Clean Hydrogen From Coal

DOE Clean Hydrogen Plan: Breathing New Life into Brown Coal Plants

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The farce of government agencies and climate warriors celebrating new CO2 belching coal plants which produce “clean hydrogen” is gathering momentum.

DOE Backs Projects to Produce Hydrogen from Coal, Biomass

Mar 15, 2021
by Darrell Proctor

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the agency has awarded $2 million to four research and development (R&D) projects aimed at advancing clean-hydrogen production technologies.

The DOE’s awards on March 15 are part of a push by the Biden administration in its fight against climate change. Jennifer Granholm, the new Secretary of Energy and former Michigan governor, has said reducing carbon emissions from the energy sector, and promoting more forms of clean energy, is a goal of her department.

“One of the important ways to achieve net-zero carbon emissions is to find innovative approaches to create clean sources of energy like hydrogen,” Granholm said Monday. “With these awards, we’re leaning on some of America’s most brilliant minds to turn these ideas into real solutions—at the same time creating clean-energy jobs and reducing pollution in the air we breathe.”

Read more:

Australia’s People’s Republic of Victoria has stolen the march on US green hydrogen efforts. Victoria’s brown coal pilot plant has actually started producing hydrogen.

Dirty coal to hydrogen: Trial aims for clean-energy solution

Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy and Australian state of Victoria plan to create first international hydrogen-supply chain.

12 Mar 2021

A Japanese-Australian venture has begun producing hydrogen from brown coal in a 500 million Australian dollars ($390m) pilot project that aims to show liquefied hydrogen can be produced commercially and exported safely overseas.

The plan is to create the first international supply chain for liquefied hydrogen and the next big step will be to ship cargo on the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier.

“We have the potential here to be world leaders in the production and export of hydrogen and this project is developing up that technology to do exactly that,” Australian Energy Minister Angus Taylor told the Reuters news agency on the sidelines of a ceremony marking the event.

Australia, already dominant in the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade, is hoping liquefied hydrogen will give it a greener market for its coal and gas.

Read more:

There is no requirement for any of these plants to sequester their copious CO2 emissions. Most players are so keen to kickstart the hydrogen economy by flooding the market with cheap subsidised hydrogen, they are happy to accept the CO2 emissions for now. There are vague plans to sequester the CO2 or switch to producing hydrogen using renewable electricity at some point in the future, presumably once the technology becomes economically viable.

A few green groups, zealots who actually believe CO2 emissions matter, have pointed out the allegedly green hydrogen produced by burning coal is insanely carbon intensive. But the “green hydrogen” plan is likely to be a new source of billions of dollars of government renewable energy grants, and could save the jobs of thousands of politically active coal workers, so for now the objections are being disregarded.

There are also plans to throw a few truckloads of plastic into the furnace along with thousands of tons of coal, so the green hydrogen plan is even the solution to the plastics crisis.

Soon politicians throughout the world will be subsidising the construction of new smoke belching brown coal plants, and celebrating their success at kickstarting our transition to a low carbon future.

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March 21, 2021 10:05 am

Too bad this isn’t satire, the daydream would involve much less face palming while everyone comes full circle.

Last edited 24 days ago by Rhs
March 21, 2021 10:07 am

Blue hydrogen is produced from fossil fuel. So say rhe thought police. Green hydrogen is produced from solar/wind/soylent.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 21, 2021 1:54 pm

Yes, you pair it with “climate ambition” for better financial returns.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 21, 2021 5:38 pm

I think you have your terms mixed up Eric. Blue hydrogen is created from fossil sources, where the carbon emissions are captured and stored. Green hydrogen is made from non-fossil sources and favoured by policy makers who are wary of keeping the fossil economy going. (I.E. electrolysis from excess wind and solar)
By the way, whatever happened to the “hydrogen economy” at the turn of the century, when the dot com bubble burst and the hydrogen economy was vaporware. Remember the hydrogen busses at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 when they had to bring in the ‘brown’ hydrogen made from nat gas by rail from Quebec. Those 20 busses wound up getting sold a few years later and converted to diesel. 

Reply to  Ferdberple
March 22, 2021 5:47 am

Well, we do need lots more CO2 for plant food.

