually a “thermite” skin explosion. Hydrogen would not show a big ball of fire like that. Even a Helium filled Hindenburg, would have exploded, with its aluminum powder skin, and static electric discharge upon dropping a ground connection.
      G

    • I’m still waiting for the first greenie to educate me on ANTHING! Am I alone in this educational wilderness?

  2. When you burn hydrogen don’t you get water vapour as a by product? Uh right, THE greenhouse gas but I doubt if they will account for it much less measure it. Hydrogen is a very interesting energy carrier. It has problems that have been around, some solved and some not.
    Explosions: Yes the Hindy was a spectacular “blowed up real good” kind of event. Current hydride tanks can take armour piercing incendiary bullets without blowing up. Just a short 6-12 inch flame coming out until pressure dies.
    Embrittling: Haven’t solved that one yet. Whatever it is kept in at any pressure wears out.
    Evaporation: Being the lightest element guess what it wants to do. Dissipate.

      • spetzer86
        April 23, 2016 at 7:07 pm
        The real funny thing is they get most of the commercial H2 from CH4.

        And you lose some energy in the process. Which translates into less calories per British pound.

    • VERY good point TRM about water vapour. And what’s more, they give methane such an unrealistically high greenhouse rating, not because of the effectiveness of the methane itself, but because of the total effectiveness once it has burned and been converted to water! So if we emit straight methane, that’s bad, even though it won’t self-ignite at realistic atmospheric concentrations, so that the only way it gets converted to water is by lightning, in storms where that extra water will be a drop or two of extra rainfall.
      But if we let OUR MASTERS do part of this reaction, and let us do the rest at great danger and expense, that’s GOOD. What absolute b. f. hypocrites.

      • Wailing against methane is just a green-anarchist agenda to stop more energy efficient alternatives and shut everything down. Live in a primitive world of sublime happiness, like they do in Somalia. Somalia is decarbonaized. I suspect these people are real happy.

      • Ron House – No, that’s not why they give CH4 such a high rating; it gets the rating on its own, never mind about water vapor; and no, TRM’s point is not a good one, as I explained at 7:43 pm. If the warmist position could be so easily refuted as you, TRM, and many others believe, it would have been blown out of the water many, many years ago – it would not even have gotten started. Some scientists are willing to bend the evidence, but not so far as to make utter fools of themselves

      • Smoking frog, look at the absorption spectrum – a barely discernible blip where CH4 goes. Because it decays so fast it is hardly possible to bump that up. So the effect of the decay by-products is used.

      • @Donald Kaspar…Pardon, Somalia is not decarbonized. They burn wood for fuel… Or gasoline or propane or whatever they can burn to do what they need.
        Funny, I remember that almost every house 30 or 40 years ago had an incinerator in the backyard or wherever, for burning whatever leftover waste you didn’t want to throw in the garbage cans, so they wouldn’t be so heavy. Even most apartment buildings had them. Just throw the trash down to the incinerator.
        In the mid 1960s I remember my Dad took us on a trip from north of Los Angeles, through it to San Diego. Los Angeles was absolutely horrible with smog and it stunk hell. Eyes burning bad. They outlawed incinerators and now LA air is pretty damned clean, with all the other changes, etc. It seems so silly now to be splitting hairs over a fairly insignificant addition to the atmosphere from what it was. But then again, population and newly industrial countries are a fact. Burning the rain forests is a shame and idiotic for the small good for society and mostly for the profit for the individual farmer.
        The whole green thing is mostly BS now and aimed in the wrong places and at the wrong people. It is political correctness BS, political showmanship, power tripping on hurting big business, who are trying, while letting the real problems go without a thought. I’m mostly talking about the polluters in other countries. The Government agencies in the U.S. who regulate pollution no longer have much to do any longer, and now justify their jobs by harassing everyone. But the problems here in the U.S. are very minor to the huge polluters and environmental destroyers in other places. BS

      • If the only thing that converted atmospheric methane to CO2 and water was lightning strikes, there would be a heck of a lot more methane in the atmosphere. Methane can and does oxidize, even at room temperatures. It’s just a lot slower.

    • Besides what Ric Werme said (see below), the atmosphere contains on the order of 100 times as much water vapor as CO2, so even if liberating hydrogen from a hydrocarbon and then burning the hydrogen created more water vapor than simply burning the hydrocarbon, it would hardly matter.

    • “can take armour piercing incendiary bullets ”
      Not relevant as there is no oxygen inside the tank to fuel an explosion.
      The problem has always been when the hydrogen leaks from the tank (or pipes) and then collects somewhere.

    • Well I have been around plenty of Hydrogen plumbing in my day, and there was nothing leaky about it; and none of it was welded, just standard SS fittings (of the correct design of course).
      So you could take it apart, and reassemble it all day. In fact we had to take it apart to change a gas cylinder.
      Now OUR concern for safety, was NOT related to the hydrogen, but what else was IN the hydrogen.
      Truly nasty things, like Silane (SiH4), or Phosphine (PH3) or worse yet Arsine (AsH3).
      And for the really bad stuff Diethyl Telluride.
      Fortunately those obnoxious things were in low concentration; specially the DET, which is just a standard N-type dopant in GaAs, and GaAsP.
      Once in a great while somebody wouldn’t follow the purge process properly, and a little hydrogen borne something else, would escape. It usually just went up in the rafters and crackled as it caught fire.
      The gunk that was in the Hydrogen simply caught fire on exposure to air, and burned up the hydrogen leak along with it.
      In almost twelve years of successful operations, we NEVER ever had one operator ever test positive for Arsenic contamination. And everybody in that department was tested every month.
      People who use hazardous things for valid technological reasons (you can’t make water out of anything besides Hydrogen and Oxygen; both of them quite dangerous; especially the Oxygen) employ safety experts who fully understand how to properly contain, use, and dispose of potentially harmful chemical substances. And it is always a zero tolerance system.
      In all of our wafer fabs, it was a written rule posted everywhere, that ANY liquid appearing on any lab bench (in the wafer fab area) was HF, hydrofluoric acid, and the hazmat team must be called immediately to come and properly decontaminate the area. That applied even if a careless wafer fab operator turned on the water faucet in the sink too hard, and splattered water on the bench, and then had to call the hazmat team. If the person did not call the team, that was grounds for immediate termination. Accidents are caused by persons not following directions properly.
      G

  3. …Well, that’s one way to reduce the population, just blow everybody up !! ( I guess the terrorists aren’t doing it fast enough )

  4. So all one need is new (non-existent, must be dicovered)pipes, new appliances, and a new supply system. Comes across as really plausible for a green scheme 🙂

  5. Perhaps Britain should go back to burning cattle dung. However, since that may not be politically correct, perhaps they could substitute politician brains for the dung. Since the politicians obviously are not using their brains at all, it shouldn’t harm them.

  6. I suggest the pilot study is to fit out the British parliament buildings with hydrogen gas.
    That way when it blows up, it takes out the idiots that caused the problem.
    A self correcting system.

  7. One pro, three cons.
    The pro: hydrogen has a low flame speed which makes it less dangerous as far as potential explosions are concerned. Somewhere in the distant past I saw a film (predated video!) of a test firing bullets through cans containing hydrogen and hydrocarbons (liquid and gas). The latter exploded. The hydrogen did not.
    The three cons: hydrogen has an extremely low viscosity and therefore pipeline integrity is absolutely essential; it produces water (only water), which far exceeds the “greenhouse” effect of CO2; all gas appliances would have to be modified to be able to burn hydrogen. The cost is likely to be prohibitive.
    Of course, it is all unnecessary anyway, isn’t it?

    • Your second con is wrong. Extra water will precipitate as rain or condensation in a matter of hours or days. the overall greenhouse warming is unimportant compared to CO2 or methane that persist for years. The “extra” water produced by burning hydrogen is infinitesimal compared to the amount of water already in the atmosphere. The other cons are correct and more than enough to make using H2 in domestic cookers impractical.

      • I’d suggest that the extra CO2 from burning gas was infinitesimal compared to the H2O produced from combusting Hydrogen, but hey your mileage may vary.

      • Well the permanent concentration of H2O that is in the atmosphere at ALL times, is way in excess of the amount of CO2, at least in the real atmosphere where weather and climate exist.
        It matters not a jot, if Mother Gaia, happens to know of a CO2 molecule with a serial number, that she knows has been in the atmosphere for a billion years. The coming and going of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere is quite irrelevant.
        The only thing that matters; to the extent that CO2 even matters at all, is how many CO2 molecules there are at any time, in a sample of the atmosphere.
        What the serial numbers of those molecules are, is known only to Mother Gaia, and she knows the serial numbers don’t matter, just how many of them are there all the time.
        And their number goes up and down between 6 ppmm at Mauna Loa, and 18-20 ppmm at the north pole. Or maybe only -1 ppmm at the south pole.
        Both CO2 and H2O are permanent resident species in the atmosphere, with H2O always more than CO2.
        G

  8. Well no more petting the house pets. (static electricity-here kitty kitty)
    Also a rather drastic cure for smoking.
    These people are danger to everyone around they. They should not be trusted with any tasks that go beyond asking “you want fries with that?”
    michael

    • Isn’t that what the engineer and the physicist said to the Climate Science graduate?

    • I remember well working with a black body cavity decades ago. It was mounted in an electric furnace with Molybium windings. To keep those windings from burning up, the whole furnace volume was continuously flooded with hydrogen gas at standard pressure. With the furnace heated up to as much as 1000 degrees C and the hydrogen continuously leaking out into the room, we always wore large gloves while working around the furnace. The constant discharge areas were only a problem because you couldn’t see the flames, but when we would open the furnace, visible flames would billow out, and the whole furnace looked like it was on fire. Not really any problem, though, as long as there was nothing flammable near those flames to ignite from their heat. The point is that there was never any danger of explosion. Except for the heat from the various flames, the hydrogen was very dramatic, but it was actually fairly safe. The concern would be what might be in the immediate vicinity to mix with the hydrogen.
      We had tanks of hydrogen gas next to the furnace for our supply. I would expect that when hydrogen gas is put into an aging pipeline, little or none will ever come out into the houses connected to that pipeline. Hydrogen gas is extremely difficult to contain.

