Claim: Hydrogen from Green Energy Electrolysers is Cheaper than Fossil Fuel

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to John Mathews, Professor Emeritus of Macquarie Business School, green hydrogen will be cheaper than fossil fuel when the process is scaled up with billions of dollars of government money. Of course the money must not be seen as a cost burden for ordinary people.

Australia’s clean hydrogen revolution is a path to prosperity – but it must be powered by renewable energy

October 27, 2021 6.16am AEDT
John Mathews
Professor Emeritus, Macquarie Business School, Macquarie University

Days out from the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, the Morrison government on Tuesday announced a “practically achievable” path to reaching its new target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

As expected, the government will pursue a “technology not taxes” approach – eschewing policies such as a carbon price in favour of technological solutions to reduce emissions. Developing Australia’s fledgling hydrogen industry is a central plank in the plan.

This technological shift should not be seen as a cost burden for Australia. Yes, major transformation in industry is needed as it moves away from conventional fossil-fuelled processes. But this green industrial revolution is a potential source of great profit and prosperity – a fact Australia’s business sector has already recognised. 

Acting quickly, and powering the shift with renewable energy, means Australia can be a world leader in green hydrogen technology and exports, particular to Asia.

To bring down the cost of green hydrogen, it must be manufactured at scale. This is consistent with a vision of a global green shift in which clean forms of energy and production become so competitive they displace incumbent fossil fuel industries.

Economics will drive the transition. The costs of green hydrogen will likely outmatch the costs of oil and gas, and so become the inputs of choice in making green fertilisersgreen steelgreen cement and fuel for heavy vehicles such as trucks and ships.

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Professor Emeritus John Mathews appears to be suggesting that spending billions of dollars to obtain a commodity which is, at best, no different from the commodity we already have, is a good plan which does not add to our cost burden.

I used to train fresh computer science graduates. As the contractor I got the jobs nobody else wanted. I didn’t mind, I enjoy teaching people.

Every one of the new trainees needed to be extensively de-programmed, their professors had sent them into their first industry job with their heads stuffed full of utter nonsense. It usually only took a few weeks to carefully explain, with examples, why half of what they had learned was wrong, and set them on the path to becoming productive junior software developers.

I wonder if people who train fresh business school graduates in their first job have a similar experience?

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Tom Halla
October 28, 2021 2:09 pm

I somehow get the impression Professor Emeritus Matthews never actually worked in a business not entirely supported by taxes.

Reply to  Tom Halla
October 28, 2021 4:00 pm

One would have more respect for the professor’s statement if his degree was in a hard science coupled with years of practical efforts.

Rick C
Reply to  Spetzer86
October 28, 2021 4:37 pm

There should be a mechanism for revoking PhDs when the holder of one demonstrates gross incompetence. Engineers are subject to license revocation when they show incompetence. Why should economics, business or climate professionals be allowed to keep their credentials when they are consistently proven wrong?

Reply to  Rick C
October 29, 2021 7:03 am

There are several obstacles to that line of thinking ever manifesting itself in reality.

University degrees are not the same as “licenses” nor “professional seals”. They simply indicate the grantee has completed the course material in a fashion satisfactory to the grantor.

In addition, that would require that the entity that provided the credentials be the one to revoke them. States within the U.S. can and sometimes do revoke the licenses to operate (i.e. business operations, the practice of law, the practice of medicine, the practice of architecture, the practice of cosmetology, etc…) for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which being “malpractice” but also for administrative revocations surrounding the failure to pay taxes, maintain competency through continuing education, or upkeep of annual licensing fees.

Universities do sometimes revoke the bestowment of degrees, but that has historically been in instances of fraud where it can be argued that the grantee did not actually complete the work satisfactorily to the grantor (i.e. they cheated!).

Professional societies and associations will do something similar but will also encompass “malpractice” as an avenue to revoke the licensing/certification. Or if you cheated on your bar/boards or other certifying exams meant to test your knowledge.

Reply to  Rick C
October 29, 2021 10:59 am

Why should economics, business or climate professionals be allowed to keep their credentials when they are consistently proven wrong?

