SMH: “If green hydrogen becomes competitive … gas prices will plummet”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The Sydney Morning Herald thinks Australia’s Scott Morrison is making a big mistake, ignoring the imminent collapse in fossil fuel prices due to low cost green hydrogen.

Crunch time looming for Morrison on climate as the world looks to Australia to act

By Marian Wilkinson
July 12, 2021 — 8.02am

Since last December, Scott Morrison has crab-walked towards a net zero by 2050 target. But he is coming under serious pressure from Australia’s most important allies to put up a credible 2030 target in Glasgow. Morrison has been unwilling to do that.

Morrison’s determination to stick to Australia’s weak, increasingly implausible 2030 target was thrust into the international spotlight at Biden’s climate summit in April. The prime minister was one of 40 world leaders, including Xi Jinping, who attended the virtual gathering. It was designed to vault the United States into a leadership role in the global climate negotiations, and in his opening remarks Biden made it absolutely clear he wanted deep global emissions cuts by 2030. “This is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of a climate crisis,” Biden said. “We must try to keep the Earth’s temperature to an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

It’s difficult to imagine the United States winning the long-term strategic competition with China if we cannot lead the renewable energy revolution,” Blinken told reporters. “Right now, we’re falling behind. China is the largest producer and exporter of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, electric vehicles. It holds nearly a third of the world’s renewable energy patents. If we don’t catch up, America will miss the chance to shape the world’s climate future in a way that reflects our interests and values, and we’ll lose out on countless jobs for the American people.”

Australia risks being overrun in this clean energy race. If green hydrogen becomes competitive with natural gas by the end of the decade, the oil and gas industry will react by slashing prices, and Australian liquefied natural gas prices will plummet. As Fortescue Metals’ chairman Twiggy Forrest put it colourfully in his Boyer lecture, the result will be “like a knife fight in a telephone box”.

For now, the Morrison government is making a strategic bet that the energy transformation won’t happen this fast. It does not believe that China, let alone India, will be able to radically shift course this decade. This will put the 1.5 Celsius plans out of reach and curb the enthusiasm in developed countries for ambitious targets to cut emissions.

Read more: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/crunch-time-looming-for-morrison-on-climate-as-the-world-looks-to-australia-to-act-20210706-p587dc.html

Natural gas – you poke a hole in the ground and capture the gas which gushes out.

Green hydrogen, you build expensive solar arrays, use uncompetitively expensive electricity to crack water, capture and compress the hydrogen. Or you use steam reforming, in which water mixed with coal or natural gas is heated and pressurised so much it burns, releasing vast quantities of CO2 which somehow have to be sequestered.

And then there is the difficulty of actually handling pure hydrogen – the cost of containing a gas with molecules so small, only high spec pipes can contain it, the risk of handling a gas which ignites easily over an extraordinary range of conditions, the danger of working with a gas whose flame burns so hot it is all but invisible.

I’m guessing we might have to wait a little longer than 2030, for green hydrogen to become price competitive.

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Scissor
July 12, 2021 2:01 pm

That would be great, just not likely.

Reply to  Scissor
July 12, 2021 4:17 pm

If metallic hydrogen becomes competitive, green H2 prices would plummet?

Reply to  Anti-griff
July 12, 2021 5:25 pm

Cue the unicorn farts and fairy dust limitless energy solutions as well.

Anon
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 12, 2021 9:37 pm

For the past decade we have suffered through a surfeit of articles that promised that solar and wind would be cheaper than coal, while watching our energy prices double and our politicians call for a carbon border tax to stanch the flow of businesses to non-green nations.

This is simply a REDUX of that same strategy, with the griff types chock full of alternate energy corporations promises of an inexpensive energy paradise just around the corner. (sigh)

bill Johnston
Reply to  Anon
July 13, 2021 5:58 am

And the subsidies continue to flow.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Anon
July 13, 2021 8:43 am

I remember when nuclear was going to be too cheap to meter….

kwinterkorn
Reply to  Anti-griff
July 12, 2021 6:11 pm

We have recently seen evidence of what can happen when a lithium battery-powered car catches fire.

By all means, let’s find out what happens when a hydrogen-powered car catches fire! (Preferably in the lab with crash dummies.)

Greg
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 13, 2021 5:51 am

If anyone bought an electric car, it’s too late. They already have brain damage !

Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 13, 2021 7:01 am

Was Biden nearby?

Gerry, England
Reply to  kwinterkorn
July 13, 2021 6:34 am

I doubt it will burn for very long before a very loud bang and pressure wave occurs. We used hydrogen gas to derive the maximum explosion pressure inside flameproof enclosures to set the 1.5x static water pressure test.

Mason
Reply to  kwinterkorn
July 13, 2021 10:53 am

In order to have enough H2 onboard, the H2 has to be stored at very high pressures. H2 at high pressures will self ignite when a leak occurs. It burns with an invisible flame making it difficult for rescuers to see. They will also become victims during rescue operations if not properly trained.

Jim Whelan
Reply to  kwinterkorn
July 13, 2021 12:26 pm

Stored energy is dangerous stuff, no matter how it is retained.

Reply to  Anti-griff
July 14, 2021 6:31 am

Metallic hydrogen – the perfect fuel if you happen to live near the core of Jupiter.

LdB
Reply to  Scissor
July 12, 2021 6:40 pm

We could add

If renewables were 24/7 and cheap then fossil fuel prices would fall.
If cold fusion was real and cheap then fossil fuel prices would fall.
If nuclear fusion was controllable and cheap fossil fuel prices would fall.
If we could harness unicorns farts and it was cheap fossil fuel prices would fall.

They left out the vital equation of “realistically how likely”?

Editor
Reply to  LdB
July 12, 2021 11:32 pm

Hark! What’s that noise? Its the squealing of western lemmings as they race towards the economic cliff, below which lies the rocks of social instability.

But surely there’s another sound? Ah! That would be the sound of the Chinese laughing.

tonyb

Greg
Reply to  tonyb
July 13, 2021 5:54 am

The Chinese are participating in the international meetings to plant the signposts to the cliff edge. They have promised to continue the export all the sign posts we need.

dk_
July 12, 2021 2:06 pm

“If green hydrogen becomes competitive … gas prices will plummet”
Backwards, since hydrogen will have to be cheaper than natural gas in order to become competitive. And ignorant, since even the “greenest” hydrogen depends on the easy availability of cheap gas, oil, and coal.

DonM
Reply to  dk_
July 12, 2021 2:56 pm

“If green hydrogen becomes competitive (without subsidies)… monkeys will fly out of my butt (without encouragement).