Tom in Toronto
March 21, 2021 10:08 am

Under the current lexicon, if it’s really ‘green hydrogen’ it has to be produced by non-CO2 emitting sources. So it has to be powered by solar/wind or have full CO2 sequestration.
‘blue hydrogen’ uses natural gas as the energy source.
‘brown’ or ‘grey’ hydrogen uses coal or oil (respectively).

That being said, it’s all a waste of time. CO2 is not a pollutant, and hydrogen fuel cells (when considering energy losses in creating hydrogen) are even less efficient than batteries in powering transportation.

John Adams
Reply to  Tom in Toronto
March 21, 2021 11:36 am

True that.

Gerry O'Connor
Reply to  Tom in Toronto
March 21, 2021 1:48 pm

If it’s got to be produced by non-CO2 emitting sources then humans can’t be involved .

Reply to  Tom in Toronto
March 22, 2021 9:03 am

Don’t forget the only true “Clean” energy, nuclear!

March 21, 2021 10:10 am

What a waste of the energy released when Carbon is oxidized.

March 21, 2021 10:20 am

Hydrogen economy will destroy the Ozone Layer and replace it with ice.

Hydrogen is the lightest of gases and leaks easily from containment. Produced and consumed in the quantities needed to power the economy means billions of valves and connections that will all unavoidably leak.  Compared to present volumes, this will result in an enormous increase in ambient levels of hydrogen. Because it is so much lighter than air, the gas will rise through the atmosphere until it reaches the stratosphere where it will encounter the ozone layer.  Ozone is highly reactive and will combine with the hydrogen to form water molecules, destroying the ozone layer and substituting a layer of ice crystal, altering the earth’s albedo. I do not pretend to know what losing the ozone layer will do to life on earth, or what a stratospheric cloud of ice crystals will do to insolation and global temperature, but I bet the effects would be significant.

I’ll post this same comment every time I see an article promoting a hydrogen economy, unless somebody demonstrates that these effects will not occur. 

Reply to  TedL
March 21, 2021 10:28 am

Stratospheric ice crystals would work the same as cirrus clouds. They warm the atmosphere underneath because they are transparent to incoming sunlight but opaque to outgoing infrared.

Charles Fairbairn
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 21, 2021 3:13 pm

Partially right Rud ; but in net terms wrong. These ice crystals are growing dendritically so MUST be losing energy by radiation into space. Once they reach a certain size, gravity takes hold and they return to earth, COOLING the atmosphere in the process.

Reply to  Charles Fairbairn
March 22, 2021 12:16 am

Yes Charles, I respect Rud Istvan for some of his posts but he is wrong in this. Firstly, ice particles reflect radiation particularly incoming short wave including light and UV. Ice also absorbs radiation both long wave and short wave. The overall emissivity is in the range 0.3-0.4. Droplets of water in clouds do reflect some light but also absorbs radiation across a wide range of wavelengths. The overall emissivity (across all wavelengths) is in the order of 0.9. Water droplets will radiate to space with an emissivity close to 1 in the wavelengths where it exists around 8 to 12 micron. Water vapor also both emits and radiates. The emissivity across all wavelengths from temperatures over 3500K to 300K is around 0.40. When water vapor condenses to water liquid it gives off the latent heat of vaporisation. When the liquid water turns to ice it gives off the latent heat of fusion. In the atmosphere this heat is mostly radiated directly to space.When ice melts and water evaporates heat is taken in and cools the atmosphere.

Reply to  cementafriend
March 23, 2021 9:14 am

The emissivity of ice relative to TOA has a max of 0.5 since atmospheric ice radiates both up into space and down to the surface in roughly equal amounts.

The same is true of GHG re-emissions. Keep in mind that all radiant energy emitted by the atmosphere is omni-directional and as a consequence, has a steradian component that ‘consensus’ climate science tends to ignore.

Regarding latent heat, it’s primary effects are to drive the weather and result in precipitation that’s warmer than it would be otherwise. To the extent that condensed water emits Joules into space, Joules that would otherwise originate from the surface and be emitted into space must be returned to the surface to offset the lost latent heat.

The cyclic evaporation and condensation of water in the atmosphere has a net zero effect on the temperature of anything.