It almost seems like a mark of honor in some fields. Think Krugman.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Spetzer86
October 28, 2021 4:48 pm

No, if he had such a degree and such experience and STILL reached such an utterly moronic conclusion, my “respect” for his statement would be reduced even further – if that is even possible.

Reply to  Spetzer86
October 28, 2021 9:31 pm

Especially knowledge in physics and chemistry.

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  mikee
October 29, 2021 1:07 am

We need many more of the stature of Michael Faraday, one of the greatest English scientists, who I believe if one looks closely at the way he went to work would have rejected the nonsense propagated by modern “climate science.”

Reply to  Spetzer86
October 28, 2021 9:58 pm

I don’t believe it’s about that; his position is purely ideological, and not practical, derived from living a long life of undeserved privilege at taxpayers’ expense. Accademia is teeming with puffed up morons like that.

Reply to  Tom Halla
October 28, 2021 8:25 pm

I would like to watch him trying to convince a public company board of directors to approve capital expenditure based on his theories and apparent lack of understanding of what is revenue and what is profit.

Reply to  Dennis
October 28, 2021 9:50 pm

Just chuck the uni staff super fund money into it and put their future where their mouths are.

Reply to  Tom Halla
October 28, 2021 9:56 pm

He’s another idiot believing his own BS

John the Econ
October 28, 2021 2:09 pm

Still waiting for the too-cheap-to-meter wind power I was promised >40 years ago.

Reply to  John the Econ
October 28, 2021 3:48 pm

It will happen on the same day polar bears go extinct, the arctic ice disappears,the maledives drown and Biden makes it through the day without pooping his diapers.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  John the Econ
October 28, 2021 4:52 pm

They neglected to tell you that said “phenomenon” only ever occurs when demand is really low and wind “generation” really high. In other words, when it produces the electricity at times and in places where nobody needs it, and they have to give it away.

The rest of (most of) the time, it simply makes electricity much less reliable and much more expensive.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
October 28, 2021 6:13 pm

Even if the initial energy is ‘free,’ there are costs associated with the storage of hydrogen that make it more expensive than storing similar gases such as propane or acetylene. Because of the exceptionally wide range of being explosive, there are inherent costs in assuring the safety at the consumer level.

It is ironic that the impetus for this is to eliminate CO2 when H2O is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. If the water vapor from cars is allowed to just exhaust into the air, it will increase the heat index in cities, thereby exacerbating the Urban Heat Island effect. If it is condensed on board and carried around, it will decrease the efficiency of the fuel as a result of the increased weight. If it is condensed on board and then continuously dumped, it will make the roads slick, especially in Winter weather, increasing the loss of life from road accidents. It will probably contribute to an increased rate of erosion of pavement and corrosion of the undercarriage of cars. The increased relative humidity may contribute to growth of mold, impacting human health and the longevity of buildings.

Alarmists are so anxious to solve what they see as a problem that they are ignoring a host of new problems that may well be worse.

Spencer’s Third Law: For every social action there is an opposite and equal reaction known as unintended consequences.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
October 28, 2021 8:54 pm

it will make the roads slick, especially in Winter weather” Black ice in not slick, it a polish skating ring you cannot see. The only slipper is ice with water on it. At least with ice with water you can see it and it does not happen in extreme cold where most of the time the road have freeze dried.

Bill T
Reply to  MAL
October 29, 2021 5:28 am

The water will come from the cars. It will freeze on the roads and be covered immediately with more condensing water from the cars, hence slippery roads. You are looking at a one time event with no additional water added.
The black ice we have in Maine is slippery. When a car drives over it it will slick up the ice by melting a thin film and then you slip.

Reply to  Bill T
October 29, 2021 6:27 am

At least in Maine the drivers know how to handle it.
Here in South Carolina and Georgia the rare back ice is a “bumper car” event.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  George Daddis
October 29, 2021 12:23 pm

Heck, when I lived in South Carolina a 2″ snow fall started bumper cars, and in Texas, with their 6″ of road wearing surface, a good summer rain shower did the same.

Maybe someone will eventually come up with automobile driving simulators that are inexpensive enough for each state to include as part of drivers license training. The technology is continually getting less expensive. I still think that would be much better, and safer, than self driving automobiles.