Bryan A
Reply to  DonM
July 12, 2021 10:03 pm

You might consider investing in
https://www.antimonkeybutt.com
Justin Case

Jim Whelan
Reply to  dk_
July 13, 2021 12:28 pm

And if you use natural gas as the basis for the hydrogen you clearly inflate the natural gas price as well as the hydrogen price. Not to mention that are simply throwing away most of the latent energy of the natural gas.

dk_
Reply to  Jim Whelan
July 13, 2021 7:47 pm

Agreed. Inverted reasoning and complete ignorance is the standard for fake science journalism in traditional media.

Mr.
July 12, 2021 2:12 pm

I can’t understand why the Aussie government doesn’t just pull a number out of its arse and announce it as its “net zero CO2 emissions target by 2050”.

Just like every other country has to date, with no credible plans or means to actually achieve anything.

After all, citizens all around the world would not be able to say who has promised what by when when it comes to “carbon reductions”

Last edited 3 months ago by Mr.
Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 12, 2021 3:18 pm

Yeahbut…

This government won’t be here, at least the present members, in 2030. They’ll be living it up as ‘consultants’ adding juicy private sector dollars to their already fat and juicy parliamentary pension tax dollars.

Last edited 3 months ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Streetcred
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 12, 2021 3:35 pm

Interesting, that “duty of care” schtik … what about economic management?

LdB
Reply to  Streetcred
July 12, 2021 6:49 pm

Australia does not give you a right to litigate the government we don’t have a “bill of rights” so you then have to find an attack vector under the constitution. Australian government expressly retains the right to impose it’s will on you as those in covid lockdown know all to well.

The most obvious legal attack would be human rights bill Australia signed up for, but it only signed the original and that has very limited scope as refugees we have held in offshore detention have found out thru numerous court challenges.

markx
Reply to  Mr.
July 12, 2021 4:29 pm

Yes, exactly what needs to be done to get the b******* off our backs.
They didn’t accept the anti tree clearing efforts as helping, so obviously some other pointless symbolic gesturing is expected.

willem post
July 12, 2021 2:15 pm

H2 competitive?

If frogs had wings, they would not bump their asses so hard.

Here is an excerpt of an article regarding the H2 economy being highly unlikely

THE HYDROGEN ECONOMY WILL BE HIGHLY UNLIKELY
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-hydrogen-economy

As part of the quest of having energy sources that produce near-zero CO2 emissions, energy systems analysts have looked at hydrogen as one such source. They see hydrogen as a possible fuel for transportation.

In California, the hydrogen economy movement has received support, in the form of subsidies and demonstration projects, from the state government and environmental groups, often supported and financed by prominent Hollywood actors.

Current Hydrogen Production: Hydrogen is used by the chemical, oil and gas industries for many purposes. The US produces about 11 million short tons/y, or 19958 million kg/y.
 
At present, about 95% of the H2 production is by the steam reforming process using fossil fuels as feedstock, mostly low-cost natural gas. This process emits CO2. 

Hydrogen for Transportation: Proponents of H2-powered fuel cell vehicles, FCVs, in California think the hydrogen economy will be the future and a good place to start to reduce CO2 emissions from internal combustion vehicles, ICVs, would be to have near-zero-emission vehicles.
 
Here are examples comparing the fuel cost/mile of an FC light duty vehicle, an E10-gasohol IC vehicle, and an EV:
 
– Honda Clarity-FCX, using electrolytic H2 in a fuel cell, mileage about 68 mile/kg, or 14.8 c/mile, at a price of $10/kg at a fueling station in California. About $7/kg is electricity cost, and $3/kg is station cost. The H2 is not taxed. The average commercial electricity rate in California is 13.41c/kWh, which ranks 7th in the nation and is 32.9% greater than the national average rate of 10.09 c/kWh.

http://www.airproducts.com/Company/news-center/2017/03/0306-air-products-california-fueling-stations-offering-hydrogen-below-$10-per-kilogram.aspx
http://www.electricitylocal.com/states/california/los-angeles/

– Honda Accord-LX, using E10-gasohol, mileage about 30 mile/gal, or 8.3 c/mile, at a price of $2.50/gal at a gas station in California; this price includes taxes, surcharges and fees.

– Tesla Model S, using 0.38 kWh/mile, includes charging and vampire losses of batteries, at user meter, or 7.6 c/mile, at a price of 20 c/kWh at user meter; this price includes taxes, surcharges and fees.

pochas94
Reply to  willem post
July 12, 2021 2:48 pm

The convenience of hydrogen and not having to haul thousands of pounds of batteries everywhere you go will weigh more heavily than you think. Especially to truckers, who would rather haul payload than thousands of pounds of batteries.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  pochas94
July 12, 2021 3:20 pm

If you know anything about hydrogen, you’ll know that it’s anything but convenient.

Last edited 3 months ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Joao Martins
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 13, 2021 6:07 am

Yes!

The keyword is “Booom!”

Carguy Pete
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 13, 2021 7:45 am

A hydrogen fuel cell cannot be started below 14F. If the residual water is not cleared from the fuel cell after use, it will freeze and break the cell.
It take some rare metals to make the fuel cell and they degrade over time/use.

buggs
Reply to  Carguy Pete
July 13, 2021 10:01 am

Below 14F? Yeesh, no future in that for much of Canuckistan.

MarkW
Reply to  pochas94
July 12, 2021 3:36 pm

Instead of thousands of pounds of batteries, their are going to have to haul thousands of pounds of super strong tanks in order to hold that highly pressurized hydrogen gas around. Either that or they are going to have to burn most of that hydrogen in order to keep the rest at cryogenic temperatures.

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 12, 2021 4:58 pm

The byproduct of burning hydrogen is H2O, which is much more of a greenhouse gas than CO2.

Anthony Banton
Reply to  noaaprogrammer
July 13, 2021 1:08 am

Except the atmosphere can only accept evaporation into it commensurate with H2O’s partial pressure … else we’d be saturated because 70% of the planet is covered in water.

willem post
Reply to  Anthony Banton
July 13, 2021 2:37 am

There could be more rain in smoggy urban areas, if H2 vehicles

Loren C. Wilson
Reply to  Anthony Banton
July 13, 2021 5:00 am

Most populated areas have plenty of capacity to absorb more moisture into the air. Houston in the summer averages 70% relative humidity during the heat of the day. It is 100% humidity currently.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Anthony Banton
July 13, 2021 12:09 pm

So what?