      • I would expect that when hydrogen gas is put into an aging pipeline, little or none will ever come out into the houses connected to that pipeline.
        That was never a problem when distributing town gas to houses before.

        • Phil.

          I would expect that when hydrogen gas is put into an aging pipeline, little or none will ever come out into the houses connected to that pipeline.

          That was never a problem when distributing town gas to houses before.

          “Town gas’ or “coal gas” from the old gasifier plants is NOT Hydrogen, and it was NOT distributed at the higher pressures needed to pump the hydrogen long distances (even tens of miles, much less the hundreds and thousands of miles needed to serve the nation’s fuel needs.
          Even today’s “simplest” gasses such as nitrogen (N2) and methane (CH4) are sufficiently “larger” than H2 to not leak automatically through the pipeline walls into the surrounding soil, rock, houses, and buildings. Hydrogen embrittlement is both a pipe wall problem, AND a pipe weld problem. Both end up causing the pipes to split apart.
          NASA’s hydrogen embrittlement, storage, and loading problems were made much, much more troublesome by their need for cryogenic storage, but those pressure vessels and pipes were only exposed to hydrogen (gaseous and cryogenic) for very very short times prrior to each rocket motor and tank test firing or launch. And they (NASA) never really solved the problem, only made it manageable by distance and repeated inspections of every inch of piping.
          Hydrogen is usedd – with a GREAT deal of trouble and expense! – as a cooling gas inside today’s very-high energy generators. But also at low pressures 15-18 psig (1.0 to 1.2 bar) with special oil seals oil-air oil-hydrogen separators and coolers and pumps. And, even then, the seals need 1/10000 of an inch seal clearances around shafts and pumps.
          Internally within the pressure vessels or pipelines, hydrogen has less ‘air resistance” to the rotating shafts of high-power generators, but that even that difference is a net negative: it means “hydrogen line pumps” are LESS efficient than methane or other service devices.
          So, to distribute hydrogen, you CANNOT use high pressures, or the hydrogen leaks through the pipe walls.
          You lose hydrogen through seals, through welds, and through the “pump” seals and walls – all such leaks viciously flammable when trapped in air or buildings or enclosures. (Yeah. It leaks out of sealed pipes where you want it pressurized as pure hydrogen, but then is perversely trapped dangerously explosive conditions in near-open rooms at room air pressures inside buildings or pipeline runs. Go figure, eh?)
          The energy content PER TOTAL MASS of pressure vessel and pipes and burners is very, very low.
          If you need it, you had better get used to NASA-like rocket fuel prices. And rocket-like explosives.

      • RACook,
        I’d heard about hydrogen making metals brittle. Thanks for expanding on that problem.
        Hydrogen is a small molecule. I’m not a chemist, but IIRC, only helium is smaller. And it’s a fact that helium escapes right through many materiels. A helium filled mylar balloon deflates in only a few days.
        And of course, hydrogen is very dangerous, much more so than methane. The whole push for hydrogen comes from the same crowd that pushes all “alternative” fuels. Now they’ve latched on to hydrogen, thinking they’re so smart.
        They’re not smart; they’ve never even really investigated it. Or more likely, they looked into it, but they don’t care — because this is just another scam to get government funding, like Solyndra and dozens of similar failures.
        Follow the money. We’ll see who’s behind this, and we’ll also find out: cui bono? That will tell the story, as usual.

      • RACookPE1978 April 24, 2016 at 8:23 am
        I would expect that when hydrogen gas is put into an aging pipeline, little or none will ever come out into the houses connected to that pipeline.
        Phil.:
        “That was never a problem when distributing town gas to houses before.”

        “Town gas’ or “coal gas” from the old gasifier plants is NOT Hydrogen, and it was NOT distributed at the higher pressures needed to pump the hydrogen long distances (even tens of miles, much less the hundreds and thousands of miles needed to serve the nation’s fuel needs.
        Town gas was ~50% hydrogen and contrary to James’s assertion it did make it to the houses without loss. When it was replaced by natural gas the same pipes were used, it was then that explosions started to be a problem.

      • RACookPE1978,
        As far as I remember, steel embrittlement is mainly the reaction of (atomic) hydrogen with carbon in steel/cast iron at high temperatures forming methane and thereby reducing the strength of the steel as it loses its carbon. Molecular hydrogen is already larger and doesn’t pass steel at lower temperatures, neither reacts with carbon.
        Phil.,
        The move from coal gas to methane did give a lot of troubles because coal gas was wet and natural gas was dry, drying out the old hemp/grease joints between the cast iron pipes. Later they wetted the natural gas too and the problem was largely over. These joints with hydrogen is waiting for disaster after disaster…
        Many newer gas lines nowadays are from (HDPE) plastics, which are far more porous than metals. No problem for methane, but for hydrogen?

        • Ferdinand Engelbeen

          RACookPE1978,
          As far as I remember, steel embrittlement is mainly the reaction of (atomic) hydrogen with carbon in steel/cast iron at high temperatures forming methane and thereby reducing the strength of the steel as it loses its carbon. Molecular hydrogen is already larger and doesn’t pass steel at lower temperatures, neither reacts with carbon.

          Going to disagree with you there, although some forms of hydrogen embrittlement do get worse at high temperatures. Usually, the hydrogen bake-out and post-weld heat treatment, constant heating of potential hydrogen-absorbing (water retentive) welding electrodes, and the proper choice of pipe and machinery metals mitigate the dangers. But when hydrogen is IN the pipe, it immediately becomes “inside” the pipe walls as well. From Wikipedia, a remarkably accurate description follows:

          Process
          During hydrogen embrittlement, hydrogen is introduced to the surface of a metal and individual hydrogen atoms diffuse through the metal. Because the solubility of hydrogen increases at higher temperatures, raising the temperature can increase the diffusion of hydrogen. When assisted by a concentration gradient where there is significantly more hydrogen outside the metal than inside, hydrogen diffusion can occur even at lower temperatures. These individual hydrogen atoms within the metal gradually recombine to form hydrogen molecules, creating pressure from within the metal. This pressure can increase to levels where the metal has reduced ductility, toughness, and tensile strength, up to the point where it cracks open (hydrogen-induced cracking, or HIC).[2] Though hydrogen atoms embrittle a variety of substances, including steel, aluminium(at high temperatures only[3]), and titanium,[4] hydrogen embrittlement of high-strength steel is of the most importance. Austempered iron is also susceptible, though austempered steel (and possibly other austempered metals) display increased resistance to hydrogen embrittlement.[5] Steel with an ultimate tensile strength of less than 1000 MPa (~145,000 psi) or hardness of less than 30 HRC is not generally considered susceptible to hydrogen embrittlement. In tensile tests carried out on several structural metals under high-pressure molecular hydrogen environment, it has been shown that austenitic stainless steels, aluminium (including alloys), copper (including alloys, e.g. beryllium copper) are not susceptible to hydrogen embrittlement along with a few other metals.[6][7] As an example of severe hydrogen embrittlement, the elongation at failure of 17-4PH precipitation hardened stainless steel was measured to drop from 17% to only 1.7% when smooth specimens were exposed to high-pressure hydrogen.
          Hydrogen embrittlement can occur during various manufacturing operations or operational use – anywhere that the metal comes into contact with atomic or molecular hydrogen. Processes that can lead to this include cathodic protection, phosphating, pickling, and electroplating. A special case is arc welding, in which the hydrogen is released from moisture, such as in the coating of welding electrodes.[4][8] To minimize this, special low-hydrogen electrodes are used for welding high-strength steels. Other mechanisms of introduction of hydrogen into metal are galvanic corrosion, as well as chemical reactions with acids or other chemicals. One of these chemical reactions involves hydrogen sulfide in sulfide stress cracking (SSC), an important process for the oil and gas industries.[9]

          What you are likely thinking of is a related process, also briefly discussed in that same article:

          Related phenomena
          If steel is exposed to hydrogen at high temperatures, hydrogen will diffuse into the alloy and combine with carbon to form tiny pockets of methane at internal surfaces like grain boundaries and voids. This methane does not diffuse out of the metal, and collects in the voids at high pressure and initiates cracks in the steel. This selective leaching process is known as hydrogen attack, or high temperature hydrogen attack and leads to decarburization of the steel and loss of strength and ductility.
          Copper alloys which contain oxygen can be embrittled if exposed to hot hydrogen. The hydrogen diffuses through the copper and reacts with inclusions of Cu2O, forming H2O (water), which then forms pressurized bubbles at the grain boundaries. This process can cause the grains to literally be forced away from each other, and is known as steam embrittlement (because steam is produced, not because exposure to steam causes the problem).
          A large number of alloys of vanadium, nickel, and titanium absorb significant amounts of hydrogen. This can lead to large volume expansion and damage to the crystal structure leading to the alloys becoming very brittle. This is a particular issue when looking for non-palladium based alloys for use in hydrogen separation membranes.[16]

          Dr Namboodhiri has additional information in his slide presentation on this and 13 other forms of hydrogen metallurgical damage here:
          http://www.slideshare.net/tkgn/hydrogen-damage

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen April 25, 2016 at 8:26 am
        Phil.,
        The move from coal gas to methane did give a lot of troubles because coal gas was wet and natural gas was dry, drying out the old hemp/grease joints between the cast iron pipes. Later they wetted the natural gas too and the problem was largely over. These joints with hydrogen is waiting for disaster after disaster…
        Many newer gas lines nowadays are from (HDPE) plastics, which are far more porous than metals. No problem for methane, but for hydrogen?