Last edited 30 days ago by Joe Crawford
The Dark Lord
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
October 29, 2021 2:13 am

neither wind nor solar is renewable … panels and windmills must be replaced every 10-20 years … the resources to build them are very finite and in some cases scarce …

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  The Dark Lord
October 29, 2021 8:24 am

Not to mention unproducible using energy from renewables. Try mining limestone for the 1,500 tons of concrete needed for the base of each replacement wind turbine using renewables, or building multi-ton replacement wind turbine blades without epoxy made from petroleum. The list goes on and on….

Reply to  The Dark Lord
November 5, 2021 12:59 am

You are so right! So-called “renewables” are a myth. They are anything but that as they need replacing.

Nigel in California
Reply to  John the Econ
October 28, 2021 5:31 pm

Economics Ignorance, pride and fanaticism will drive the transition.”

October 28, 2021 2:12 pm

 ”…the government will pursue a “technology not taxes” approach”…

Yet are happy to ‘subsidise’ this new ”technology”. So where does the subsidy come from if it is not a tax??

Reply to  aussiecol
October 28, 2021 2:45 pm

The tax approach makes fossil fuels unaffordable and hopes that the necessary technology comes along before we slide back into the stone age.

My hope for the technology approach is that they would develop some kind of semi-viable technology before they foist it on the public. Even better if they could develop something that would even come close to competing with fossil fuels.

The problem is that we’ve been working seriously on alternative energy ever since the OPEC oil price shocks back in the 1970s. All the low hanging fruit has been picked so don’t expect any world shattering news on the renewable energy front.

John Bell
Reply to  commieBob
October 28, 2021 5:01 pm

They think it will take off all by itself if we can just boost the volume deployed past a tipping point, with more funding, taxes, grants…

Reply to  John Bell
October 29, 2021 12:21 am

“Even though we’re losing money on each unit we sell we’ll make it up in volume!”

Reply to  commieBob
October 28, 2021 7:38 pm

Windmill are not “working seriously”!

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  aussiecol
October 28, 2021 2:58 pm

Actually, this is just Scotty from Marketing trying to market an idea that is unpalatable to most Australians, while keeping it palatable to the shouty minority. It doesn’t actually mean anything at all, except to leave the government wiggle-room to claim all sorts of expenses that they do want as ‘investment in technology’.

It’s a tricky balancing act, but I’m guessing that he’s hoping that it won’t matter much by the election.

Yes, I’m cynical, but am I cynical enough?

Last edited 1 month ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 28, 2021 8:29 pm

I agree that the PM often presents like a used car salesman, but he has never been in marketing, that is a Labor Party smear based on his senior management positions before becoming a Member of Parliament and advertising campaigns conducted, created by marketing people and approved by senior management and probably the Minister responsible.

Nick B.
Reply to  aussiecol
October 28, 2021 3:56 pm

Printing press.

Reply to  Nick B.
October 28, 2021 7:36 pm

LOL, yep, that’s the answer I was looking for. Thanks for the laugh Nick.

Reply to  aussiecol
October 28, 2021 7:37 pm

fees on your essential purchases

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  aussiecol
October 28, 2021 8:25 pm

Let a thousand solyndras bloom.

Reply to  aussiecol
October 28, 2021 8:26 pm

In Canberra from Money Trees planted in Courtyards inside Parliament House.

David Elstrom
October 28, 2021 2:14 pm

Some ideas are so stupid and some claims so ridiculous that only an intellectual professor emeritus can believe them.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  David Elstrom
October 28, 2021 2:45 pm

In fairness, he taught at a business school not an engineering school. And he probably taught marketing rather than accounting, since his numbers are so off.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 28, 2021 6:06 pm

His Ph.D. appears to be in economics, the dismal “science”, not to mention a social “science” for which “science” is possibly a misspelling of the word “conjecture”….if economists were any good at predictions, governments wouldn’t stumble through an economic crisis or more per generation….Ph.D.s in economics are participatory degrees granted by the university debating club with a requirement of huge donations by the student’s parents. Real Ph.D’s are granted by real scientists to deserving grad students for STEM research discoveries.
….even woke magazines give it a take down…

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 28, 2021 10:23 pm

G’Day Rud,

You’re a business man and give the same problem to five different economists. You’re going to get five different answers, six if one of them attended Yale.

(From “The Peter Principal” – I think.)

Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 28, 2021 10:12 pm

And how does that make it fair. Just because he has a title in some field?

Reply to  David Elstrom
October 28, 2021 4:05 pm

One needs several years of college to become a world class bullshiter.

There is only one difference between between the feudal aristocracy and the intellectual one.
The feudal aristocrats are more hoenest and therefore less dangerous as they do not pretend to be part of the plebs.

October 28, 2021 2:24 pm

In all probability the good professor had tenure (could not be fired), a more than adequate salary and a gold plated pension and healthcare plan. I’d say that he doesn’t care, but that would be misleading, he actually doesn’t live in the real world and has none of it’s cares. None of them apparently do

Zig Zag Wanderer
October 28, 2021 2:34 pm

Australia’s clean hydrogen revolution is a path to prosperity – but it must be powered by renewable energy

I told not agree more that it should be powered by unreliables. Just make sure you get them off the grid, to reduce my costs, and support all the unreliable costs yourselves. Win-win.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 28, 2021 4:56 pm

They keep forgetting to mention that “renewables” are 100% dependent upon fossil fuels for their very existence.

So “it must be powered by renewable energy” in truth equals “it must be powered by fossil fuels” – which of course can be far more efficiently and effectively used without the renewable energy boondoggle “middle man.”

Rud Istvan
October 28, 2021 2:36 pm

Green hydrogen? Means electrolysis from renewables.

First, some numbers from essay ‘Hydrogen Hype’ in ebook Blowing Smoke. Most hydrogen is made by steam reformation of natgas, which isn’t green. Less than 5% is via water electrolysis, mostly special non-industrial circumstances because more expensive. Electrolysis is about 70% energy efficient.
To be stored in meaningful quantities, hydrogen is either highly compressed in special costly carbon fiber wound epoxy cylinders (90% efficient because of PV/T=k heating), or liquified, about 75% efficient. Needs to be used in PEM fuel cells (cars, grid) since SOFC (Bloom Energy) crack and have poor lifetimes, PEM are at best 60% efficient and use platinum catalyst on Nafion membranes. Expensive, why there aren’t many in commercial use anywhere despite years of Plugged Power trying and hyping. So 1*0.75*maybe 0.9*0.6= Maybe 0.41 net hydrogen energy efficiency. Same as CCGT. But with a lot more capital expense for an ‘industry’ that does not exist yet for good reason.

Now over at Judith’s a while ago we recalculated the faulty EIA LCOE for on shore wind. 2.15x CCGT. So Australia green hydrogen will be at best as energy useful as natgas at over twice the cost. Yup that is what makes it ‘green’. GREEN anything means more expensive AND more problematic.

Gregg Eshelman
Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 28, 2021 5:47 pm

What’s done with all the bits of natural gas that aren’t hydrogen?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Gregg Eshelman
October 28, 2021 6:16 pm

Those are CO2. A bit of a ‘problem’, as you already knew.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 28, 2021 6:29 pm

The compression/liqufaction step is really expensive, the product is really dangerous, and between hard and impossible to store for any length of time. Far better to use it as a raw material to make ammonia or a hydrocarbon. Methanol is really good.

C + H2O + 2H = CH3OH. Methanol runs conventional ICE very well. Remove a some water from the Methanol and you get Dimethyl ether (CH3-O-CH3), which is a very good diesel fuel that burns very clean.

Australia has an excellent geography for this. there is basically nothing along the southern coast but thousands of square miles of desert. Cover it with solar panels. Pump sea water up, electrolyse it. You can make ammonia there without importing raw materials.

I am sure that the economics suck, but if fossil fuels are banned, we will have to find some source of fuels.

Last edited 30 days ago by Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
October 28, 2021 7:50 pm

Maybe ICE engines could be built to run well on methanol but I remember quite well all the effort and studies when the US started adding alcohol to gasoline. Many things were reportedly tried to make methanol work but engines using it had lower life expectancies than in the early days of auto development. That is why ethanol is used (still a poor, illogical choice but tax subsidies drives that too).

Reply to  AndyHce
October 28, 2021 8:38 pm

From personal experience driving a diesel 4WD equipped with Diesel-Gas combined fuel system, LPG injected into the Diesel fuel at a rate of 20 per cent LPG, the power and torque increased by better than 20 per cent.