Yer still driving an over-priced, heavy bomb.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 12, 2021 8:58 pm

A much more convenient means of storing hydrogen was developed during the early days of inertial confinement fusion research. Glass microballoons were placed in an autoclave pressurized with hydrogen (actually, deuterium and tritium) to several thousand psi. At high temperature, the hydrogen diffused into the microballoons. When the charge was cooled to room temperature, still at high pressure, the diffusion in either direction came to a halt.

These loaded microballoons were to be used as targets for extremely short, high energy laser pulses, which would compress them to a high enough density to result in nuclear fusion. I toured the KMS Fusion lab in 1976, in search of material for an article on the subject. It’s the one an only time I’ve ever walked through a gigantic laser. KMS pioneered all of the inertial confinement target technology.

This has been demonstrated as a hydrogen storage technology for portable use. One has, essentially, what appears to be a fine powder, but is actually a huge number of ~20 micron diameter glass microballoons, filled to very high pressure with hydrogen. Heating them causes the hydrogen to diffuse out through the balloon walls, where it can be used either in a fuel cell or an internal or external combustion engine. Whatever conversion technology is used, there is always enough waste heat, once the engine is running, to heat subsequent microballoons to the required temperature for liberating hydrogen.

In the event of an accident, the worst that happens is that a lot of white powder is scattered on the pavement.

It really is a nifty technology.

Mike Lowe
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
July 13, 2021 3:24 am

That must have seemed very promising in 1976. What happened? Were there problems you are not mentioning?

Jim Whelan
Reply to  Mike Lowe
July 13, 2021 12:35 pm

The intent was nuclear fusion, not hydrogen storage so it probably went away with the discovery that pulsed laser fusion of hydrogen in glass beads wouldn’t reach break even.

My guess is also that it’s not as practical a storage method as claimed.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Jim Whelan
July 14, 2021 9:46 pm

No one ever claimed it as a storage mechanism. It was one, but no one ever tried to implement it as such for motor vehicles. It was predicted by models, and then demonstrated experimentally as a safe hydrogen storage and retrieval method. But there was no big government funded push to develop it, so no one was interested.

There are always problems with any engineering development. I’ve been through scores of them, most of which would have been regarded as “simple.” But there are fundamental figures of merit which indicate whether a technology has promise. This one does. It was just never pursued.

Last edited 3 months ago by Michael S. Kelly
RetiredEE
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 15, 2021 12:54 pm

There are many issues with Hydrogen that have not been mentioned. It can burn or explode has been mentioned but an ignited leak may burn and not be detected easily by eye or by feel until you are actually in contact with the flame. Hydrogen flames are detected by IR sensors so although explosions are impressive the flames are serious hazards. (Link Below) Another firefighting nightmare.

Another issue is platinum (and other reactive materials) will catalyze hydrogen and initiate an explosion. I have encountered that with platinum RDT sensors that use platinum alloy leads. An explosion occurred in a hydrogen reforming system when a fault allowed hydrogen to contact a RTD based temperature sensor. Someone with platinum jewelry could initiate an explosion.

Oh yes, another issue is hydrogen embrittlement of metals. You can’t just pipe hydrogen through steel pipes under high pressure without serious risks of stress failures. I don’t see discussion on this issue.

https://ifpmag.mdmpublishing.com/hydrogen-and-fire-safety-detecting-the-most-flammable-element-on-earth/

Punta Gorda
Reply to  willem post
July 13, 2021 12:12 am

Compare the energy density on a by volume rate between Liquid or gaseous hydrogen vs Deisel or Gasoline.

Not gonna happen.

And that’s not even getting into the hydrogen embrittlement problem of handling systems.

Last edited 3 months ago by Punta Gorda
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  willem post
July 13, 2021 1:46 pm

If, at the snap of one’s fingers, hydrogen were to replace fossil fuels for transportation, the side effect of increased urban relative humidity would have everyone wanting CO2 back!

Rod Evans
July 12, 2021 2:17 pm

When hydrogen is lower cost than natural gas, I will be converted to the new climate alarmists religion.
Until then I will stick to believing in engineering principles and the scientific method.
The only way hydrogen could be made to appear lower cost than natural gas, would be to impose artificial price increases to NG such as punitive tax or carbon price penalties. While at the same time using state taxes, no doubt from fossil fuel tax revenues to grant aid the hydrogen producers.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Rod Evans
July 12, 2021 3:03 pm

That’s what leftards mean by competitive.

To bed B
July 12, 2021 2:21 pm

The way this works is the media inundate us with the need to put hydrogen on a equal market footing ie. tax the crap out of natural gas and subsidise hydrogen. You wait and see. With the correct government in power, fossil fuels will be uncompetitive in the market in 10 years time, and that is before all the technical problems will be ironed out. When they are, you will be paid to heat your home! A bit like how electricity prices are sometimes negative in Australia because of renewables. Extrapolate to 2030, and we will be billing electricity companies for using their electricity. Its going to be marvelous.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  To bed B
July 12, 2021 3:03 pm

🤣

Coeur de Lion
July 12, 2021 2:29 pm

The first serious hindenburg will cool enthusiasm.

dk_
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
July 12, 2021 4:01 pm

How many lithium battery fires does it take to significantly dampen enthusiasm for the most expensive and polluting form of electrical storage?

Hindenburg wasn’t the problem; the whole LTA transport idea is full of holes!

Gregory Woods
Reply to  dk_
July 12, 2021 4:21 pm

Question: With the danger of battery fires for EVs, will they be allowed to use tunnels at all?

polski
Reply to  Gregory Woods
July 12, 2021 5:43 pm

I wondered the same thing, Google search didn’t just answer as you would think. They went right into Tesla chargers. Went to Eurotunnel site and found that vehicles fueled by compressed gas not allowed. Didn’t say anything about electric vehicles.

dk_
Reply to  Gregory Woods
July 12, 2021 5:55 pm

Did you ever wonder why lithium batteries are allowed on aircraft?

LdB
Reply to  dk_
July 12, 2021 6:55 pm

You obviously know nothing of flying have you ever left your actual couch?

Australian Law on it
https://www.casa.gov.au/standard-page/travelling-safely-batteries

Anything over 100Wh needs approval and must be in cargo bin and you can’t carry a spare of any size. Anything over 160Wh must go in declared dangerous goods cargo.

Sometimes you need to check you ideas and what you think.