        Hi Ferdinand, good to hear from you. I posted somewhere that the dryness of the natural gas was a factor. Following the natural gas conversion the outbreak of explosions led to a national program of pipe restoration, lining them with plastic etc. I doubt very much whether any of the original pipes are still in use, although that is a problem in the US which leads to explosions with methane. It’s quite possible that the long distance pipelines dating from the 60/70s will need some work if Hydrogen is used although the local low pressure pipes probably won’t, this wouldn’t happen until 2030 in any case. Not many of the iron pipes will remain by then, mostly MD Polyethylene.
        The main problem here is dealing with the mythology being promoted by the likes of Cook who believes that H2 segregates under ceilings and the exceptionally high diffusion rate of H2 has no effect! Also that hydrogen doesn’t need oxygen to explode! Knowledge of the history of town gas distribution tells us that in low pressure, local distribution of gas leaks did not cause explosions, likely because H2 diffuses so fast that a flammable mixture can’t be sustained. When the conversion to natural gas took place many consumers were concerned about the safety of natural gas!

      • Hydrogen is NOT the second smallest atom.
        He, Ne, Fl, O are all smaller than Hydrogen, and Nitrogen is the next biggest only slightly larger than H.
        But the first three are stable as atoms, whereas Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Nitrogen are unstable as atoms, so form diatomic molecules that are way larger than those two noble gases Helium and Neon.
        Yes good luck on keeping that Fluorine atom unattached for any length of time; it will eat almost anybody else in the neighborhood.
        G

  9. See my essay Hydrogen Hype. The whole hydrogen thing is energy nonsense. You want hydrogen heat, use fracked natural gas CH4. You want hydrogen fuel cell vehicles? Better to buy a Toyota Prius. The essay lays out the chemistry and thermodynamics. Very devastating irrefutable facts.

    • Manfred —
      I had never heard of the R101 and googled it. It turns out the disaster had an upside. Lord Thomson, the air minister who had initiated the program, senior government officials and almost all of the dirigible’s designers were aboard.
      Eugene WR Gallun

  10. There is some evidence that it was not the hydrogen that did in the Hindenburg, but the “dope” impregnating the envelope.

      • the envelope was absolutely the guilty element, after that, a huge quantity of gas that mixed with the air and burn fast(not really an explosion).
        Because most of the gas went up many people have not being killed.
        Hydrogen can be use as an efficient electricity storage it is a very interesting gas, but if it can be contain in adapted reservoir, it’s a bad candidate for pipeline, at least for the pipeline that we are able to build today. Since 0% mistake is not possible, longer the pipeline, bigger the probability of mistake, hydrogen is a “smart” object that will find the slightest weakness.

      • ristvan,
        I think you have it backwards. The leaking H2 from the rip mixed with air and was ignited by spark. Then it set fire to the skin of the zeppelin. Undoubtedly, H2 fed the resulting fire, but what is seen in the pictures must be the skin burning, since burning H2 produces a smokeless, nearly invisible flame. I think that what is at issue is the relative importance of the two effects: Did the burning skin just provide visible effects? Or did it make the accident a lot worse than it otherwise would have been?
        One thing that is indisputable is that the photo caption “Hindenburg Hydrogen Explosion Disaster” is nonsense. There was no explosion, and pure H2 can not explode.

      • That “dope” was essentially thermite. Aluminum powder paint.
        I’m with Lescanne. Look at the picture and you can see that there is NO hydrogen explosion down in the hul, just a big hydrogen fed fire up above the tail, due to the Hydrogen simply venting to the atmosphere.
        The visible fire in the hydrogen cloud was burning skin debris.
        I can’t quite remember whether I was there that day, but I remember seeing it at the movie theatre when it happened. Probably the Gaumont British News, or maybe the RKO radio News.
        Wazzat 1937 ??
        G

    • Yeah, it was powdered aluminium suspended in the dope, which is super flammable.
      If you watch the film the skin of the airship is well alight before the hydrogen inside explodes.

      • The whole history of the Hindenburg cover up has been thoroughly exposed on History Channel, and Science Channel.
        It turns out that pieces of the Hindenburg fabric material are in the company archives, and a small piece of that original material the skin was made of, was actually used to show the electric discharge ignition and very rapid burn rate of the skin.
        The bulk of the Hydrogen did not even ignite, and was in fact responsible for the semi-soft landing that miraculously allowed some of the folks aboard to walk away from it.
        But the window of escape was very small once the skin spread the fire all the way up front. without igniting the main hydrogen stores.
        I believe the Zeppelin Company eventually admitted that the skin appeared to be the cause.
        G

  11. I remember Lord Debden as John Gummer pushing a hamburger down his daughter’s throat to make the point that British beef was not all riddled with Mad Cow Disease. Pushing hydrogen through the ageing gas pipe system seems par for the course.
    Standard household gas has a scent added so that people will notice if it has been left on or if there is a leak. I can think of a very appropriate scent to add to hydrogen, and it would be a good reminder of Gummer’s support for British cattle.

    • In the USA they are using a lot of plastic pipes for NG They have also “Upgraded a lot of laterals with a plastic liners. All of these will be rendered worthless unless designed for H2 and require replacement. I have been told that some cites have so many small leaks it is hard to find the ones that people smell and call about.

      • Imagine what would blow up if any major city had an earthquake such as Tokyo, San Francisco, LA, etc.

      • No need to imagine it, the fires burned for over three days after the 1906 LA earthquake and it took 2.5 hrs to shut off the city’s gas supply. Water mains were broken too so the fire department couldn’t do much about it. I understand that LA now requires automatic seismic cut-off valves.

    • No doubt a quick check would reveal Gummer’s directorship of several companies or bodies that would stand to benefit from Hydrogen Research or implementation. He was always very cunning that way.
      He was right about the Mad Cow thing though!
      Yet another ‘millennial’ scare, though it didn’t stick around as long as Global Warming.

      • When you donate blood, they still ask if you spent time in England between certain dates.
        The scare isn’t over.

    • I read a wonderful article about the EU referendum telling how the Britain Stay in Europe campain has been shortened to BSE.
      James Bull

  12. I have been watching ammonia as a transportation fuel for a while. link It was first used as motor fuel in WW2, so it’s practical.
    The beauty of ammonia is that it can be made with hydrogen and air. The hydrogen can be electrolyzed from water. In other words, it is an easy way to store energy generated by solar cells and wind turbines.
    Every now and then I google for ammonia fuel stories posted in the last month. There are always lots so that means that work on ammonia fuel is ongoing.
    Here’s an interesting application. Ammonia can be used to almost eliminate nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines.
    Ammonia is way easier to deal with than hydrogen. It is commonly used and the distribution network is already in place. Some folks also think it could be used for home heating.

      • Toxicity is a big problem for sure. On the other hand, ammonia is not nearly as explosive as gasoline, natural gas, or hydrogen. We currently make a lot of ammonia.

        The global industrial production of ammonia in 2014 was 176,300,000 tonnes … link

        Given the production it is obvious that it is possible to handle it safely (given the low annual accident rate). If it isn’t handled safely the death toll can be large. A leak in Shanghai killed 15 people and injured 26. On the other hand, gas explosions can cause hundreds of fatalities.

      • Toxicity. Exactly. They actually used ammonia in domestic refrigerators prior to World War II. It was replaced by much safer Freons when they started making refrigerators again around 1950. It is nasty stuff.
        Using hydrogen for domestic heating, etc isn’t necessarily a stupid concept — especially if a way can be found to extract H2 in situ from low grade coal and other hydrocarbon deposits without “mining” them. But this plan is incredibly naive. And my bet would be that the existing natural gas distribution network is far too leaky to permit its use for Hydrogen. Hydrogen is notorious for the ability of its tiny molecules to leak through tiny holes and even the atomic matrices of materials that appear to be solid.
        I suspect that oderants like the mercaptans used to give natural gas a smell may not always leak in much volume through holes that are oozing Hydrogen.

      • Ahh the fun we used to have going round and round the pipes and fittings of the Ammonia plant with little strips of white test paper dampened so that it would turn a beautiful shade of pink when we found the leak.
        The room where the cylinders of liquid Ammonia were stored had 9 inch solid concrete walls and roof with special blow out vents in the roof in case of explosion.
        The pipework had to be sealed with special goo as most sealants were attacked by the Ammonia.
        Now we have liquid Ammonium Sulphate much safer….it just eats things.
        James Bull

      • commieBob April 24, 2016 at 12:11 am
        On the other hand, ammonia is not nearly as explosive as gasoline, natural gas, or hydrogen…….
        Given the production it is obvious that it is possible to handle it safely (given the low annual accident rate). If it isn’t handled safely the death toll can be large. A leak in Shanghai killed 15 people and injured 26. On the other hand, gas explosions can cause hundreds of fatalities.

        You make a compelling case for why natural gas is too dangerous to be transmitted to homes and should be replaced by the much less dangerous gas, hydrogen.

      • Lest we forget how we come by most of our ammonia: the Haber–Bosch process, that just takes a wee bit of energy to run (and an H2 source, to boot)!

      • Well a problem with Hydrogen, is that the nearest hydrogen mines are too far from ready markets, and the work conditions in those mines are not exactly OSHA kosher.
        Forget Hydrogen as an energy supply.
        G
        But methane/ethane can just come bubbling out of the ground sometimes.

      • Commercial odorants for natural gas, such as mercaptan, are also toxic, but concentrations are minuscule. If you wish to use hydrogen in a fuel cell, such odorant is a bad choice, as sulphur-based compounds kill fuel cells. Therefore you must replace traditional odorants with ketone or something else.
        There are already initiatives for adding a portion of H2 into natural gas pipelines, but energy value of such mixture is worse than natural gas on its own.
        I can’t start imagining the total leakage of such pipelines.

      • “… its stellar octane rating of 120 and low flame temperature allows the use of high compression ratios without a penalty of high NOx production.” link

      • “Jon on April 23, 2016 at 11:44 pm
        Nitrous oxide would be a laugh though HAHAHA”
        I use this as a test when mentioning to individual believers the various things we have been told are dangerous to the climate.
        I finish up with:
        “…and nitrous oxide – but we laughed at that.”
        If they don’t get the joke I know they are probably a science-free zone.