The reason being that with LPG-Diesel mixed combustion resulted in lower particulates created, so the Diesel was used more efficiently and emissions were much lower.

I also have experience with Petrol Internal Combustion Engines equipped with dual-fuel LPG or Petrol as selected by the driver. Injected systems were very efficient and produced lower emissions than for Petrol with no loss of engine performance.

Earlier systems were not injected and were less efficient.

Australia has an abundance of LPG, LNG can also be used.

A builder I know had a Ford Falcon 1-tonne capacity truck on LPG fuel only and was happy with it, his only complaint was that if the LPG tank ran out there was no roadside refuelling and he had to get his vehicle towed.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  AndyHce
October 28, 2021 9:12 pm

Years ago, Indianapolis race cars ran on methanol. It has a very high octane rating and burns very clean. Any problems such as those you refer to are very easily solved.

DME used in diesels is an alternative. Another possibility is to work the methanol into butanol which is pretty much plug and play for octane.

Let us keep our eyes on the big game here. Greens are declaring fossil fuels off limits. They are touting hydrogen as a replacement for ffs in those contexts where electricity or batteries are unsuited. Airplanes, ships, trucks, and farm equipment cannot be run on batteries.

But, hydrogen is expensive, dangerous, extraordinarily difficult to store and transport — unsuited for the proposed uses.

If we have to play the game under green rules, the answer is to use the hydrogen to make simple useful molecules, ones that can be used directly or easily processed into useful products.

Anders Rasmusson
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
October 29, 2021 2:55 am

Walter Sobchak : ”…. C + H2O + 2H = CH3OH …..”

The feed contains C, Carbon, and will end up as CO2 in the engine exhaust gas.

Kind regards
Anders Rasmusson

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Anders Rasmusson
October 30, 2021 7:49 am

The question for the anti fossil fuel people will be what is the source of the carbon.

If it is fossil fuels, e.g. coal, then it will be like burning an ff like methane.

You could use organic sources of carbon, such as trash, garbage, sewerage, agricultural wastes, and forest duff.

Joule for joule burning methane, methanol, or DME produces less CO2 than burning coal because much of the energy comes from the entrained hydrogen.

The issue here is not the real world. In a real world without green lunatics, you would just use ffs and not think about grossly dangerous and uneconomic stupidities like hydrogen. The issue here is playing the green game.

Aleksandr Zhitomirskiy
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
October 29, 2021 8:15 am

“Dimethyl ether (CH3-O-CH3), which is a very good diesel fuel that burns very clean”. A liquid with a boiling point of about 34 °C is unlikely to be a good diesel fuel. And what does it mean “burns very clean”? When burned, the same CO2 and H2O are obtained from it.
“Pump sea water up, electrolyse it”. Sea water contains chlorides. What are you going to do with the chlorine that will be released during electrolysis? 

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Aleksandr Zhitomirskiy
October 30, 2021 7:55 am

Either desalinate first or simply dissolve the Cl in the process effluent. The effluent will be enriched for Na which stays dissolved. The process sludge will be stuff like Fe and Cu.

I am not advertising the process as cheap or easy, just politically correct.

Jacques Dumon
Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 29, 2021 12:12 am

Rud, you forgot the first step before the electolysis: The water that you have to électrolyse must be very pure. It must be distillated twice before being poured in the electrolyser. This, too, consumes energy ans lowers your total efficiency by 35%

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Jacques Dumon
October 30, 2021 9:42 pm


Ian Johnson
Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 29, 2021 1:55 am

Making epoxy cylinders without evil petrochemicals could be interesting.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
November 5, 2021 1:04 am

Read this great book on the subject on why fossil fuels are really the only option.

The moral case for fossil fuels

October 28, 2021 2:37 pm

I read somewhere that to deliver the same energy as one tanker of petrol to a filling station would take 20 hydrogen tankers.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  richard
October 28, 2021 3:20 pm

Think it is about 16, not 20–but 20 might be right. Just did some research.