Last edited 3 months ago by LdB
dk_
Reply to  LdB
July 12, 2021 7:23 pm

Perhaps you had better read my comment again. I was working professionally on military and civilian aircraft systems for quite some time, and from twenty through about five years ago there was very heated (pun is in there) discussion about allowing even small lithium and other flammable batteries on board military and civilian aircraft, as cargo, in weapon and avionics systems, and in hand-carried phones and laptops. They are a flight safety risk even in the form you carry on your cell phone, and less than 100wh is no guarantee of safety.

Metal fires are not easily fought in aircraft.

Lithium in even small quantities is not far from thermite — which was the other component in the Hindenburg disaster. They would have been probably quite fine if they hadn’t painted the exterior cloth with layers of iron oxide alternating with powdered aluminum.

Check your own assumptions. If you never wondered why there is a 100wh limit, and why laptops, cell phones, electronic games, and portable CPAP machines are allowed on airlines it is because of an airline concession to electronics manufacturers and their flying customers.

And no, if it is at all avoidable, I do not fly anywhere, anymore.

Last edited 3 months ago by dk_
Hasbeen
Reply to  LdB
July 12, 2021 9:41 pm

I play with remote controlled battery powered model aircraft. Freight on most components is negligible. LiPo batteries are different. The special shipping requirements for them in air freight is so expensive, the freight cost to ship them from Hong Kong is greater than the price of the batteries.

dk_
Reply to  LdB
July 12, 2021 10:47 pm

Just because I felt like looking, here is the FAA lab test on several different kinds of consumer electronic batteries https://fire.tc.faa.gov/pdf/TC-16-17.pdf
Note that single cell batteries were tested, and all were able to be tested to thermal runaway (note even button-cell batteries). Thermal runaway happened between 116.5 and 142.5 degrees C, and most of the batteries didn’t come close to the 100Wh limit quoted above.

100Wh would make more than 10 of my cell phone’s replacement batteries.

It turns out that the flight limit in the U.S. doesn’t seem to apply to checked baggage, but to carry on.

“Lithium batteries with more than 100 watt hours may be allowed in carry-on bags with airline approval. One spare battery, not exceeding 300 watt hours, or two spare batteries, not exceeding 160 watt hours each, are permitted in carry-on bags.”

…from TSA at https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/lithium-batteries-more-100-watt-hours.

And in late 2019, unable to avoid a cross-continent flight, I wasn’t quizzed about li electronic batteries in checked luggage. I was asked about carry-on devices, but honestly didn’t know the capacity of any, and all of it passed through the security check in for both out and return flights. I know they didn’t check closely.

Ariadaeus
Reply to  dk_
July 12, 2021 7:36 pm

A fatal UPS air crash due to Li batteries. Pax aircraft are not permitted to carry Li batteries.

https://www.flyingmag.com/news/ups-747-crash-highlights-lithium-battery-danger/

Last edited 3 months ago by Ariadaeus
dk_
Reply to  Ariadaeus
July 12, 2021 8:32 pm

Agreed: not permitted as cargo on pax ac in large quantities, or sometimes subject to strict mass limits. Little if any attention is paid to batteries for consumer devices either carried or in checked luggage.

On military aircraft lithium battery powered devices are considered under the same safety regulations as other flammable metals and munitions.

Eric Stevens
Reply to  Ariadaeus
July 12, 2021 9:19 pm

I believe Boeing 787s use lithium batteries instead of an auxilliary power unit. Whatever they use, it caused several fires in the early days of that aircraft’s service.

dk_
Reply to  Eric Stevens
July 12, 2021 9:41 pm

I had not heard of that one. A similar system was proposed for an APU on another military variant Boeing pax aircraft subsystem that I contributed to in a small way. The customer refused that design, and insisted on a larger turbine engined APU instead. The customer was right — the JP-fueled APU was lghter and gave better power across the performance envelope, and later turned out to have less maintenance under an already-supported regime. All in addition to not catching fire quite as easily if “accedentally” shot at.

BSC
Reply to  Eric Stevens
July 13, 2021 3:19 am

Boeing had to design a new fire-proof container to house the batteries.

dk_
Reply to  BSC
July 13, 2021 11:55 am

I didn’t work on the 787 system, BSC, but some other engineering attempts at fire-proofing (itself a questionable concept) eliminated the power/density advantage of lithium. This wasn’t a factor in the system I worked on (above) because the customer rightly didn’t let it get that far on general principles and their own safety regulations. Turned out that there was no weight advantage to li batteries, and nimh would have done just as well at power/weight, but a generator was lighter still.

Mike Lowe
Reply to  dk_
July 13, 2021 3:30 am

I know someone who wanted to import a handicap scooter from Australia to New Zealand with Lithium batteries. The batteries could not be sent by air, but had to be sent by ship as a separate item, probably in a Dangerous Goods container. Doesn’t sound too safe to me!

dk_
Reply to  Mike Lowe
July 13, 2021 12:00 pm

Probably a capacity/weight limit. Large companies charter large capacity charter ships, and sometimes high priced charter air for hazardous cargo. Makes for interesting logistics problem AND for no capitalization of lithium recycling OR disposal: no one wants to get into this headache.

Mike Lowe
Reply to  Gregory Woods
July 13, 2021 3:26 am

…or underground car parks. In our retirement village, there is a large car park in the basement of our multi-storey apartment building. I’m glad I live in a separate villa!

dk_
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 12, 2021 8:36 pm

The point, Eric, I think ought to be that we won’t see much in the way of restrictions until we’re burned badly enough, by H2 or Li, for the news media to notice, or a politician seeks to spread the blame onto someone else.

dk_
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 12, 2021 9:52 pm

With you Eric, but the politicians I was thinking of aren’t elected, but lifetime appointed bureaucrats in service to the party in power. The system is designed so that few of those, if any, will ever have to take the blame for a catastrophic failure. But if one is caught out she/he/it can easily scapegoat someone or something else, real or imaginary.

Ken Irwin
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 12, 2021 11:59 pm

Eric, You said Hydrogen ignites over wide limits.
It ignites at almost any concentration.
It detonates in the range 4% to 74%.
ignition, deflagration and detonation have very specific meanings when it comes to things that go bang!
Hydrogen mostly goes bang.

Mason
Reply to  Ken Irwin
July 13, 2021 11:18 am

Ken, hydrogen stored at high pressure will actually self ignite when it leaks (Joule Thompson coefficient). We had extensive training in the plants where I worked to recognize a leak and avoid it as the fire is invisible. You may be able to hear it but you can’t see it. Most operators carried a wooden stick in front of them as it would quickly start burning.