      • Well the purpose of high octane rated fuels for ICEs is to permit high compression ratios that give both high combustion Temperatures and pressures, both of which are required to get high thermal efficiency.
        And high compression engines produce very high static and dynamic bearing loads in ICEs.
        Which is why turbo engines are more popular.
        And it is those high temperatures and pressures that cause ICEs to burn the air, and create NOxs, which is exactly why such high octane fuels and compression ratios are allowed in the USA.
        Ordinary automobiles for sale for use on US roads, have to operate normally on 87 octane rated gasoline, and in some mountain zones, the normal gas is only 85 or 86 Octane.
        The manufacturer can recommend using premium gas, but they can’t require it. They do recommend it because it helps perpetuate the myth that these fancy autos can go, 50,000 or 100,000 miles without a tuneup.
        If you spend extra for the premium gas, you don’t notice the pinging, once the engine starts carboning up inside, so you think it is running ok.
        G

  13. With a heating value less than a third of that of CH4, H2 is a poor fuel. With their complete lack of anything resembling logic, I am surprised that these ninnies didn’t suggest building a pipeline from the sun. An unlimited supply of the stuff. That shouldn’t be too difficult do you think?

  14. When I was young, our gas appliances (England) used “town gas”, produced by heating coal.
    It contained hydrogen, along with carbon monoxide, methane, and a bunch of other gasses. It was generally lighter than air.
    I remember when the gas board switched over to natural gas, and visited every home, changing the jets on every appliance. Of course, they never worked as well after conversion, but they did work.
    This is a switch that has been done once. It could be done again.
    However, using pure hydrogen seems like a somewhat vain hope to me. It would have to run at higher pressure to be able to deliver the higher volume required, and is notoriously difficult to store. Hydrogen atoms are small, and so then to diffuse through almost anything you care to use to try to contain it.
    Not impossible, but a difficult engineering task, and probably not at all cheap. But, then that isn’t a problem for these guys,mis it?

  15. Many years ago I played with it by making the H2 through electrolysis. Used mason jars, water and a 6 volt car battery. One of the jars exploded. Luckily all I got was a minor cut (did not need stitches). This, I explained to my mom as happening when I fell down the steps while carrying the jars to the to the basement. Never tried that experiment again.

    • Sorry, getting to old, that was done 60 years ago. All I got with the Battery was yellow foam. (Too much salt?) The home experiment that exploded was when I used Lye and Aluminum chips in a jar with a funnel taped to the top to collect the hydrogen, pass it through a hose and expel the water in an inverted jar with the H2 gas. I think I used to many chips of aluminum as it got rather hot. and quickly expelled the water and kept making lots of gas. Used to read my older brother’s chemistry book and try the stuff in there. Even tried making gun powder from the stuff in that Amateur Chemistry set kids got for Christmas back in the 50’s.

      • I was reading a can of lye I had bought and got to “do not use in aluminum containers,” thought about it a bit, made little thing with aluminum foil and a piece of lye, then a little bigger setup in order to get enough gas to see if it ignited. Yep.
        Years later, I discovered a coworker who made a fairly elaborate setup with 2 liter soda bottles and drying stages who could collect enough for balloons and related toys that needed to be blown up.

      • My favorite book used to be “The Boy Electrician” by Morgan. (various editions are available on the web)
        In the later edition, one of Morgan’s favorite components was the Model T spark coil. Because it had a buzzer, it supplied a constant supply of high voltage AC. You could use the voltage to discourage dogs from peeing on your garbage cans.
        He showed how to build an X-ray machine using a spark coil, some foil and an old vacuum tube. Yes, it did indeed work. Nobody in their right mind would write such a book today.

  16. “Most UK households use natural gas for home heating, largely because green policy inflated electricity costs are so high.”
    What!!!!
    gas has always been used for heating since natural gas was available.
    Cheap electric heating in the late 20th C was off peak *economy 7″ but it was still more expensive than gas central heating. This has nothing to do with green tariffs.
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gFqMyW_sbC8/UrXre7DHoPI/AAAAAAAABTI/30rtYHRAIcc/s640/fuel+price+uk.jpg
    to 2013 I cannot see electricity price rising excessively compared to other fuels from which it is derived

      • It’s an age thing, I think: those of us who predate ‘natural gas’ all remember gas fires in our student rooms, fed by coin meters etc. All rented places in the UK had gas fires, many homes too. I remember being sad in the late 1950s when my mother got tired of the coal fire and had a ‘log fire effect’ gas one installed in our living room.
        The big change when we all changed to natural gas was that putting your head in the gas oven, a la Sylvia Plath in Yorkshire, was no longer the UK default way of killing yourself.

      • Yeah Sam, I well remember having to crawl into the space under the stairs to feed the meter for Mum. 🙂
        I remember the conversion process both in my lab and at home (cooker and central heating). Glass blowing in the lab. required a learning curve and some practice after years of experience with town gas. Also due the the high flame speed of hydrogen burners sometimes ‘blew back’ but never ‘flamed out’ whereas that was always happening with natural gas.

  17. There’s another aspect of this about which I haven’t read any comments.
    Even if we completely ignore the dangers and costs of retro-fitting noted above there’s a massive inefficiency to this scheme. They are not proposing hydrogen created using electrolysis from some “renewable” resource. They are proposing converting fossil fuel methane into hydrogen which is inherently an energy loss vs just burning the methane directly where needed. They then propose the still unproven fantasy of carbon capture and storage, CCS, to hide their sins.
    I can’t imagine, that after, first the chemical conversion, and then the subsequent CCS that the energy efficiency of this scheme exceeds 33%. There’s really no way to know for sure, since CCS on a commercial scale does not exist. People like Rud could weigh in with better estimates. But if my estimate is close, this would automatically triple the base energy costs, not even counting the cost of retrofitting. And given how costs are marked up and passed along to the consumer, the end user costs would automatically MORE than triple.

    • I have read hundreds of comments on that very issue, are you living in a bubble? by bubble I mean a quantum time dilation caused by climate change of course.
      Reply: Sorry, I’m not active on British news sites, so I just hadn’t seen it. I’m glad others are taking note. -mod (really ctm, tee hee)

    • I suppose they could run the CO2 into greenhouses. Need lots of them but but still cheaper than a nonexistent pipe under the sea. Get some tomatoes out of it too.

    • Hydrogen gas is notoriously good at leaking out of anything not specially designed to hold it. Right through the walls. I would be astonished to learn that the town gas distribution system is up to it. The basic problem is people looking for magic beans/silver bullets/one simple fix. This idea is going nowhere, but expect a lot of money to be wasted on it anyway.

      • Phil, as always, you are wrong !! A Hydrogen ATOM is a much smaller than a Methane MOLECULE !
        [But with gasses at Standard temperatures and Pressures, you must compare molecule (H2) to molecule (CH4). The CH4 is still much larger. .mod]

      • Marcus April 25, 2016 at 5:21 am
        Phil, as always, you are wrong !! A Hydrogen ATOM is a much smaller than a Methane MOLECULE !

        I believe I said that in reference to it’s high rate of diffusion? What I referred to is that leakage of the hydrogen in town gas was not a problem and gas explosions in houses were unknown, following the conversion to natural gas the occurrence of explosion greatly increased leading to a nationwide campaign to stop the leaks of natural gas in the distribution system.

      • Marcus, town gas is ~50% hydrogen and as far as combustion energy is concerned much higher than that. The safety issues are the same, explosion was not a hazard, unlike with methane where it is the main hazard.

  18. Actually, there is an upside to the entire use of hydrogen as a fuel idiocy.
    In order to produce all the electricity that will be required to produce the volumes of hydrogen required, we will have to build huge numbers of power plants; all fueled by coal.
    After the population is culled by all the hydrogen explosions, we will have a huge excess of electricity generating capacity.
    Therefore, the survivors will have lots of cheap electricity.
    So, a huge reduction in the number of greenies, and lots of cheap power.
    So what’s not to like?

    • William. Another plus is that the kids could have a lot of fun with explosive balloons filled at home.

  19. I think Wikipedia is confusing the terms “auto-ignition” and “lower flammability limit.” The auto-ignition temperature for hydrogen is actually high at 585C.
    Otherwise, the hazards are pretty well stated. I would add that hydrogen burns with an invisible flame. Like an odorant is added to natural gas to impart odor, and odorant and flame colorant would need to be added to hydrogen for residential usage. It also has a negative Joule-Thompson coefficient, so the temperature of leaking hydrogen increases as it expands, although not typically to a temperature above where it will ignite.

  20. My favourite hydrogen fact is that if a gram of Hydrogen is released anywhere in the world…within 12 hours or less it will be equally distributed throughout the entire atmosphere of the earth!

    • So then, if an Olympic-sized swimming pool of hydrogen was released, it would be well mixed within 12 milli-microseconds?
      Just practicin’ my alarmist-style science. ☺

    • Now why is it that the hydrogen would distribute itself uniformly in the vertical direction, instead of the hydrogen partial pressure diminishing with altitude ?
      At what altitude would the hydrogen stop maintain the same partial pressure as lower down ??
      g

  21. Completely failing to add that 80% of the natural gas piping in England would fail to retain pressurized hydrogen due to it seeping through the pipe walls…

  22. Convert to hydrogen. Burn all the houses in Leeds down. Burn all the transmission lines, destroying nearby industry. Depopulate Leeds. Voia, Leeds is decarbonized.

    • A reading of UK newspapers would intimate that the British public would much rather have the dangerous hydrogen experiment conducted in Bradford. Why? I leave that for readers to research!

  23. Before the UK British government took away our freedoms, a simple way to leave this planet whilst at home was to insert a shilling into the meter and then pop your head into the gas oven (unlit of course). The gas was coal gas and ones leaving occurred pretty quickly. Does anyone know if the same results would occur with hydrogen gas?(sadly shillings have been overtaken by decimal coinage so probably inflation means pounds would be required!).

    • Town gas had H2 and CO Carbon Monoxide in it. The CO did the killing.
      H2 doesn’t do that. It will kill you by blowing up or having an invisible flame light your robe on fire as you reach for the kettle.

      • The problem of the invisible flame was solved in 1875 by Thaddeus Lowe. When town gas was replaced by natural gas in the UK a problem was the reduced light from the methane flame.