Energy density of LH2 is 8MJ/m^3, gasoline is 34MJ/m^3. So gas is about 4x. But LH2 boils at -423F, so must be shipped in a cryogenic tank. These are double walled. Inner tank hold the LH2. It’s surrounded by a ‘couple of feet’ of porous ‘insulation’ material, then a very strong outer tank. A high vacuum is then pulled between the two to make the cryogenic tank, which is really a very big vacuum thermos.

Now a ‘couple of feet’ means 4 feet of diameter loss, so on a standard length/width 8 foot diameter class 8 truck tanker you lose via pi*r^2 about 75% of the storage volume. So shipping 1/4 as much per tanker times 1/4 the energy density per volume means 4*4 16 times as many tankers for LH2 as for gasoline/petrol.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 28, 2021 4:16 pm

Doesn’t a small amount need to be vented as the H2 warms up?

Jim G.
Reply to  MarkW
October 28, 2021 5:54 pm

Most definitely.
I haven’t worked with H2, but LOX dewars get your attention when the relief valve opens.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 28, 2021 7:51 pm

Think of the children of the tanker drivers.

Last edited 30 days ago by AndyHce
Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 28, 2021 9:13 pm

extra fuel for the larger number of tankers.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 29, 2021 9:27 am

Sorry, Rud, but your description of LH2 tanker volume constraints is wrong, as are all of the statements about the extreme hazards of operating them.

LH2 tank trucks carry the same liquid volume as do gasoline tank trucks, 11,600 gallons. Some special versions carry as much as 17,000 gallons. The US LH2 production and transportation infrastructure was developed largely to support the Apollo Program. The Saturn V rocket, for example, used 327,000 gallons per flight. The Space Shuttle used 395,600 gallons per flight. Most of this was produced at Air Products in Ontario, CA, and transported by over-the-road truck.

Has anyone ever heard of a US LH2 tank truck accident? I have never heard of a single one, and I was in the rocket business most of my life.

The tanks on the trucks are indeed vacuum jacketed, but the intervening insulation is relatively thin multi-layer insulation. Liquid helium, which is even colder, is transported by rail car in tanks of similar construction; the multi-layer insulation allows coast-to-coast LHe transport by rail with very little loss.

That said, the cost is high to maintain this level of safety, and that alone precludes it from taking over the transport of energy.

Reply to  richard
October 28, 2021 3:36 pm

“I read somewhere that to deliver the same energy as one tanker of petrol to a filling station would take 20 15 hydrogen tankers.”

You’ll find it in –Hydrogen for transport and the B&E report
under the heading ‘How do you transport hydrogen?’
15yrs old & things have moved on; but not much, as the basic laws of physic & chemistry stubbornly refuse to change.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  saveenergy
October 28, 2021 5:57 pm

the basic laws of physic & chemistry stubbornly refuse to change

That’s ok, Brandon will sign an execute order….

October 28, 2021 2:49 pm

Economics will drive the transition. The costs of green hydrogen will likely outmatch the costs of oil and gas”

Waffle word warning.
A real business expert would know that waffle word is fraud. Unsurprising that the corrupted Australia Universities have professors like John Mathews, Professor Emeritus of Macquarie Business School could publicly spout such drivel.

You know he has his fingers crossed, as in the back of his mind he knows the ‘levelized cost of energy’ supports alleged renewables like hydrogen through onerous taxes.

Reply to  ATheoK
October 28, 2021 4:19 pm

Professor “emeritus” means he is retired already. That means he will never make it to 2050 to test his predictions. No need to cross your fingers when there is zero risk of being held accountable for your actions.

Jacques Dumon
Reply to  Doonman
October 29, 2021 12:16 am

We will spit on his tomb. Poor consolation

October 28, 2021 3:03 pm

I wonder how they generate the juice needed to make the hydrogen? I know, they burn hydrogen! Oh wait.

Jeff Labute
October 28, 2021 3:11 pm

There is a Carbon Capture plant planned for a town called Merritt in BC Canada. Carbon Engineering intends to create 35,200 tonnes of Hydrogen using electrolysis (BC Hydro). They will also Capture 250,000 tonnes of CO2, and create 103M liters of low carbon fuel annually.

What they don’t tell are details such as it requires 48kWh to make 1 Kg of Hydrogen, and 35,200,000 Kg of hydrogen would require 1,689.6 GWH of energy. This does NOT include the CO2 capture and all the other processing the plant would do.