Similarly, latent heat entering the atmosphere and it’s offsetting return to the surface has a net zero effect on the net emissions consequential to the surface temperature. Whatever effect latent heat plus its offset to the surface has on the temperature is already fully accounted for by the average temperature and its average emissions. Trenberth’s adding latent heat to the RADIANT energy balance is a disservice to humanity that obfuscates reality in order to provide wiggle room to claim what’s otherwise impossible.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 21, 2021 5:50 pm

“transparent to incoming sunlight but opaque to outgoing infrared”? What about incoming infrared in the sunlight? Do the ice crystals differentiate based on direction? Are the crystals one way valves?

Reply to  TedL
March 21, 2021 11:46 am

There’s already natural hydrogen being emitted continuously by the earth. Hence the atmosphere has a natural hydrogen content that is in roughly in some state of equilibrium, about a half ppmv or so.

We’d have to produce and leak a shit load of hydrogen given the enthalpy of the H2/O2 reaction to alter this since the atmosphere is about 21% O2.

Reply to  Scissor
March 21, 2021 12:37 pm

It is a nice, funny and satirical post though because once the hydrogen economy is established, with the useless, parasitic humans making money on the arbitrage, the same useless parasitic humans can make money on the arbitrage of tearing said economy down.

….. or it could be lizard people. I’m not sure

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  philincalifornia
March 22, 2021 5:03 am

Having had Jennifer Granholm as my governor, I would say lizard people is the correct term. She was the product of a crooked Democratic machine in Wayne County and showed no promise of ever doing what was right for her constituents.

Jim G
Reply to  TedL
March 21, 2021 1:28 pm

Approximately half of fossil fuel burning today becomes water vapor.
(Which we have been told is a non-issue.)

They’re just moving the CO2 burning portion to a central location.

It’s too bad that cracking hydrocarbons requires energy input for the conversion.

Charles Fairbairn
Reply to  TedL
March 21, 2021 3:30 pm

I was not aware that hydrogen converted ozone to water. If you are right then it is a strong argument for curtailing hydrogen production in like manner to the banning of CFCs from our refrigerators.
The ozone layer is vital to protect us from the ravages of ultraviolet radiation.

Reply to  Charles Fairbairn
March 22, 2021 12:40 am

Charles, yes it can the reaction is
H2 + O3 > H2O + O2 but it will be rare. Most H2 if it gets to the ozone layer will be lost to space because of the low gravity effect there. Note ozone has a molecular weight of 48 while hydrogen has a molecular weight of 2.
Methane CH4 can also react with ozone. The most likely reaction however is
CH4 + O3 > CH3OH (methanol) + O2. Methanol has been detected in the atmosphere. It is highly soluble in water and is the likely route of recycling CH4. Lightning strikes are the most likely source of ozone which reacts with methane rather than the ozone layer. By the way CH4 absorbs very little radiation from the Earth surface (average around 10 micron) and then only at around 8 micron where it is overlapped by water vapor (H2Og). It is a lie that CH4 absorbs more radiation than CO2

Vincent Causey
Reply to  TedL
March 22, 2021 12:32 am

Interesting point. Also, if the hydrogen is lost to space, wouldn’t that effectively mean that water is being lost to space as well? An answer to rising sea levels, perhaps.

David Blenkinsop
Reply to  TedL
March 22, 2021 8:37 am

Aren’t the most energetic particles from space, cosmic rays, already protons, or hydrogen, basically? Given that the upper atmosphere is such an exotic place, nothing like it in the laboratory, why do they pretend to be able to model it anyway?

March 21, 2021 10:27 am

Ah, so you will have backwater nations burn coal and plastic to extract hydrogen, ship the hydrogen to all the smart eco warrior communities, where the libtard warmunists will pretend they create no pollution, using their holier-than-thou pretenses to raise taxes on fossil fuel to subsidise those dirty hydrogen plants?
I should have chosen a life in crime, my soul would feel less polluted.

Reply to  paranoid goy
March 21, 2021 12:43 pm

Just vote democrat my son. You are absolved of all blame.

Don’t forget the donations plate on the way out.

Reply to  paranoid goy
March 21, 2021 2:23 pm

Seems like the main thrust of the hydrogen thing, just like the electric cars, is to shift the pollution out of the big rich cities and into the third world and back country producers of the smoke.
Eat smog flyover chumps!

Reply to  paranoid goy
March 21, 2021 10:38 pm

From a safety perspective, we won’t even let a few ounces of propane be used as a refrigerant in refrigerators or air conditioners due to its flammability, and somebody thinks hydrogen tanks will be ok fuel storage in your garage. Safety engineers and eco-stuff salesmen need to get together real soon…..