  24. I could almost swear that somebody was offering a prize for the most expensive method of reducing total CO2 emissions by one tonne.
    Apart from the problem of establishing how much such a reduction is in reality “worth” to mankind – it should be obvious that even if we embrace the obsession with CO2 reduction then we should be aiming to make the maximum amount of reduction for the least cost.
    The U.K. government appears to be most interested in making the minimum reduction for the most cost.
    At least, based upon it’s preference for a range of bizarrely expensive boondoggle projects selected from the most expensive end of the menu.
    And energy efficiency and energy saving schemes appear to have been intentionally sabotaged in order to validate their abandonment.
    So, it’s tidal lagoons, offshore wind, subsidies for Prius drivers etc.
    All the most expensive and least effective approaches to CO2 reduction.
    And now talk of yet another insanely over-complicated and sure to be vastly expensive heap of crap.
    It was noticing this phenomenon that lead me to suspect that cutting CO2 was never the genuine motive behind the govt. capture and total regulatory control of the energy market.
    It’s power and greed from top to bottom.
    And the poorest energy consumers are the ones left with the bill for these outrages.
    Meanwhile, the chinese are leading renewable expansion without any appreciable rise in electricity costs to consumers (principally with big hydro – the cheapest renewable by far).
    To them, we must look like a bunch of imbeciles.
    What stupid pipe-dream idiocy are we going to attempt to implement next?
    Maybe we could fuel Drax with organic granola shipped from New York health food stores.
    It’s certainly high in calories, so that should be an easy sell.
    I shouldn’t joke – somebody in government might see this and set up a “proof of concept” pilot study!!!

  25. But we all had hydrogen piped into our houses along with carbon monoxide, in the form of town gas, until North Sea gas revolutionized our lives. Spray steam on hot coke, et voila. It also helped poets commit suicide by sticking their heads in the oven.

  26. Christopher Booker has a point about the risks. Pure Hydrogen is dangerous. In my opinion, Hydrogen is not something you would want to pipe into a normal home. The slightest leak could present a lethal risk of explosion.
    Was this article written on April 1st? Hydrogen piped into normal homes is certainly not dangerous and does not pose a lethal risk of explosion. The rate at which Hydrogen diffuses is so high that it does not maintain an explosive mixture, far less dangerous than methane!
    In fact hydrogen was piped into homes all over Britain for about 100 years with negligible risk of explosion, it was the poisonous CO that was mixed with it that was the problem. In fact when town gas was replaced in the 70s with natural gas there was a spate of home explosions due to the more dangerous methane. A national program to replace the leaky cast iron pipes was implemented because of the new danger.

    • Hydrogen explosions can and do occur. http://www.powermag.com/lessons-learned-from-a-hydrogen-explosion/
      “The comparative safety of hydrogen can only be judged based on the particular circumstances
      in which it will be used. In some instances hydrogen’s propensity to dissipate quickly, relatively
      high LFL and low energy density may make it a safer fuel than the alternatives considered. In
      other cases hydrogen’s wide flammable range, small quenching gap and propensity to detonate
      may make it less safe.” http://www.eihp.org/public/documents/CompilationExistingSafetyData_on_H2_and_ComparativeFuels_S..pdf

    • Your continued comparisons of the very low pressure, very leaking, very low volume/minute, highly contaminated coal gas/town gas distribution networks with modern methane pipelines and capacities are wrong. EVERY coal gas plant met with high protests and they were the cause – even in the 1790’s to 1830’s! – of the first environmental rules and regulations, plant restrictions, and plant cancellations due to foul odors, and coal and gas pollution, and fires and simple site dirt, and ground pollution and noise.
      Yes, the very inefficient, very ineffective cast iron and lead-soldered town gas systems were “safe” – in the same way that hundreds of 12 volt dc batteries delivering a few12 volts dc for a few meters are “safer” than a modern 120 VAC and 240 VAC electrical house systems. Are they comparable to natural gas in making a people more productive and using our resources wisely?
      No.

  27. It seems that many people fail to appreciate that flammable gas is not “explosive” unless it is mixed with a specific quantity of air. Obviously that can occur during a gas leak – and at the point at which a reasonable gas-air mix has been achieved, the mixture can explode.
    But the non-explosive nature of contained pure flammable gas was demonstrated quite effectively by possibly the world’s most incompetent terrorist “bombing”, described in this link below.
    Even more remarkable when it is considered that one of the “bombers” was an engineering student.
    A harsh statement about the falling standards of university education in the U.K.
    We can’t even turn out decent terrorists:
    http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2007/jun/29/politics.terrorism1

  28. Sometimes I wish I were one of the aphids sucking on my lime tree. Just so I don’t have to belong to the same species as the average distinguished climate expert. You know, the ones who “tackle” climate and propose “solutions”, like sooting the air, burying gas, seeding or fizzing the oceans etc. (Back in the seventies they wanted to soot the poles and let off nukes to warm things up.)
    They’re in the pay of Big Potty.

  29. Since natural gas (methane, CH4) has 4 hydrogen atoms to each carbon atom, 4 in 5, how much impact would there be by going to 5 in 5?
    Do these people ever sit for a moment and think before proposing changes to all our lives?

  30. Drivel. Hydrogen burns slowly with a low temperature blue flame. As a kid I used to fill paper bags with hydrogen and set fire to them to show people who talked this trash about the Hindenberg disaster being caused by hydrogen. Hydrogen burnt with a cold blue flame totally unspectacularly.
    Mind you, if you produce your hydrogen by electrolysis and leave in some of the oxygen it is a very different story.
    The fire’s intensity was caused by the metal loaded silver coloured dope used on the covering which is practically identical to rocket fuel. Zeppelin’s own engineers fount this to be the cause nearly a century ago.
    Let’s not reduce climate sceptics to the same pathetic believe what you want, and to hell with the truth or reality, of the climate scientists.

  31. Hi from Oz. FFS – when are these ***** lunatics going to be called for what they are? If anyone near me suggested replacing domestic gas with hydrogen for any reason short of demolition, I would call the police and get them sectioned (Oz code for ‘sent to a secure psychiatric facility for treatment’), or charged with treason or subversion. After that I would sit down and calculate the energy needed and the CO2 expended to convert CH4 safely into hydrogen, safely store it in vast quantities, and then add the $billions needed to fix up the nation’s gas infrastructure to cope with this loony idea, then ask those who suggested this to tell us where the money will come from. Then I would attack the single malt! Happy ANZAC day!

    • But of course when you did that, they would realize that you are the lunatic who doesn’t understand the science and has no knowledge of the extensive experience of transmitting Hydrogen containing gases for domestic consumption!

        • clipe

          Would transmitting Hydrogen not in containing gases be feasible for domestic consumption?

          No. Phil is apparently confusing the earlier, very inefficient, very poor heat quality and highly-contaminated coal gasses (that do contain a little bit of hydrogen when generated) with today’s efficient high-volume, high-pressure, non-leaking methane (natural gas) systems. See, apparently,ANY comments made comparing hydrogen delivery today with historical low-volume, low-pressure coal gas systems assumes that the gas concentrations (when generated from coal breakdown) are the same gas concentrations when-delivered (at the end of even those low-pressure pipelines).
          But they are NOT the same.
          Not so.
          The delivered hydrogen is much, much lower because so much leaked out or was absorbed during the generation and separation processes as the coal gasses were bubbled through the water and coal tars. Or leaked through the storage tank walls, the storage tank seals and the pipe walls and pipe joints.

      • Thanks RACook. Phil has made a few comments about Hydrogen in “town gas” that didn’t add up in my uneducated mind.

      • RACookPE1978 April 24, 2016 at 3:43 pm
        No. Phil is apparently confusing the earlier, very inefficient, very poor heat quality and highly-contaminated coal gasses (that do contain a little bit of hydrogen when generated) with today’s efficient high-volume, high-pressure, non-leaking methane (natural gas) systems. See, apparently,ANY comments made comparing hydrogen delivery today with historical low-volume, low-pressure coal gas systems assumes that the gas concentrations (when generated from coal breakdown) are the same gas concentrations when-delivered (at the end of even those low-pressure pipelines).

        Not true, the town gas that I used in my lab and in my home was ~50% hydrogen, it was about half the volumetric heating value of the natural gas that replaced it due to the high hydrogen concentration. We used to pay for it by the therm and got regular analytical reports with our bills. The same pipes were used to deliver the natural gas after conversion but due to the number of natural gas explosions due to leaks a national program of upgrading had to take place. The leakage problems arose from the dry nature of the natural gas used compared with the town gas and leakage developed in the winter. Consequently the pipe repair program started in the north of the country.
        Cook does not know what he is talking about.

      • clipe April 24, 2016 at 3:22 pm
        Would transmitting Hydrogen not in containing gases be feasible for domestic consumption?

        It appears that it would be feasible depending on how they propose to implement it. Certainly the fanciful consequences envisioned by some here would not happen. You can find an analysis here:
        http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/51995.pdf

    • USA civil war, Washington DC was a continual clutterment of Horse shingle – poopus stinkus runus everywhere during rain. Freezing brought clean air smell. Not uncommon to have 2 feet in depth with the constant horse traffic in out and hitched here and there. For special events parades pompous street shows a local assigned military unit – 200-500 troops would shovel sweep the main streets and haul outside of the ‘boundary’ (??) area. Complaints aplenty during normal rain by citizens that lived-worked in the giant logistic sales-special interests of war goods. Horse dung does not make the best organic farming fertilizer.

  32. Lord Deben lost me when he said on BBC Radio 4 Today programme that I was in the pay of fossil fuel companies. What a silly silly man

  33. “Just popping the balloons, without any flame, was usually enough to trigger an explosion.”
    Really? Can anyone verify please?

  34. we should switch to carbon-free hydrogen

    Yup. Lots of hydrogen gas in residential buildings looks like an excellent idea. From criminals, with a terrorist inclination, I mean.
    See:
    A HYDROGEN-AIR EXPLOSION IN A PROCESS PLANT: A CASE HISTORY
    by Bjerketvedt, D and Mjaavatten, A
    Faculty of Technology, Telemark University College, Kjolnes Ring 56, Porsgrunn, NO-3918, Norway
    Is it not amazing what 7 kg of hydrogen can do?