In one plant with a roof, hydrogen accumulated from a low pressure line under the roof until it ignited and blew the whole roof off.

buggs
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 13, 2021 10:08 am

You haven’t looked very closely at Canada, have you?

Mason
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 13, 2021 11:11 am

Hydrogen is used to cool the turbine generators bearings in large utility plants, typically coal fired. It is a relatively small system with large cooling capability.

rbabcock
July 12, 2021 2:50 pm

What are we going to do with all this corn we grow that won’t be converted to ethanol? There are going to be some really upset farmers.

DonM
Reply to  rbabcock
July 12, 2021 3:02 pm

Its only a little inefficient to convert corn to ethanol to be burned for energy.

So, since inefficiencies don’t matter, we continue the extrapolate the conversion to a hydrogen end, and keep utilizing the corn.

Call it sustainable and Everybody happy.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  DonM
July 12, 2021 3:27 pm

I will yet again repeat the misunderstood facts about ethanol at the 10% blend wall (anything beyond is farm politics). Ethanol additive has two benefits:

  1. It replaced groundwater polluting MTBE, itself replacing toxic TBPb, as an octane enhancer. This is good, more gas per barrel crude.
  2. It is an oxygenate, reducing summer smog. The 10% blendwall was set by premium gas in LA in summer. Most places most seasons use less.

Second, it’s impact on food costs is minimal. In the US, about 42% ‘dry weight’ annual corn harvest goes to ethanol production. But that returns 27% (‘dry weight — <15% moisture) as protein enhanced (from yeast) distillers grain, a protein and roughage enhanced ideal supplemental ruminant feed (dairy, beef). (Remember, cattle make simple carbohydrates from cellulose in their digestive system, so do not need the simple corn carbohydrates the yeast turn into ethanol). On my dairy farm, we cut back planting primary feed alfalfa, increased planting corn, sell it all for ethanol, then buy back the distillers grain to substitute alfalfa. My dairy cows are happier, and so am I financially.

MarkW
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 12, 2021 3:43 pm

MTBE and TBPb were only necessary because they were mandated by government.
Smog has already been taken care of via various pollution control gadgets, especially catalytic converters.
While you are financially better off, everyone who isn’t a farmer is worse off.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  MarkW
July 12, 2021 4:00 pm

They were not mandated. They were desired by the refining industry to extract maximum most valuable gasoline from a barrel of crude. True, EPA got rid of TBPB because of lead pollution. The new industry solution turned out also bad in any leaking underground gasoline storage tank. So EPA did go to ethanol, as explained above. No simple answers to complex problems. But lighten up on ethanol.

RelPerm
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 12, 2021 5:05 pm

Rud,

My memory does not quite jibe with yours…

MBTE has been use for a long time as octane booster. Then EPA enacted a law apx 1990 that required oxygenated fuel during WINTER in some high air pollution cities. Both MBTE and Ethanol were used as competing oxygenators.

But MBTE had a major problem being carcinogenic and showing up in ground water with gasoline storage tank leaks. Attempts to clean air were causing catastrophe with water pollution! MBTE was discreetly discontinued and replaced fully by ethanol as oxygenator.

Then in apx 2005, oxygenated requirements were dropped due primarily to improvement in catalytic converter. However, farm lobby is HUGE-ly effective, and Congress required some use of ethanol in fuel mix to keep corn price high. This carries on today.

MarkW
Reply to  RelPerm
July 12, 2021 5:10 pm

Today it’s being sold as a way to stretch out the US’s petroleum reserves. Despite the fact that it doesn’t.

dk_
Reply to  RelPerm
July 13, 2021 12:32 am

RelPerm

Alcohol in gasoline mandates varied state-to-state, as each began to comply with EPA, or implemented “gasohol” for other reasons.

Summer was when LA needed smog relief, and California state guidance exceded the EPA in the early years.

In the Dakotas alcohol was first combined with gasoline in winter, a couple of years after LA, when it was more important due to environmental conditions, elimination of most fuel line freezing, and rapidly rising gasoline costs were slightly mitigated by adding cheap, “locally” produced denatured alcohol — but the price breaks varied (and still do) state-to-state. The increased octane also helped a little to preserve older vehicles without replacing valve seats, but was hell on some parts of the fuel system and reduced mileage.

My experience in the late 70’s and early 80’s, throughout the U.S. Midwest, was that while introduced in the winter, it soon became available year round, mostly because of consumer price breaks at the pump..

Last edited 3 months ago by dk_
MarkW
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 12, 2021 5:09 pm

You are correct, the feds didn’t specify any particular oxygenizing agent, but they did require that one be added.
They may have helped prior to modern pollution controls, but since then are a waste of money. The only reason why the requirement still exists is because of the lobbying by farm interests.

Mason
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 11:28 am

Missing in the discussion are the elimination of lead as an octane enhancer. I can’t completely remember the steps and the reasons for MTBE but all of the units were nearby. Ammonia, hydrogen, lead additive, methanol and MTBE.

commieBob
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 12, 2021 5:27 pm

Are your dairy cows happier because the distillers grain contains a bit of alcohol?

Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 12, 2021 7:39 pm

Sugar cane is cheaper than corn for ethanol but sugar cane doesn’t grow very well in Iowa. H2 is used primarily in niche businesses to supply fuel cells becuz fuel cells are preferrable to batteries in some applications…….H2 can be stored in metal hydride tanks for more safety. The battle is fuel cells versus batteries and batteries are usually cheaper….and getting an electricity charge is cheaper and more convenient than the H2 “charge”. The fuel cell H2 charge is fast…but not as convenient as electricity. Commercial operaions can purchase larger tanks of H2 and refuel their fork lifts…lawn mowers…drones from the larger tanks.

Mason
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 13, 2021 11:30 am

Rud, are you also a farmkid?

DaveW
Reply to  rbabcock
July 12, 2021 3:08 pm

Convert corn into cows and pigs: aka steaks and bacon.

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  rbabcock
July 12, 2021 3:10 pm

I’ll take a massive subsidy to grow hydrangeas and tell the government it’s a hydrogen farm. It will take them years to catch on.

Thomas Gasloli
Reply to  rbabcock
July 12, 2021 4:56 pm

Maybe they can get a government subsidy to convert the corn ethanol to H2.😀

PS to other comment—more ethanol is required in US gasoline than is needed to eliminate knocking—therefore the excess provides a price support for corn farming and a reduction in mpg.

Gerald Hanner
July 12, 2021 3:00 pm

If aliens land on Earth and bestow us with magic-like technology we can live in luxury.

commieBob
Reply to  Gerald Hanner
July 12, 2021 5:31 pm

What the progress denying left ignores is that we already live in greater luxury than even the kings and emperors of yore could imagine.