1,689.6 GWH plus ~800GWH for carbon capture is like 1/2 of the new Site-C dam capacity of 5100 GWH. It is enormous! The dam not yet finished and so far costs 16 billion dollars. You might as well consider 1/2 the cost of the dam in the cost of the Merritt plant.

Carbon Engineering states their plant requires 315MW. So it really adds up to half of the Site-C dam.

Will this new hydrogen economy interfere with the delivery of relatively cheap energy for average people?

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff Labute
Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Jeff Labute
October 28, 2021 3:17 pm

Minor quibble, it’s “MWh”.

Jeff Labute
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 28, 2021 3:20 pm

Sure. 315 MW is as it is written in the article. It does imply instantaneous power. 315 MW for 1h is 315 MWh. Over a year, it will be 2700 GWH.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Jeff Labute
October 28, 2021 4:11 pm

Just to quibble again, it’s “GWh” 😀

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 28, 2021 5:35 pm

Doesn’t matter how you express it – it’s still a shedload, that could be used for many more productive purposes.

And even I, as a platinum card carrying pedant, can overlook Jeff’s faux pas with capitals 🙂

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Mr.
October 28, 2021 5:58 pm

Jeff’s faux pas with capitals

Wouldn’t that be a Faux Pas?

Sorry, I’ll get my coat….

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Mr.
October 28, 2021 6:26 pm

Shouldn’t that be “platinum card-carrying pedant?”

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
October 28, 2021 8:52 pm

How about –
“platinum-card-carrying” pedant.

(Too many hyphens are barely enough, I always say. 🙂 )

Ron Long
Reply to  Jeff Labute
October 28, 2021 3:29 pm

I’ll see their carbon capture scheme and counter with this: China has just announced that they will reach peak carbon by 2030 and net zero by 2060. Guess who wins that tug-of-war?

Reply to  Jeff Labute
October 28, 2021 7:56 pm

They extract CO2 from the air with a caustic solution and regenerate the solution. Has ugly corrosion, and hazardous chemical aspects, that they don’t talk about in the present direct extraction of research money mode.

October 28, 2021 3:12 pm

… billions of dollars of government money

… billions of dollars of TAXPAYERS money.

‘Brandon’ has infiltrated the professor’s mind.

We’re getting this propaganda daily via email and in our local Brisbane rag, the Courier Mail, peddled by its ‘senior’ journalist, Joe Hildebrand. The claims are excruciatingly painful they are so blatantly wrong.

Last edited 1 month ago by Streetcred
Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Streetcred
October 28, 2021 3:18 pm

No, you don’t understand. They no longer need to take all of your money, they just print some more!

Unlimited money! What’s not to like?

Of course, the money you do have will be worth less every day. That’s not a problem, though, it’s a feature. They want you to spend, spend, spend, not to actually save! If you get into financial difficulties, I’m sure the government can arrange a government-backed payday loan. Just don’t look at the APR…

Last edited 1 month ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Pillage Idiot
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 28, 2021 3:50 pm

Unlimited money! What’s not to like?

If you shoot the sheets of newly printed dollar bills straight from the printing presses and right into the electrical turbines, have you managed to create the world’s first perpetual motion machine?

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Pillage Idiot
October 28, 2021 5:02 pm

They could just take all the paper for the money they want to print to rob people of their savings and burn it instead – they’ll get more energy from that then they ever will on a “net” basis from hydrogen.

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
October 28, 2021 7:58 pm

Only a very tiny percentage of created “money” is ever printed. Almost all exist only in computer files.

October 28, 2021 3:19 pm

And what is that emeritus dreaming at night ??? 😀

Last edited 1 month ago by Krishna Gans
Rud Istvan
Reply to  Krishna Gans
October 28, 2021 3:31 pm

The good thing about this emeritus is that he is no longer poisoning student minds with nonsense.

October 28, 2021 3:42 pm

Typical non technical person making revelations about technical subjects they know nothing about but get media attention because their prognostications fulfill the Green narrative.

October 28, 2021 3:59 pm

Similar to you Eric I also used to get the fresh computer science graduates to train as well, used to say exactly the same thing half of what they had been taught was trash, the only difficult part was working out which half.