    • There is no plan to store ‘lots of hydrogen gas in residential buildings’. As was done in the UK for 100+years hydrogen gas was distributed at a low pressure and explosion risk was negligible. It was only when natural gas was distributed with its higher explosion risk that gas explosions in residential settings started to occur.
      In the case you cite the hydrogen was stored at 30bar pressure (~450psi) which is a very different situation, natural gas stored under the same conditions would have double the explosive energy!

  35. Before they used natural gas, towns and cities in America and Britain used town gas, derived from coal. Town gas is predominantly hydrogen and we know that towns and cities managed to survive without blowing up.
    So I am afraid Christopher Booker has got this one wrong. There should be no safety concerns regarding the use of hydrogen, even within the existing infrastructure.
    Whether it makes environmental or economic sense is something else.

    • Town gas also contained significant levels of CH4, CO, C2H4, N2 and other trace components.

  36. They could reduce the danger by diluting the hydrogen with cheap dephlogisticated air. Strangely scientific but entirely impractical, this suggestion plainly qualifies as climate science and should attract substantial government backing.
    My presentation will hint that when making the dephlogisticated air, any phlogiston extracted could be used to reinvigorate the stale air from coal fired power generation so it could be safely released back in to the atmosphere as a healthy rejuvenating vapour.
    Phlogiston futures could be floated on the stack market and with a bit of favourable legislation, a lot of politicians could make a lot of money. If they cared to toss me a Nobel prize I would not complain.

  37. A while ago, I built a semiconductor plant that used a small amount of hi purity Hydrogen in its process. The extent to which the Hydrogen piping was overbuilt and tested tells you how dangerous this gas is. I’m sure processes have changed over the years but it is the only socket welded pipe I ever saw used in 35 years of construction.

    • Ask any engineer who has designed the off gas system for a boiling water reactor. Look at the ventilation requirements for the rooms and buildings that this gas passes through. Look at the height of the off-gas tower. Look at the requirements for and steps taken to assure that the off-gas is diluted to ensure that the H2 is less than 4%. I was involved with the acceptance testing of one of these systems. We had a tanker filled with H2 used to inject the hydrogen into the system. We also had two fire stations, and the site fire crew, at the ready, A rather nervous day.

      • “Ask any engineer who has designed the off gas system for a boiling water reactor…”
        I was a BWR Off gas system engineer as well as a PWR waste gas engineer. Also was team lead for process safety reviews at chemical processing plant for systems that used hydrogen, natural gas, and ammonia.
        Before Proud Skeptic starts building something, people like me have to show regulators that it is safe to the regulators. Natural gas, no problem. Hydrogen, very hard even in a controlled industrial setting. I could do it in a house but no one could afford it.
        I am not afraid of radiation. Hydrogen is very scary and there are fatalities. Ammonia is even scarier and there are more fatalities. Sure they did such and such during WWII, and yahoo framers do stuff to make food, but the power industry has very high safety standards because we can.
        So politicians and economists can suggest all manner of foolish things but someone like me is not going to sign off the hazard analysis.

      • They could have done with your expertise at Fukushima. As you know, those almighty explosions that wrecked the entire plant were hydrogen explosions. All they needed to prevent this, was some hand-cranked windows at the top of the buildings. But nobody thought of that, and a gas build-up ensued, with predictable consequences.
        A Fukushima hydrogen explosion.
        http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/fzz2.jpg

  38. Lord Deben, and the other people pushing this plan, must surely be aware of the potential risks.

    The number of useful things Lord Deben is aware of can be counted on the fingers of a fish’s hand.

  39. I’m so sick of the business with CO2 emissions, I think a different tack is needed. Perhaps we can turn the tables on them?
    The EPA is charged with protecting the environment – but in lowering CO2 emissions, they will be depriving plants from much needed plant food. They are in violation of their mission. They have no reason to continuing with lowering emissions. Atmospheric CO2 is not harmful to human health and it’s not harmful to the environment.

  40. And nobody has explained how they will prevent a Lake Nyos disaster.
    Having buried all that Co2 under the North Sea, what will prevent a well blow-out? Because if there is a blow-out, the Co2 will hug the surface (especially when constrained by a large nighttime temperature inversion) and get blown either to the Dutch coast or the UK east coast. And there it will suffocate everything in its path, inflicting thousands or millions of casualties.
    I have asked this question for a decade now, and never got an answer from a government department or the media. Everyone whistles softly, and looks in another direction.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nyos#1986_disaster
    R

  41. Lord Deben’s committee will not be swayed by any scientific argument they are all bereft of any capability to comprehend anything scientific as is obvious by them even briefly contemplating this idea. What will stop them in their tracks is being held accountable for the potential destruction of houses and loss of lives in Leeds (if that is indeed where they are proposing this demonstration of stupidity). The insurance companies will without exception withdraw their insurance cover on houses and companies installing equipment indeed on everything and everyone anything to do with the exercise. So it will not happen. Nobody will take any part in the exercise as they cannot proceed uninsured on their own liability. Stupidity always tends to lose when faced with financial accountability.

  42. Looks like the Malthus worshiping greenies have come up with a wheeze to both depopulate and decarbonise all in one fell swoop. I can’t make up my mind whether they are evil or just plain stupid.

  43. Why be so negative?
    Surely there must be some positive outcome given this wonderful news.
    Perhaps we could encourage the Greenpeace advocates to use airships filled with Hydrogen Gas to transport them to the next international conference to save the planet.
    Think about the reduction in their carbon footprint.
    Lord Deben of BSE fame would surely volunteer to show the way to the more cautious citizens

  44. This is just more carbon stupidity and madness. The pea here is the plan to use CCS, a technology steeped in carbon stupidity and madness, which would be horribly expensive, very possibly dangerous, in addition to accomplishes exactly zero, which doesn’t even exist escept in the fevered brains of Greenie schemers.
    Watch the pea.

  45. It is misleading to compare hydrogen with town gas, just because the latter had some hydrogen in it (along with a lot of other stuff).
    Even Northern Gas Networks, who are pushing this scheme, admit:
    A key advantage would be that gas distribution pipe network infrastructure would need minimal modification, because old metal pipes are already being replaced with plastic ones which are suitable for carrying hydrogen.
    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/uk-homes-could-be-heated-by-hydrogen/
    In other words, the pipework that carried town gas is not suitable for hydrogen.

    • Paul Homewood April 24, 2016 at 4:56 am
      It is misleading to compare hydrogen with town gas, just because the latter had some hydrogen in it (along with a lot of other stuff).

      It is not misleading, town gas had a lot more than ‘some hydrogen’, it was ~50% hydrogen!
      Even Northern Gas Networks, who are pushing this scheme, admit:
      A key advantage would be that gas distribution pipe network infrastructure would need minimal modification, because old metal pipes are already being replaced with plastic ones which are suitable for carrying hydrogen.
      https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/uk-homes-could-be-heated-by-hydrogen/
      In other words, the pipework that carried town gas is not suitable for hydrogen.

      No, the old pipework that was suitable for hydrogen (town gas) was unsuitable for natural gas and when the reason for the outbreak of explosions, which occurred when natural gas was used, was realized, a nationwide crash program of pipe replacement was undertaken. The pipelines that were installed in the 70s will require replacement in the next 20 years regardless of which gas is being used.

      • No Phil.
        The “old” (rusting and leaking) coal gas lines were marginally adequate ONLY at very, very low pressures and low flow rates (rates limited by the very low differential pressures possible). Thus, natural gas could NOT be used in those lines because the natural gas was going to be distributed at a reasonable pressure, reasonable flow rate (requiring far safer, far smaller, leak-proof lines for the methane) rather than the pre-Model T-era coal gas lines you – for some reason – repeated use to justify hydrogen.
        They were as inadequate as a two-rut dirt trail is for a modern bus or lorrey/semi-trailer. On a dry day at 2 km per hour, sure you can drive on the dirt ruts. But only under those conditions.
        You have continually compared the old, low pressure coal gas pipe network that diffused hydrogen through mile of its length to today’s modern welded steel natural gas pipelines that send tens of millions more BTU’s per hour at far safer volumes. Does that mean you can compare those two dirt ruts to Birmingham’s, Portmouth’s, or Newcastle’s highway networks?

      • RACook
        Many communities in New South Wales are still serviced with the distribution conduits originally installed for town gas. For instance, Moss Vale, Berrima, Bowral, Mittagong. These now distribute natural gas. The distribution system in the City of Launceston is to a large extent the original distribution system from the days of coal gas.

      • RACookPE1978 April 24, 2016 at 6:28 pm
        No Phil.
        The “old” (rusting and leaking) coal gas lines were marginally adequate ONLY at very, very low pressures and low flow rates (rates limited by the very low differential pressures possible). Thus, natural gas could NOT be used in those lines because the natural gas was going to be distributed at a reasonable pressure, reasonable flow rate (requiring far safer, far smaller, leak-proof lines for the methane) rather than the pre-Model T-era coal gas lines you – for some reason – repeated use to justify hydrogen.

        Not true, when the UK converted to natural gas from town gas (~50% hydrogen) they used exactly the same pipes. It was only after a spate of methane explosions in houses (something unknown in the town gas era) that a change program was instituted, typically the old pipes were lined not replaced.
        You have continually compared the old, low pressure coal gas pipe network that diffused hydrogen through mile of its length to today’s modern welded steel natural gas pipelines that send tens of millions more BTU’s per hour at far safer volumes.
        No I have not, I have compared the performance of town gas delivered through the pre 1960’s pipe network to the performance of natural gas delivered through the identical network in the 1970s.

  46. I have read most of the comments on here.
    You are all being very reasonable and your comments a thoughtful.
    But, it seems to me that the point being missed. Is, follow the money!

  47. Copied from the above article:

    Most UK households use natural gas for home heating, ….
    ….. extrapolating from the £2 billion needed to convert 320,000 homes in Leeds by requiring them all to buy new cookers, the cost of extending the scheme across Britain could be a staggering £162 billion.

    Has anyone ever calculated the total cost of “converting” from the burning of fuel oil ….. to the burning of natural gas or electric ….. for the purpose of “home & water heating” in the hundreds-of-thousands of homes and businesses in the US?