Chris Hanley
July 12, 2021 3:04 pm

“… The professor’s [Lesley Hughes] appearance at the British event was just one more line item in Britain’s effort to pull off the world’s most ambitious climate summit yet in Glasgow …”.
Marian is a celebrated journalist and is now extending her oeuvre to pure fiction.

Rud Istvan
July 12, 2021 3:06 pm

Green hydrogen is a myth. Wrote up all the problems in essay Hydrogen Hype in ebook Blowing Smoke. If you want net ‘carbon’ (CO2) reduction given all the hydrogen energy losses involved, you are better off buying a gasoline fueled Toyota Prius hybrid than a ‘green hydrogen’ (produced by renewables) hydrogen fuel cell car.
Electrolysis about 75% efficient. Liquifaction, 65% efficient, or in the alternative high compression about 80% efficient but with range anxiety. PEM fuel cells about 60 percent efficient in operation, much worse when have to keep hot when not in use in cold weather (when they freeze (since the ‘exhaust’ is water), they don’t get going again).

And that is just energy, ignoring all the H2 storage/leakage problems. CTM has provided an apt unicorn image.

R K
Reply to  R K
July 15, 2021 5:19 am

Every commenter should read this link. By two chemical engineers

Zig Zag Wanderer
July 12, 2021 3:11 pm

“If green hydrogen becomes competitive … gas prices will plummet”

And if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle.

Last edited 3 months ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Mr.
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 12, 2021 4:48 pm

These days she doesn’t actually need to have the balls to be an uncle, just ‘identify’ as an uncle.
(no wonder kids are so confused about the world they live in these days 🙁 )

RelPerm
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 12, 2021 5:18 pm

One trip to Trinidad Colorado will make your aunt to uncle dream come true !

Zig Zag Wanderer
July 12, 2021 3:12 pm

“It’s difficult to imagine the United States winning the long-term strategic competition with China if we cannot lead the renewable energy revolution,”

“It’s difficult to imagine the United States winning the long-term strategic competition with China if we cannot lead the renewable energy revolution,”

Fixed it for ya!

Gregory Woods
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 12, 2021 4:26 pm

or even if we just follow it…

Rich Lambert
July 12, 2021 3:19 pm

If and when H2 becomes competitive with natural gas it will be converted into natural gas to reduce storage and transportation costs.

Mr Lee
July 12, 2021 3:35 pm

Marian Wilkinson thinks I should take her seriously when she opines on science and economics.
It would seem Marian Wilkinson is a delusional narcissist….which is typical of the media types.

Last edited 3 months ago by Mr Lee
Chris Hanley
Reply to  Mr Lee
July 12, 2021 5:34 pm

Journalists like Marian merely paraphrase or cut-and-paste press handouts on this topic from ‘trusted’ sources, they don’t analyze critically by seek alternative opinions.
Besides if they were to write anything contrary to the ‘climate crisis’ narrative what would their friends think!

Bruce of Newcastle
July 12, 2021 3:36 pm

LOL. Hydrogen electrolysis takes about 50 kWh per kg of H2 produced. My current electricity bill says I’m paying 34 c/kWh Aussie, which is 25 US c/kWh.

So a kg of H2 would cost US$12.50. Hydrogen calorific value is 143 MJ/kg, so that comes to just over US$87/GJ.

The US natural gas price today is about $3.50/GJ (=$3.75/mmBTU). So the hydrogen would only cost 25 times what natural gas would cost. And that’s just for the electricity. Add on-costs, depreciation and whatnot and it would cost a lot more than even that eye-watering figure.

Which is why most hydrogen producers make hydrogen from natural gas in a reformer.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Bruce of Newcastle
July 12, 2021 4:02 pm

And use it immediately in hydrocracking heavy oil. It really does not store well.

Tom
July 12, 2021 3:39 pm

There is already a hydrogen pipeline system on the gulf cost. Refineries and chemical plats routinely handle high pressure, high purity hydrogen. Do not perpetuate the nonsense than we cannot pipeline hydrogen.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Tom
July 12, 2021 3:58 pm

Hey Tom, You have solved the pipeline ban imposed by Dems on sensible Americans.
Why not change the name of the banned energy pipeline to hydrogen gas pipeline, That way the Dems will endorse it, the Green movement and legal opposition to pipelines will be lifted and when it comes to commissioning the pipeline, simply passing Natural Gas/methane through it will prove it is a hydrogen gas transit system with four hydrogen atoms to every carbon, how could anyone complain or stop it?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Tom
July 12, 2021 4:04 pm

Tom, Please prove your assertion with references. I have been there on business many times. No such high pressure pure hydrogen pipeline exists to my knowledge. I think you are blowing smoke.

Mr.
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 12, 2021 4:50 pm

or blowing something out of a different orifice.

dk_
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 12, 2021 6:07 pm

Rud, I think that it is there, but used exactly as you state in your comment above: for cracking heavy petroleum. It is also produced mostly by steam reforming from natural gas, although there are other feed stocks. The H2 is there, for industrial purposes, and it is already spoken for. Probably not able to scale up very much, so still not in itself a competitive source of portable fuel.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  dk_
July 12, 2021 9:30 pm

Correct
We do the same thing in the oilsands plants in ft McMurray

Need that hydrogen to make nice synthetic oil

Tom
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 13, 2021 2:51 am

I am a chemical engineer with many years of experience working in refineries and worked and lived on the Gulf Coast. Here is some information on Air Products Gulf Coast hydrogen pipelines: 338-12-003-US-air-products-us-gulf-coast-hydrogen-network.pdf They do not provide specs on purity or pressure, but refinery hydrogen demand is for hydrotreating and hydrocracking units where purity is of great importance. Inside refineries, hydrogen is produced by steam methane reforming of natural gas and typically purified using PSA to purities of >99% and then compressed to the operating pressure of such units, anywhere from 500 psi to 3000 psi. You can, of course, get more information by simple internet search, if you are interested.

Mason
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 13, 2021 11:38 am

Rud, having worked in the hydrogen production area on the gulf coast, I can personally attest to said pipeline. In addition to hydrogen direct plants, the ethylene manufacturers also produce high purity hydrogen. Lots of pipelines exist to carry byproduct gas from producer to user.

Tom
Reply to  Tom
July 13, 2021 9:04 am

There are just way to many nit pickers here who really don’t know anything about what they comment on. If you going to dis someone’s comment, then perhaps you should be willing to provide some substantive comments or information was to what is wrong the the comment.