March 21, 2021 10:32 am

This joins burning trees for fuel as Climate Farce

Reply to  Terry
March 21, 2021 11:49 am

Or palm oil.

Reply to  Scissor
March 21, 2021 5:46 pm

My palms get sweaty, but not oily.

Roger Taguchi
Reply to  Terry
March 21, 2021 12:09 pm

Burning trees keeps me warm in winter.

Reply to  Terry
March 21, 2021 2:10 pm

The Climate Farce has made us move from electric heat to a woodstove. My Canadian province heaped on taxes upon taxes in the last 10 yrs, now they’re adding on ‘carbon’ tax to everything energy wise, that makes our electric heating bills in winters incredible high.
So we heat with wood now.

James Giles
March 21, 2021 10:35 am

Beyond the lunacy of using a so-called “dirty” fuel to produce a “clean” fuel, there is an insoluble flaw in this plan. Physicists and engineers will tell you that NO energy inter-conversion process is 100%. In other words, transforming one kind of energy into another is inefficient and will suffer losses. This means that much of the energy contained in the original fuel (coal) will be lost in the process of converting it into a new fuel (hydrogen).

Reply to  James Giles
March 21, 2021 11:50 am

Some of the funding leaks into the politicians pockets, so it’s OK.

chris pasqualini
Reply to  James Giles
March 21, 2021 12:54 pm

I had to scroll all the way down to here before I found a comment by someone who realized that this lunatic idea will consume more energy than it produces.

March 21, 2021 10:36 am

Wake me when it becomes economy viable and safe to store.

Reply to  markl
March 21, 2021 11:08 am

This will occur after decades, and after many billions are diverted to those with the proper political connections.

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  markl
March 21, 2021 11:35 am

“”Hydrogen burns with a pale blue flame that is almost invisible during daylight hours, so fires are almost impossible to see with the naked eye.

Hydrogen fires have low radiant heat, so you can’t sense the presence of a flame until you are very close to it (or even in it).””

Wondering how long it will be until the first hydrogen leak ignites and seriously burns someone.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
March 21, 2021 11:55 am

Every once and a while, I am reminded that hydrogen flames have sufficient radiant heat to cause pain, but the part about the flames being nearly invisible is definitely true, especially when wearing welding goggles.

Jim G
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
March 21, 2021 1:31 pm

I guess our firefighters would have to respond to an electric vs. hydrogen vehicle collision.

Reply to  Jim G
March 21, 2021 4:05 pm

Hydrogen vehicle fire may be faster out, some pitty, a bang, over.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
March 22, 2021 4:27 am

Back in the day, when NASA and USAF were first developing liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen rocket engines, the fire hazard was dealt with in a cheap, safe manner. When entering a test stand for a LOX/LH2 engine, engineers and technicians would carry a straw broom held out in front of them (think of the Wicked Witch’s broom from The Wizard of Oz). If the party was walking into a hydrogen fire (invisible), the broom would burst into flame, warning them to back off.

Today they have more sophisticated fire sensors.

robin townsend
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
March 22, 2021 6:16 am

its not the fire you have to worry about, its the bloomin big bang from the BLEVE. BLEVEs are the second biggest bang we can make.

Reply to  markl
March 21, 2021 11:46 am

Economic viability and safety are not among the criteria being used to assess these projects.

Neither involve anti-fossil fuel politically correctness.

March 21, 2021 11:06 am

C02 is a trace gas. There isn’t enough of it in the atmosphere to do much of anything. The most abundant insulating gas is water vapor. The concern is that an increase in insulating gases will lead to excessive warming. The proposed solution: burning hydrogen. What is the product of the combustion of hydrogen? Water vapor. The stupid: it burns.

Bruce Cobb
March 21, 2021 11:11 am

The use of the words “clean” and “dirty” as descriptors of energy is a classic use of Appeal to Emotion. Goebbels would be proud.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
March 21, 2021 12:45 pm

I think even Goebbels would blush at this shower of sh!te.

Kit P
March 21, 2021 11:12 am

Government funded research projects are required to provide reports. These reports documenting failure to overcome problems (again) are an interesting read by a few engineers.

A hydrogen economy already exists. Next to refineries and fertilizer plants you will find a plant producing hydrogen from CH4. Methane is easy to transport, hydrogen is not.