    • The UK did it in the late 60’s-early 70s to switch over to natural gas. Interestingly the last major city to be converted was Leeds (the records of the gas network had been lost in the war).

  48. Once again the climate imperialists are showing themselves as anti-science, ignorant of basic engineering, and apparently only after the grant money. The decision making process that led to the grant being approved and funded should be audited by an aggressive and thorough investigation. There is no way that this grant was honestly chosen.

  49. Eric Worrell,
    You wrote: “Pure Hydrogen is dangerous. In my opinion, Hydrogen is not something you would want to pipe into a normal home. The slightest leak could present a lethal risk of explosion.”
    Yes, and the same is true for methane. So what is your point?
    The real problem is the cost of retrofitting not just appliances but the entire gas distribution system. Plus the cost of the unproven carbon capture and sequestration.

    • As I understant is, hydrogen can leak through both plastic and metal pipes, because the molecules are so small. And collect in voids under the buildings. And hydrogen is so reactive, it can spontaneously combust much more easily than methane. So it is more dangerous.
      R

      • Well you completely misunderstand it, because hydrogen is such a small molecule it doesn’t collect anywhere but diffuses away rapidly. Its molecular speed exceeds the earth’s escape velocity. Methane is much more subject to the effects you mention which is why the explosion hazard increased dramatically when the conversion from town gas to natural gas was made.

      • Phil. April 24, 2016 at 7:21 am – “diffuses away rapidly. Its molecular speed exceeds” Interesting.
        During the Hindenburg burn-meltdown and before the airship crashed onto the ground, would it be reasonable to believe that the H2 had escaped in some-most part? The pictures show the skin- muslin(?)-dope burning following a normal fire physics event until it crashed causing a rapid skin ignition due to fuel arrangement. Not negating some part of the H2 burning.

      • Frederick
        The Hindenburg gas tanks were made of sausage skins (pig gut). And much of the visible burning was the aluminium paint on the doped outer skin. The hydrogen flame is near invisible.
        As to hydrogen gas collection in voids, I hardly think that diffusion through bricks and mortar would be that rapid, that a collection of gas could not occur under a building.
        R

      • ralfellis,
        You can not pipe H2 through just anything. But you can build pipelines for H2 if you use appropriate materials. The cost of replacing existing infrastructure with H2 compatible infrastructure would be enormous.
        As Donald L. Klipstein points out below, the lower explosive limits for H2 and methane are just about the same. A mixture of H2 in air is a bit easier to ignite than methane in air, but a pilot light will do nicely for either.

      • FredericE April 24, 2016 at 9:11 am
        Phil. April 24, 2016 at 7:21 am – “diffuses away rapidly. Its molecular speed exceeds” Interesting.
        During the Hindenburg burn-meltdown and before the airship crashed onto the ground, would it be reasonable to believe that the H2 had escaped in some-most part? The pictures show the skin- muslin(?)-dope burning following a normal fire physics event until it crashed causing a rapid skin ignition due to fuel arrangement. Not negating some part of the H2 burning.

        Everything I have read and seen regarding the Hindenberg says that the fire started on the outside skin you’d then expect hydrogen diffusion flame to start, which is what it looked like. Hydrogen flames like this tend to cause less damage than a gasoline fire as the buoyant hydrogen tends to release its combustion heat upwards and are therefore more survivable than gasoline fires. After all two thirds of the occupants of the Hindenberg survived the accident.

      • Yes, hydrogen readily leaks through steel and stainless steel pipe walls and pipe wells at even moderate pressures.
        Phil.

        Well you completely misunderstand it, because hydrogen is such a small molecule it doesn’t collect anywhere but diffuses away rapidly. Its molecular speed exceeds the earth’s escape velocity.

        But hydrogen DOES COLLECT in buildings and near roofs and in garages and in trapped areas in basements and sewers! Why?
        Because the hydrogen diffusing through pipe walls of solid steel is under pressure!
        10, 40, 80 or 100 psig “pushes” the hydrogen through the pipe walls and into the welds of every fitting and every pipe joint. Once leaking, THAT PRESSURE GOES AWAY. The hydrogen then is at ZERO PRESSURE and begins collecting high in every room wafting literally with the room breezes caused by people walking and doors opening. It was a flammable potentially explosive hydrogen bubble that caused problems inside the top of the Three Mile Island and Japanese containment vessels!
        Sure, hydrogen gas molecules have a high speed. So does every gas molecule. The hydrogen RISES sublimely and surely to become trapped by wood, tin, linoleum and plaster into combustible and explosive concentrations BECAUSE it no longer has that pipeline pressure. If every house were perfectly vented to the outdoors, and every sewer and gas pipeline run underground were perfectly vented and continuously drawn through and replaced with dry, safe air, hydrogen would still find ways to kill innocents.
        Like every CAGW proposal, the hydrogen “solution” kills more people, costs more money, and makes life worse for every citizen. Except CAGW proponent politicians and their so-called “scientists” sucking on the government dole.

      • RACookPE1978 April 24, 2016 at 6:40 pm
        But hydrogen DOES COLLECT in buildings and near roofs and in garages and in trapped areas in basements and sewers! Why?

        Hydrogen does not ‘collect near roofs’!
        A release of hydrogen will rise until is reaches a ceiling, mixing and diffusing as it goes. Once it reaches the ceiling the remaining bubble of hydrogen will rapidly diffuse until the composition in the room is uniform, in the case of hydrogen this is a very rapid process.
        10, 40, 80 or 100 psig “pushes” the hydrogen through the pipe walls and into the welds of every fitting and every pipe joint. Once leaking, THAT PRESSURE GOES AWAY. The hydrogen then is at ZERO PRESSURE and begins collecting high in every room wafting literally with the room breezes caused by people walking and doors opening. It was a flammable potentially explosive hydrogen bubble that caused problems inside the top of the Three Mile Island and Japanese containment vessels!
        A hydrogen bubble requires oxygen in sufficient quantities to be ‘potentially explosive’, the hydrogen bubble in the TMI reactor vessel had no oxygen so wasn’t an explosion risk.
        At Fukushima the ‘hydrogen bubble’ in the reactor was not an explosion risk because of the lack of oxygen however as the pressure built up the level of coolant dropped exposing more of the fuel rods. In order to raise the level of coolant the hydrogen was released into the reactor building. This hydrogen mixed with the air and created an explosive mixture (not a bubble) which subsequently ignited. This blew out the roof so future build up wouldn’t occur after subsequent releases.

      • RACookPE1978 April 25, 2016 at 6:53 am
        Both statements, and the conclusions and sequence of events you derive from them, are false.

        They certainly are not, how do you propose hydrogen to ignite without oxygen present?
        How do you propose that diffusion of hydrogen gas does not occur when released into air/
        As with the other issues in this thread your ideas about TMI and Fukushima are clearly wrong and you really don’t understand much about this subject.

      • I was responding to Mike M who said:
        You wrote: “Pure Hydrogen is dangerous. In my opinion, Hydrogen is not something you would want to pipe into a normal home. The slightest leak could present a lethal risk of explosion.”
        Yes, and the same is true for methane. So what is your point?

        The link reveals that ‘Hydrogen has an extremely low minimum ignition energy of 0.019 mJ’ , that of methane is at least an order of magnitude greater, so the lethal risk of explosion is greater for hydrogen, unless you have other information?

  50. If I remember my chemistry correctly, the burning of hydrogen in oxygen proceeds at a rate tending towards infinity depending on the mixing ratio. There is an upper and lower explosion limit. If one chooses to work close to the limits the chance of an explosion is high. If one chooses the relatively safe region between the two limits, the hydrogen can burn in a stable manner. Unfortunately, the problem then becomes how to stop the oxidation reaction. Whichever gas is shut down it is impossible to prevent the gas ratio from passing through one of the explosion limits.

  51. Regarding: “Hydrogen possesses the NFPA 704’s highest rating of 4 on the flammability scale because its elemental form of H2 hydrogen gas risks autoignition when mixed even in small amounts with ordinary air; hydrogen gas and normal air can ignite at as low as 4% air”
    All common flammable gases have an NFPA rating of 4. So do all flammable liquids with a flash point below 73 degrees F, including gasoline. And hydrogen is not the most violently explosive of common flammable gases – acetylene is.
    As for the lower flammability limit (lower explosive limit) of hydrogen in air being 4%: This figure is even lower for most other fuel gases. For example 2.5% for acetylene, 3% for ethane, 2.1% for propane, 1.8% for butane, 1.2% for gasoline vapor. (These are by volume.) Methane’s lower flammability limit is 5%. Natural gas ranks the same as hydrogen, 4%.

    • Those other gasses do NOT leak like hydrogen does. And, their leaks are much easier to detect, prevent, and correct.
      You cannot compare the gasses as you imply.

  52. If Gummer is sniffing around you can bet he thinks there is money to be made by it , I think we can guess which companies will be involved in the ‘research’ for this idea , and with 2 billion on the table there is lot to be made .

  53. Wait a min…
    If the goal is to make the UK a carbon free zone then….hold on a minute while I laugh my butt off……..ok, ok, almost there…………still laughing…….wait, I got it now.
    Ahem, if the point of this is to convert usable hydrogen from fossil fuels to create a……giggling again…..carbon free zone and pump the CO2 generated from this process into holes under the North Sea…….snort…..then how the hell is that making the UK green? Oh yes, lets take a reliable energy source, spend billions of people’s money to strip it of it’s “dirty” elements, hide those dirty elements under an ocean to make the world greener and proclaim ourselves to be a CARBON FREE ZONE.
    Ok really laughing now…..and if anyone doesn’t get the joke, you don’t remember your basic biology so let me give you a clue……LIFE on EARTH IS CARBON BASED. A carbon free zone means NO LIFE.
    IF the greenies want to get rid of dirty fossil fuels then invest in freaking nuclear/hydroelectric power and keep your hands off everyone else’s money. Or if nuclear power isn’t “green” enough for you–spend that money developing…..oh I dunno……FUSION.
    You want to rule the energy world? Then grow a brain rather than another butt cheek and invent something BETTER, more reliable and cheaper.