Mason
Reply to  Tom
July 13, 2021 11:51 am

Tom, I think you got plenty of support from those of us who actually knew what you were talking about.

MarkH
July 12, 2021 3:51 pm

as the world looks to Australia to act”

Given the miniscule amount of CO2 that Australia produces, the chances that the world is looking to us to act is zero.

Mr.
Reply to  MarkH
July 12, 2021 4:54 pm

as the world looks to Australia to act – ‘THE GOAT’.

(fixed it for ya . . . )

Gordon A. Dressler
July 12, 2021 3:53 pm

SMH, sure, sure . . .

And if unicorns actually existed, we’d all have a swell ol’ time playing with them.

Got anything else?

James Beaver
July 12, 2021 3:58 pm

H2 is the ‘Houdini molecule’ … it can escape from anything.

Gregory Woods
Reply to  James Beaver
July 12, 2021 4:32 pm

We should have names for all common molecules: CO2 is the God Molecule…

Mason
Reply to  James Beaver
July 13, 2021 11:53 am

James, we used to use it in leak detection to find leaks in equipment, so, yes it is the Houdini molecule, even better than Helium.

John Bell
July 12, 2021 4:22 pm

Who cares about what happens in Oz? (C02 wise) Hardly anyone lives there, compared to China, India, etc. It seems to get outsized attention for its population.

Mr.
Reply to  John Bell
July 12, 2021 5:05 pm

Maybe because it’s an advanced democracy / society / economy that should be representative of other Western nations supposedly capable of charting a rational course through the looney demands of UN-esque unelected, unaccountable governments.

(but alas, it’s not providing an inspiring example 🙁 )

John in Oz
July 12, 2021 4:22 pm

“China is the largest producer and exporter of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, electric vehicles. It holds nearly a third of the world’s renewable energy patents”

Why no mention of the hundreds of coal-fired power plants they are building and their highest in the world carbon (dioxide) footprint?

Davidf
Reply to  John in Oz
July 12, 2021 5:19 pm

They need all those new coal plants to provide the energy to produce all the forecast demand for solar panels mandated by our idiot politicians

Chris
July 12, 2021 4:57 pm

Twiggy Forrest sent PPE equipment to China from Australia at the start of the pandemic. That tells you what his alliances are. In terms of shaping Australia’s future he is the last person you would ever listen to. As for Hydrogen – Scientific American Vol. 295, No. 3, SEPTEMBER 2006SPECIAL ISSUE: ENERGY’S FUTURE: BEYOND CARBON has high hopes for Hydrogen – and I don’t see that much has changed in the last 15 years – so I don’t ever see the technical issues with using Hydrogen as a fuel going away any time soon.

Forrest Gardener
July 12, 2021 5:11 pm

Australia has a proud tradition of disposing of politicians who pledge themselves to change the weather.

John
July 12, 2021 5:39 pm

hydrogen is the magical rainbow
There is a pot of gold at the end of it
I just cant get to it before it has moved

Mike
July 12, 2021 6:45 pm

Crunch time looming for Morrison on climate as the world looks to Australia to act”

Crunch time will come for whoever is in power in 2174

Andy Pattullo
July 12, 2021 6:59 pm

The hydrogen revolution – the Scientology of energy.

Dean
July 12, 2021 8:39 pm

Not to mention a method of transporting energy with a gas which has a terrible specific energy…..

Dennis
July 12, 2021 8:53 pm

Where can I view the green Hydrogen and green Renewable Energy electricity?

Dennis
July 12, 2021 8:56 pm

Did you know that EV technology resulted from a Nano Technology experiment that went wrong?

Now for the same money you get a small car instead of a large four wheel drive that can only under perfect conditions be driven half the distance or less before needing a recharge.

Ed Zuiderwijk
July 12, 2021 9:06 pm

‘If’. Not ‘When’. Answer: never?

old engineer
July 12, 2021 9:22 pm

While the article is about Australian politics and hydrogen fuel, most of the commenters here have chosen write about the problems of hydrogen as a fuel. What they are missing is that hydrogen is being safely used as vehicle fuel everyday in Southern California.

Does hydrogen as fuel have problems? Yes. Is it expensive? Yes. But let’s say the warmistas get their way (God forbid) and we have to move away from hydrocarbon fueled vehicles. Which is a better choice: electric or hydrogen?

Considering all the problems with EV’s that have been brought up here at WUWT, I think a good argument could be made for hydrogen fueled vehicles. I would like to see a more level playing field, without all the government assistance going to electric vehicles. Let the free market choose the winner.

Reply to  old engineer
July 12, 2021 10:06 pm

A free market has already chosen. Answer: liquid septanes, branched octanes, and n-heptanes refined from crude oil. Highest energy density in a safe substrate to fuel modern transporation of all size scales.

Rasa
July 12, 2021 10:47 pm

If.
If my Auntie had balls she would be my uncle…..

Dnalor50
July 12, 2021 11:02 pm

These miraculous solar panels and windmills are going to generate enough power to manufacture themselves. It goes without saying that they’re also going to power our electricity grids 24 by 7. In their spare time they will generate an excess of green hydrogen to do everything else.

July 13, 2021 12:57 am

Hydrogen is a road to nowhere

Rusty
July 13, 2021 3:52 am

Surely it’s easier to make hydrogen from natural gas. /joke

ozspeaksup
July 13, 2021 4:02 am

cheap and available green hydrogen huh?
roflmao!
even the “sperts” on the abc hydrogen promo special recently HAD TO ADMIT they have ZERO working systems outside small demo setups and making them let alone getting them working is years and many billions at least away

Bruce Cobb
July 13, 2021 4:28 am

The Climate Kanuckleheads love to fantasize about “green” energy being “competitive with”, and even “cheaper than” fossil fuels. What they fail to mention is that the only way this could happen is that a huge carbon tax is placed on fossil fuels, likely along with huge subsidies for “green energy”. They then compound their error with highly dangerous and impractical “green” hydrogen. You really can’t fix Stupid.

cedarhill
July 13, 2021 4:39 am

Thus, a Walter Williams lesson: If any product becomes “competitive”, prices will fall due to competition —- except in socialist controlled states. In the socialist state, prices will increase and shortages will occur.

Julian Flood
July 13, 2021 4:47 am

If.

JF

Jim Whelan
Reply to  Julian Flood
July 13, 2021 12:50 pm

if we could only find dilitium crystals

if we could only put wormholes into the interior of stars

if we could just harness all the “dark energy” laying around.