Small quantities of hydrogen are also used for such things as a reducing agent and cooling generators in large power plants. Handling hydrogen is very dangerous. I have experience in the area. Hydrogen will never get past the demonstration phase for transportation fuel.

When CH4 gets scarce in the world, nuclear power generation will boom for electricity. High temperature gas cooled reactors will efficiently produce hydrogen for refineries and fertilizer plants.

I was working on this in new reactors after Bush replaced Clinton. However Bush also encouraged exploring for more methane which won the race for making methane cheap.

Reply to  Kit P
March 21, 2021 12:12 pm

Perhaps it meets your definition of “demonstration” but you might be surprised to learn that today there are dozens of hydrogen fueling stations and several thousand H2 vehicles in California.

There are also 1600 miles or so of H2 pipelines in the U.S. So, while it is true that H2 is inherently hazardous, it can be handled and transported safely with proper engineering controls.

Kit P
Reply to  Scissor
March 21, 2021 3:50 pm

but you might be surprised to learn

Not the least bit surprised someone would link a website full of material false statements made by people in California.

When I worked at a nuke plant in California, if I lied to regulators about the the hydrogen storage system I was responsible for they would put me in jail.

I would be surprised in the HFC project in California actually demonstrated that HFC are practical for transportation.

I did review the hydrogen fueling system my company built for Switzerland. It is not that it can not be done safely but the cost of doing it.

It is a bold face lie that HFC reduce ghg in California. If you have a nuke plant that load follows at night or excess wind or solar, maybe.

Jean Parisot
March 21, 2021 11:22 am

Did I miss a breakthrough in how hydrogen is stored?

Steve Z
March 21, 2021 11:22 am

There are two major problems with hydrogen:

A lot of energy needs to be consumed to generate it, likely coming from fossil fuels;

Hydrogen has a very low energy density, and specialized tanks are needed to store it.

At a similar temperature and pressure, natural gas (methane) has more than three times the heat of combustion as the same volume of hydrogen. This means that hydrogen would have to be compressed to three times the pressure as methane to achieve the same energy density (or range for a hydrogen-powered vehicle). Compression requires energy input, and a higher-pressure tank requires a higher wall thickness than a lower-pressure tank, and would be heavier. Hydrogen is also corrosive, so that exotic materials are needed to store hydrogen.

One of the common methods to generate hydrogen in oil refineries is steam-methane reforming, which consumes energy and produces 4 moles of hydrogen per mole methane consumed, and emits a mole of CO2 and consumes 2 moles of steam. Hydrogen is required in oil refineries to desulfurize kerosene, diesel fuel, and heavier liquid fuel products.

But direct combustion of methane also emits one mole of CO2, and generates more net energy than hydrogen obtained from steam-methane reforming. If we want clean, low-emission vehicles, compressed natural gas is a better fuel than hydrogen, and emits less CO2 per amount of energy produced.

We need to tell the new purveyors of hydrogen to “Remember the Hindenburg”.

Reply to  Steve Z
March 21, 2021 12:20 pm

I don’t think that hydrogen should be used as transportation fuel either for the reasons you mention, but it can be handled safely with proper engineering controls.

For instance, NASA has been using hydrogen for propulsion and electricity generation via fuel cells for 60 years or so.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Scissor
March 21, 2021 2:49 pm

Liquid hydrogen works in rockets because weight, not volume, is the critical factor in lifting payloads into orbit. Once there, the fact that you already have the fuel for a fuel cell is a no-brained. Outside of the space program, however, hydrogen as a fuel is a cropper for all the reasons noted previously by others.

Mr. Lee
Reply to  Steve Z
March 21, 2021 3:23 pm

The pressures and the corrosion are problematic. I suspect, if used at all, it would be reserved for transport where batteries would not suffice. Like lorries, for which the extra expense would represent a smaller proportion of overall cost.
I agree, useless for CO2, but if there were an economical way to put an end to belching diesel trucks, I wouldn’t object, as I do not enjoy driving behind them. If methane and hydrogen wish to duke it out, I say have at it.

Old Retired Guy
Reply to  Mr. Lee
March 21, 2021 5:55 pm

Not sure where you live, but diesel engines in the US haven’t belched in decades.