  54. There are serious safety problems with burning hydrogen in a home. Some have been addressed above. Here are a few based on my experience working with hydrogen. Unlike in the case of methane (natural gas) which burns with a pale blue flame, hydrogen burns with an almost invisible flame. This raises the questions of how would you know that you have a hydrogen flame burning and how could you adjust it when you can’t see it? Another serious safety issue, is that a hydrogen flame gives off very little infrared energy. All of the heat goes up by convection. This means that you cannot feel a hydrogen flame as you approach it.
    Hydrogen leaks accumulate at the high point in a building. The roof designs of industrial buildings which house hydrogen systems allow for hydrogen to vent from the highest point in the ceiling. This sort of venting cannot be easily added to an existing house.
    The people who have proposed this idea clearly have no familiarity with hydrogen or its hazards. Furthermore, they could not have communicated with anyone who does have experience with hydrogen hazards.

    • When any common fuel gas is burning with a blue flame, very little infrared is emitted. Radiant heat that people feel from flames (as opposed to convected/conducted heat) tends to come from yellowish/orange flames with incandescent carbon particles (as opposed to traces of sodium compounds in otherwise blue flames, which cause a slightly different and characteristic orange/yellow glow in flames). Radiant heat from blue flames that people feel usually comes from objects that the flames heat.

  55. When I was a kid, filling balloons with hydrogen was normal in my country. I never heard about anybody getting injured or causing a fire by a popping balloon.
    Hydrogen has many issues but as an explosion hazard it is IMO safer than natural gas as it tends to escape upwards and away while natural gas stays near the ground. Main issues with hydrogen are its low energy density (m3 of liquid hydrogen gives out less energy than m3 of liquid natural gas) and the fact that its small molecules are harder to contain.
    I don’t see a reason to switch from natural gas to hydrogen for household consumption. If anything, it can be easily replaced by electricity using already existing infrastructure and technology.

  56. The UK is deep down the Global Warming rabbit hole.
    This document outlines the Environmental and Climate Change Partnership (ECCP — not to be confused with the CCCP) plan to reduced Croydon’s (London’s most populous borough) carbon footprint by a whopping 34% by 2025.
    Claiming that a rise in temps of 0.7°C globally had already caused droughts and floods locally, they cite IPCC estimates of a possible additional 7°C rise by 2070 to predict disaster, thus justifying their plans.
    Interestingly, when they mentioned below average rainfall in 2006 followed by above average in 2007, it was interpreted as the results of Climate Change, but the below average temperatures and above average snow during the winters of 2009-2010 were interpreted as anomalous weather events that unfortunately “confused” the unsophisticated public into doubting the conspiracy theories.
    https://www.croydon.gov.uk/sites/default/files/articles/downloads/ccmaplan.pdf

  57. There is some debate about the flammability of hydrogen, but surely the real danger is explosion, esp when trapped in small spaces.
    But the real thrust of Booker’s article is that:
    1) It is obscenely expensive. The suggested cost of £2bn for Leeds works out at £6250 per household. This is just for the infrastructure. Conversion of appliances is only a small fraction of the cost.
    2) To convert methane to hydrogen, as planned, is obviously more expensive than using the methane in the first place. Guess which mugs will have to pay for this.
    3) The conversion process is also extremely energy intensive, and where will this energy come from? Fossil fuels.
    4) The plan is to syphon off the CO2 into a disused North Sea gas field, but similar CCS plans for power stations have already had to be abandoned as commercially unviable.
    The original Telegraph story about this was summarised here last week.
    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/uk-homes-could-be-heated-by-hydrogen/

    • Since this didn’t happen during the first century of supplying hydrogen to houses in Leeds I don’t think there’s much risk of that!

      • So Phil you are saying there were no fatalities? Natural gas has a good safety record but there are fatalities.
        Phil I want to see your hazard analysis showing the risk is one in a million.

      • Not due to the explosion of hydrogen leaks, plenty of fatalities due to the CO present in the town gas. The most common method of suicide for a time.

  58. @ ralfellis
    “They could have done with your expertise at Fukushima. As you know, those almighty explosions that wrecked the entire plant were hydrogen explosions. All they needed to prevent this, was some hand-cranked windows at the top of the buildings.”
    & @Taz
    “Wasn’t a hydrogen explosion also responsible for some of the Fukushima damage??”
    First off, nuke plants are not designed for 1000 year events. Of course, since the 1000 year event happened, it is the new 200 year event. So even if there was no damage, the plants were never going to operate again because the cost of retrofits to old plants would not operate again. So the real question was the cost of the cleanup.
    For all those poster who think they can predict where hydrogen will be so they can prevent a detonation. Think again! Lots of examples of hydrogen doing bad things where it was not predicted to be.
    Hydrogen should not have been on the refueling floor at Fukushima. The refueling floor and above on a Mark I & II containment design is not part of secondary containment. It is one of the confusing aspects of a BWR that anti-nukes like to exploit when telling a carefully crafted lie. It is just an industrial building with blow panels.
    There are some theories about the source of hydrogen. Ther refueling flow has blowout panels. I think it was to limit damage from tornado over pressure. So the picture posted was a dramatic example a hydrogen detonation, it did not result in structural damage to safety related structures. The spent fuel pool did not drain.

    • The problem with Fukushima was failure to consider that chance of a 1,000-year class earthquake occurring within 100 years is about 10%. Maybe probability of such an earthquake that close within 100 years may be less, closer to 1%. Such an earthquake happened. I think a nuclear power plant needs a higher level of reliability against all of the various 1,000 and even 10,000 year class natural disasters, so that over 100 years chances are less than 1% that any of the nuclear plants in a whole nation have a bad unsafe failure from any and all causes, including earthquakes.
      Other than that, I favor nuclear power because it has a better safety record, smaller carbon footprint, and smaller overall environmental impact than any of the fossil fuels even including Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima.

      • How can I say this nicely Donald? You are just plain wrong, on many levels. Donald has an irrational fear of radiation.
        First when we are designing nuke plants, beyond design basis accidents are considered for things that are not expected to happen.
        Second there has been exactly one earthquake in the US that reached the 200 year level in the history of US plants. So that is 1%, Don just made up 5%.
        “I think a nuclear power plant needs a higher level of reliability…”
        I think the house, schools, workplaces that Don and his family use should be built to withstand a direct hit from a any imaginable tornado, hurricane, flood, and earthquake.
        Of course society does not require that becuase it is too expensive.

  59. I think that these farging leisure class bankstards are just farging with people’s heads. They are the idle class, are they not? They have nothing better to do than to pull off jokes at other people’s expense, and they can spend tons of other people’s money doing so. I think that everything’s a game to these psychopathic, parasitic, icehole yiddiots, and after a few cocktails at Martha’ shindig, the idea of “floating a hydrogen balloon” over the populace’s heads seemed like a fun little adventure this month. Then they can watch the fireworks of people’s emotional reactions. What fun!

  60. Any proposal to replace natural gas with hydrogen is either insane — or there are shenanigans going on.
    I think it’s the latter. There is no credible reason to spend the immense piles of money necessary to convert a perfectly good system to a completely different system. Where is the cost/benefit analysis? There isn’t any. Where is the public’s comment? There isn’t any (at least, none that isn’t structured to get the answers desired).
    It’s like California’s Gov Moonbeam’s “bullet train” — an obscenely expensive, pork-laden project that will never pay its cost through fares (despite their nonsense claims). Their 18th-Century ‘solution’ would compete with air travel, which easily gets passengers the same distance in less than one-quarter of the time, and much less expensively. It would also compete with very cheap bus travel, and super-convenient automobile travel.
    But even though it’s a total waste of money, Big Government still wants it. That’s no diferent from wanting to tear up the existing infrastructure — which does a fine job — and replacing it with something that is more costly, dangerous, and disruptive.
    So there’s got to be a reason.
    Are they insane? I don’t think so. I think there are a lot of special interests that are salivating at the prospect of this insane-sounding idea. Because it’s only ridiculous to those who have to pay, not to the special interests. As always, ask yourself:
    Cui bono?

  61. “Does the Committee on Climate Change want to blow us all up?”
    Of course, silly. Haven’t you been paying attention?

  62. “True, methane is more dangerous when used in domestic applications.”
    Phil’s statement is really, really stupid. Many make such statements.
    Everything is dangerous. The real issue is the cost of meeting safety standards.
    I personally would not save a few dollars heating with methane instead of an electric heat pump. However, my motorhome has a 30 gallon propane tank. Propane is a practical energy source off grid.
    Living in a motorhome and a sailboat is more dangerous than than a retirement community with shuffleboard and aqua aerobics but how long do you want to live?

    • Kit,
      Exactamundo, compadre. There’s never any cost/benefit analysis done by the alarmist crowd… ever.
      What is the cost to change over from NatGas to hydrogen? What are the benefits? Are they worth the cost?
      And finally, as always: Cui bono?

  63. I recall the change from town/coal gas to natural gas in the 1970’s. My family had a gas powered fridge…and an old style pantry. But this is crazy. Most of the gas delivery systems will not be able to contain the gas and a large volume will be wasted. All to save the planet…which cannot be saved!

    • Somebody paid attention in chemistry, thermodynamics, and fluid flow classes.
      However, not if hydrogen is being used for energy which is not practical.
      The hydrogen fool cells advocates thought stranded wind power could be used to make hydrogen and then sent via pipeline. However, 700 miles would take all the in the hydrogen.
      Hydrogen is an important industrial gas with unique properties. This is why we deal with it. It is produced near the end use by electricity, or from ammonia or natural gas.

  64. Hydrogen, while plentiful, has its energy tied up. To get access to hydrogen’s energy, you must first put the energy in to it by separating it from its bond to other elements. It’s the old old story. You can’t get it out if it hasn’t been put in first.

  65. To obtain H2 you take methane (natural gas), CH4 and steam, H2O. You get three by products, wasted energy, H2 and CO2. The latter is either sold to Pepsi or vented off into the atmosphere.
    In Short, GUMMER IS A MORON!

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