I suggest a perusal of science fiction literature would be as useful as trying to make hydrogen a viable energy transport agent.

David Dibbell
July 13, 2021 4:50 am

We just need to re-brand carbon as the obvious way to stabilize hydrogen for delivering energy in convenient forms, like methane, propane, and higher molecular weight hydrocarbons. Nature showed us how. There are natural deposits of these molecules for now, and in the future when we run low we can make them using non-carbon energy sources like nuclear power.

Roger
July 13, 2021 5:17 am

If gas (petrol) was free, the price at the pump wouldn’t plummet as most of it is tax.

Greg
July 13, 2021 5:48 am

Having generated high quality directional energy such as electricity , the last thing you want to do is convert it, directly or indirectly, into random non directional energy such as heat only to convert it back again: a highly inefficient process.

This is the kind of INSANE waste of energy resources that only makes sense unhinged, traumatised ecolos.

Environmentalists used to insist we stop wasting energy ( and everything thing else ), now they are insisting that we waste as much as we can !!!

They have seriously lost the plot.

Last edited 3 months ago by Greg
Joao Martins
July 13, 2021 6:03 am

“If green hydrogen becomes competitive … ”

What a big “if” !!!

(In Portuguese we have a dictum that is also a kind of tong-twister: “Se cá nevasse fazia-se cá ski”. Roughly translated: if this were a snowy country we could go around skiing)

Last edited 3 months ago by Joao Martins
TonyG
July 13, 2021 8:39 am

So it’s BAD for “green” energy to become competitive?

TallDave
July 13, 2021 9:00 am

also if pigs develop wings massive flocks of sky pigs could lower the Earth’s albedo

Jim Whelan
July 13, 2021 9:59 am

Blinken told reporters. “Right now, we’re falling behind. China is the largest producer and exporter of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, electric vehicles.

None of which China is actually using itself. The more the rest of the world converts to these unreliable and expensive technologies the more likely China will predominate. That’s why they export so much of it.

Mason
July 13, 2021 10:48 am

Having spent a fair amount of time around steam reforming for methanol, hydrogen and ammonia plants, I feel the author shortchanges the CO2 issue. The CO2 from the steam reforming operation is contained in the process and can easily be isolated for whatever process. The equal amount of CO2 generated from the fuel used to drive the reformers is flue gas and like power plants recapture will be a difficult and energy intensive operation.

July 13, 2021 11:25 am

 “If green hydrogen becomes competitive … gas prices will plummet”
And, “When we perfect Fusion our energy problems will be over. “

Jim Whelan
July 13, 2021 12:25 pm

Or you use steam reforming, in which water mixed with coal or natural gas is heated and pressurised so much it burns, releasing vast quantities of CO2 which somehow have to be sequestered.

In other words: you actually burn coal and natural gas but only use the hydrogen portion of the natural gas to do anything useful. What a laugh such as scheme is.

Steve Z
July 13, 2021 12:49 pm

Steam-methane reforming does not release “vast quantities” of CO2, but it releases the same amount of CO2 as simply burning the natural gas.

Steam-methane reforming proceeds in two steps. In the first step, the methane-steam mixture is heated to about 1400 F and reacted catalytically (and endothermically) as follows:

CH4 (methane) + H2O (steam) –> CO + 3 H2

The second step is the exothermic water-shift reaction at about 800 F:

CO + H2O –> CO2 + H2

After the two reaction steps, the CO2 / H2 mixture is separated using pressure-swing adsorption. The overall reaction is

CH4 + 2 H2O –> CO2 + 4 H2

This process is commonly used in petroleum refineries to obtain pure hydrogen used for desulfurization of heavy fuel oils, where the hydrogen is consumed by reaction with sulfur to form H2S.

If the hydrogen is simply burned, the reaction is

4 H2 + 2 O2 –> 4 H2O

The overall net reaction for steam-methane reforming plus burning hydrogen is

CH4 + 2 H2O + 2 O2 –> CO2 + 4 H2O

which is algebraically the same as that to burn methane:

CH4 + 2 O2 –> CO2 + 2 H2O

Since enthalpy is a state function (does not depend on reaction path), the net IDEAL energy yield for steam-methane reforming plus burning hydrogen is the same as that from burning methane.

Of course, this is a simplified, First Law of Thermodynamics (energy) analysis. The problems start with the Second Law (entropy) analysis, where any energy conversion process involving heat transfer results in energy losses to the cold side. For steam-methane reforming, the energy used to heat the initial mixture to 1400 F is not completely recovered in waste-heat boilers used to generate steam. There are also energy losses in the compression required for the pressure-swing adsorption hydrogen purification process, and the pumps required to pressurize boiler feed water. .

Bottom line: Using steam-methane reforming to produce hydrogen merely to be burned releases the same amount of CO2 as simply burning methane, but energy losses in the process reduce the net energy yield below that of burning methane. Rather than trying to build hydrogen-powered vehicles (a sort of rolling Hindenburg), we would get more energy for the same CO2 emissions by building vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (some cities use natural-gas-powered buses for mass transit).

niceguy
July 13, 2021 7:54 pm

So called French “far right” party (RN, formerly FN) went full H2 retard!

They are mostly far left morons, with a political position very close to the PCF (commie) leader in the 80ties, George Marchais.
They are often confused with a French Trump/MAGA party in France, because no mainstream French channel was willing to give accurate info on Trump. Our news TV/radio channels might be slightly more accurate than the Pravda of Stalin, but not that much.

jorgekafkazar
July 14, 2021 5:06 am

SMH? I thought that stood for “Shaking my head.”

July 14, 2021 6:32 am

Hilarious how greens talk about prices.
When they know full well that we are moving into an Ecommunist command economy where prices bear no relation to supply or demand.
And with all the fun that flows from that.

Al Miller
July 14, 2021 1:51 pm

I think Porsche has the only plan for “green” fuel that is even remotely viable. Of course it won’t win the day because it is carbon fuel and doesn’t fit the narrative, but sounds to my non-engineering self like it could work. UNLIKE solar and wind, etc.

GeorgeInSanDiego
July 14, 2021 4:39 pm

I can tell you the exact date that hydrogen will become practical as transportation fuel- the 12th of Never.

July 24, 2021 10:30 am

Once again, kiddies, there is NO direct physical evidence that man made CO2 is the control knob for the planets’ temperature. None.

July 24, 2021 10:32 am

What was in the Hindenburg? Green hydrogen or that gas station stuff?

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