Reply to  Old Retired Guy
March 22, 2021 11:56 am

Yeah…generally, they just fart now. And it stinks. 🙂

Reply to  Steve Z
March 21, 2021 6:23 pm

In the future, H2 could be produced over night by Thorium Molten Salts Reactors. Today, H2 Fuel Cell powered equipment is mostly a niche business…a few demonstrator cars…some commercial drones…some fork lifts in warehouses….some lawnmower equipment …Norway had an H2 station to explode not long ago. The H2 Fuel Cell is superior to batteries for quick refill and range but not cost. Elon Musk called fuel cells “fool cells”…but that is probably a good omen for fuel cells.

March 21, 2021 11:29 am

I have worked on LNG vessels – the safest in the world.
Wild unicorns wouldn’t get me on one that transported hydrogen.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 21, 2021 4:06 pm

Useless not to forget.

Last edited 24 days ago by Krishna Gans
March 21, 2021 11:38 am

If we generate electricity from fossil fuels we do not need to store the energy in the form hydrogen. The energy is readily available when we need it in a usable form (fossil fuels) and electricity generation can be adjusted at will to meet demand. Why fix something that isn’t broke?

Highly explosive and corrosive Nitrogen is not a user friendly store of energy even for wind and solar.

All this nonsense to reduce co2 which is a benign clear odourless plant food that has no impact on the climate due to it’s scarcity (0.04% of the atmosphere).

On a side note, super critical boilers eradicate coal emissions. Please watch Friends of Science video Burning Questions and read the associated report.

John Francis
Reply to  S.K.
March 21, 2021 12:33 pm

Replace the word Nitrogen with Hydrogen, surely

john K. Sutherland.
March 21, 2021 11:43 am

Another, thermodynamically-challenged project. Only super-idiots could dream this up.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  john K. Sutherland.
March 21, 2021 12:15 pm

Or, super-greedy, morally-challenged d-bags.

March 21, 2021 12:00 pm

None of this even addresses the issue of managing hydrogen safely. The materials and transportation and storage of hydrogen requires tremendous energy expenditures. Steels, pressure vessels, refueling are all huge challenges requiring energy to produce the equipment required.

Reply to  Rob_Dawg
March 21, 2021 12:48 pm

Rest assured that DOE requires that safety considerations are addressed. I don’t disagree with your points concerning energy expenditures and expenses related to materials, but I think it’s an exaggeration to call the challenges “huge.” Uneconomic, yes, and to the extent that is your point, then I concur.

However, any one of us posting here could go to a welding supply store tomorrow and purchase a CGA 350 regulator and hydrogen cylinders of various sizes under pressures of over 100 atm. The point being that some infrastructure for consumer purchase and safe use of hydrogen exists.

Reply to  Scissor
March 21, 2021 1:26 pm

> I don’t disagree with your points concerning energy expenditures and expenses related to materials, but I think it’s an exaggeration to call the challenges “huge.” Uneconomic, yes, and to the extent that is your point, then I concur.

Thank you for expanding. My comment combined both uneconomic and huge. Hydrogen embritlement and leakage are still serious issues even for laboratory conditions. Commercial use safety is in my opinion a “huge” technical/engineering challenge. Antistatic refueling stations might require the consumer to drop off the vehicle and leaving the process to technicians.

Reply to  Rob_Dawg
March 21, 2021 1:46 pm

Consumers are already refueling their H2 vehicles at various fueling stations using standardized fittings.

The entry level Toyota hydrogen fuel cell vehicle accepts hydrogen up to about 10,000 psi and holds about 5 kg of H2. It has good range but costs about $50k and its small. Clearly, it’s not very economical from a consumer perspective.

I’d rather have a working diesel fuel cell vehicle. It could have all of the torque of a Tesla with all of the range and fueling speed advantages of a diesel.

Reply to  Scissor
March 21, 2021 11:18 pm

I’m looking at buying a 400W propane fuel cell, which also puts out 1200W of thermal heat. Be great to run my Starlink internet dishy and Sat TV off grid while heating the RV camper. A 30 pounder would run about 4-5 days, so expensive but better efficiency than a 5 Hp gas Honda and a lot quieter. Combined with some rooftop solar, can go remote camping in comfort for an extended period with all the comforts of the big smoke.

Kit P
Reply to  Scissor
March 21, 2021 5:51 pm

Rest assured that DOE requires that safety considerations are addressed. 

When it comes to safety, DOE has a terrible safety culture at least compared to the USN and commercial nuclear power.

DOE used to make nuclear weapons. Now they they mainly are involved with cleanup of weapons reactors. When specifying handling high level nuclear waste, DOE failed to specify seismic requirements. This was a billion dollar mistake.

Many years ago I was working for GE nuclear. There was a disagreement between me and another engineer about what version of the nuclear code to use. We went to a third party to settle the dispute. We were both wrong. That power plant was built before there was a nuclear code.

The point here is that new technology has a learning curve. Good engineering practices turn into codes and standards.

The moment a hydrogen fuel car shows up on my residential street, I will be down at the courthouse getting an injunction to have the car taken to a corn field where it can not kill people. Attached will be a simple calculation showing how a small leak can result in a concentration resulting in a detonation. I will reference Chemical Safety Board investigations of fatal

I was leading a hazards analysis team on a system with hydrogen in it. One part of the system was maintained above the detonation limit by keeping oxygen out and another kept it below by dilution with ventilation.

I asked ‘what if’ power is lost. The operators looked at me and said we routinely turn off the power to change the filters. The process line was shut down and expert in calculating the effects of a detonation. A blowout panel was installed to direct the force away from people.

There are things you can not allow in a residential setting.

Aleksandr Zhitomirskiy
March 21, 2021 12:01 pm

When coal is gasified to produce hydrogen, CO2 is still formed, as well as the toxic gas CO: Burning hydrogen produces the greenhouse gas H2O. What are the advantages of the proposed technology to combat the “greenhouse effect”?

Reply to  Aleksandr Zhitomirskiy
March 21, 2021 2:02 pm

Bear in mind that water is consumed to make hydrogen from CO, and released when the hydrogen is recombined in a fuel cell. No net gain.

March 21, 2021 12:01 pm

The World’s only working carbon capture plant:
Dakota Gasification Company

March 21, 2021 12:43 pm

Most big towns in the UK used to have these production facilities. They produced “Town Gas”, by doing pretty much what is described here – hating coal to create a mixture of gasses, mostly hydrogen but also a fair amount of carbon monoxide.

There are still a few abandoned gasometers around – large cylindrical things, that would be used to store the gas and even out the flow over time.

With the discovery of natural gas in the North Sea, this form of production was abandoned, and a large scal operation undertaken to convert gas appliances from town to natural gas (mostly changing pressure regulators and jets).

The coal used became “coke” – chunks of porous, fairly light “cinders”, still containing a good amount of carbon. It burned hot (but was hard to light). Got used in forges and the like, as well as night watchmen’s “braziers” used to keep them warm at night.

I wonder how they intend to filter out the CO? Or maybe they just don’t mention that, which could cause quite a few deaths, as town gas did, and what they intend to do with the coke?

John Chism
Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 21, 2021 3:53 pm

Why should anything be a waste product in any energy production? CO2 has multiple uses and is able to be separated during Fossil Fuels electric energy plants and pressurized into tanks. CO can be separated and converted to Soot used in industries for multiple purposes and compressed Oxygen. While energy has to be used to separate them into their most useful forms, it creates numerous marketable byproducts including pure water. Gases only need stages of filters that trap the largest molecules first and redirects them as the next smaller molecules go through the filter to the next smaller filter, etc.

Reply to  Philip
March 21, 2021 1:49 pm

CO is converted to more hydrogen by the water gas shift reaction.

CO + H2O ⇌ CO2 + H2

CO2 is typically removed by amine scrubbing.

Reply to  Philip
March 22, 2021 1:55 am

“and what they intend to do with the coke?”

The ‘woke’ lot will grind it into fine powder, mix with flour/bicarb & snort it.

March 21, 2021 12:55 pm

Anything that alters atmospheric composition will simply cause a thermally neutralising effect via an adjustment of the convective overturning system that will be indiscernible compared to natural variability.
All a pointless waste of time and money.

March 21, 2021 1:15 pm

That deserves the Jimmy Carter Award for Energy Misdirection Plays.

March 21, 2021 1:24 pm

Burning hydrogen to generate water vapour, doesn’t that mean more rain, more floods? And I thought H2O was a bigger greenhouse has than CO2. We’ll all be ruined!

Reply to  Robber
March 21, 2021 1:50 pm

Keep in mind that fossil fuel powered vehicles already form water in addition to CO2.

Chris Hanley
March 21, 2021 1:25 pm

“… new CO2 belching coal plants …”, an ironic comment maybe?
Belching smoke sure, but to ‘belch’ implies discharging something unpleasant akin to ‘vomit’.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Chris Hanley
March 21, 2021 1:49 pm

The word “spewing” works even better in terms of emotional content.

March 21, 2021 1:48 pm

I get it. You make the hydrogen (or ammonia) somewhere that doesn’t care about CO2 and ship it somewhere that does. Virtue signalling, wealth redistribution, and profits, profits, profits for all.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 21, 2021 11:31 pm

No, just keep what you are doing in Oz and within 10-15 years, you will be a developing nation. I guess that is the point of this post, which I mostly agree with, although there already is an industrial hydrogen requirement for a lot of current industry to make 1001 things.

Nick Schroeder
March 21, 2021 1:58 pm

“smoke belching”
Between ESPs and fabric filters there are not or certainly should not be any “smoke belching” coal plants.

Gunga Din
March 21, 2021 2:16 pm

First of all, there is no need to reduce Man’s CO2 from fossil fuel or just breathing. It does no real harm.

Second of all, is this another “answer” to CAGW that just needs more cash to research and develop the future answer?
(Kinda’ like windmills just need a future battery development to become practical.)

Mr. Lee
March 21, 2021 3:12 pm

Useless when it comes to CO2 goals. But, perhaps has merit in cities where local air pollution from motor vehicles is an issue. You are paying for the drop in efficiency, but for air quality, the price might be worth it to some.

Dave Fair
March 21, 2021 4:02 pm

The first carry vessel has been named Hindenberg.

old engineer
March 21, 2021 4:03 pm

“With these awards, we’re leaning on some of America’s most brilliant minds to turn these ideas into real solutions—at the same time creating clean-energy jobs and reducing pollution in the air we breathe.”

Imagine, it takes “America’s most brilliant minds” to do something the UK did 60 years ago with “Town Gas”. Doesn’t say much for what politicians know about the quality of American science.

March 21, 2021 4:47 pm

Actually, this is pretty good for me. Based on their logic, I can now claim the my three (very nice) ICE cars are, in fact, GREEN. Yes, they use gasoline, and thus produce CO2, but I plan to use a green, carbon-free, fuel whenever it is available and compatible with my vehicles, and is no more expensive, mile for mile, than gasoline.

Developing that new fuel, of course, is someone else’s problem.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  jtom
March 22, 2021 5:34 am

L like your thinking. I have two SUVs and a muscle car so I am a paragon of green virtue.

March 22, 2021 1:59 am

At the DOE site, there are explanations of the production of hydrogen by two methods-
(1) Steam-Methane reforming,
(2) Partial Oxidation.
In both processes, DOE claims there is only “….a relatively small amount of carbon dioxide” produced in the 2 processes.
As I have just watched an explanation on ABC news media in Australia on the full production process for hydrogen from its beginning to delivery via ship to Asia (accompanied by an assurance that the new business will not permit CO2 emissions at scale,absent CCS or similar),you will appreciate my confusion.
What volume of CO2 is produced in manufacturing Hydrogen?

Reply to  Herbert
March 22, 2021 4:50 am

The last paragraph of your reference states “Petroleum use and emissions are lower than for gasoline-powered internal combustion engine vehicles. The only product from an FCEV tailpipe is water vapor but even with the upstream process of producing hydrogen from natural gas as well as delivering and storing it for use in FCEVs, the total greenhouse gas emissions are cut in half and petroleum is reduced over 90% compared to today’s gasoline vehicles.”

Richard A. O'Keefe
March 22, 2021 2:09 am

You can’t make this stuff up. Nope, April 1 is ten days away. Have these clowns NO conception of basic physics and chemistry, or are they deliberately mocking us? As a way to pump large sums of money out of the pockets of imbeciles, it’s brilliant. As a serious proposal for global energy production, it’s so far past sanity that it couldn’t see it if the Hubble telescope were the rear view mirror. How very DARE they!

March 24, 2021 2:56 am

Hydrogen is a road to nowhere

March 24, 2021 3:00 am

Hydrogen leaks could destroy the atmosphere’s ozone layer.

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