Shoki Kaneda
October 28, 2021 4:07 pm

Well he’s walking through the clouds
With a circus mind that’s running round
Butterflies and zebras
And moonbeams and fairy tales
That’s all he ever thinks about
Riding with the wind.

With apologies to Jimi Hendrix

October 28, 2021 4:43 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong, but, those few who make cars that use “clean, abundant, inexpensive hydrogen” convert it to clean watervapor. Is that not the number one greenhouse gas, and now you’d be increasing it at ground level?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  William Teach
October 28, 2021 6:33 pm

Yes! Normally energy has to be supplied in the form or heat or wind to convert liquid water to vapor. In this scheme, each and every car, truck, an building is a functional converter supplying freshly made water vapor. We can probably expect that urban areas will probably have 100% relative humidity 24/7.

Reply to  William Teach
October 28, 2021 8:00 pm

since it is a political creation, it is whatever it is said to be

AGW is Not Science
October 28, 2021 4:46 pm

The “Macquarie Business School” clearly needs to have any accreditation stripped immediately. I would say this if a *student* earning a degree from said “school” reached such colossally stupid conclusions. When a “Professor Emeritus” spouts such utter twaddle, you know the “school” is incapable of teaching anything to anyone that is worth $0.02 (Australian).

October 28, 2021 4:49 pm

This is great news. Let’s hope the wind always blows when the sun doesn’t shine. Oh that’s right. Batteries.

John Bell
October 28, 2021 4:56 pm

My former coworker works at HYZON near Detroit, Mi. fuel cell vehicles, I am concerned about where will they get all this hydrogen and how to carry it safely. The project sounds like a grant farm just like I worked on the hydraulic hybrid UPS truck.

John in Oz
October 28, 2021 5:01 pm

I recently wrote the Oz PM to inform him that our own CSIRO states on their web site that the Southern Hemisphere is a net sink of CO2 and the source is the Northern half. Therefore, Oz does not need to do much at all about CO2

His response (my bold):

I appreciate you sharing your views with me. However, I must honestly and respectfully

disagree with the premise of your argument.

The Australian Government actively contributes to the global scientific reviews organised by the Intergovernmental on Climate Change, and accepts the findings of our own science agencies and the global scientific community.

On the one hand he accepts the CSIRO findings but disagrees with me when I point out their findings that go against his agenda.

I might also point out that his response letter is almost identical to one I received 10 months ago. They are merely boiler-plate letters intended to placate us peons while the pollies go about saving the world.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  John in Oz
October 28, 2021 6:03 pm

They are merely boiler-plate letters intended to placate us peons

Cone on, man. You can’t expect him to think as well as ruin the country!

(unintended auto correct, but beautiful in its execution)

Reply to  John in Oz
October 28, 2021 8:03 pm

Often enough they will completely change the topic and pretend it is an adequate answer to your inquiry.

October 28, 2021 5:21 pm

The Finnish company Wartsila (big reciprocating engines, among other products) just released the following paper, which makes some pretty bold claims about the cost competitiveness of ‘renewable energy’ and sees a big role for ‘green’ hydrogen.

Not a lot of detail behind their assumptions…being a Wartsila shareholder, I’ve asked if they have a detailed technical appendix that I could get. We’ll see…

Reply to  David Foster
October 29, 2021 6:25 am

Sell Wartsila, buy XOM a/o CVX.

Tony Taylor
October 28, 2021 5:24 pm

My motto: Do as I do, not as I teach.

October 28, 2021 5:25 pm

Does “emeritus” mean “clueless”?

Chris Hanley
October 28, 2021 5:27 pm

If hydrogen were such a great substitute for fossil fuels there would be no need for government taxpayer handouts, sounds like another de@d-end boondoggle in the making.

Last edited 30 days ago by Chris Hanley
October 28, 2021 5:38 pm

One of my wife’s friend said her granddaughter came home from college after her first session and she came back a flaming liberal refusing to listen to any other view. Evidently it does not take long to convert.

Reply to  Olen
October 28, 2021 10:36 pm

My daughter calls us from college often to vent. In her intro sociology class (core curriculum, not something she wants to take) they were just told that they should spell ‘Black’ with a capital B, but ‘white’ should be lower case because to do otherwise would be white supremacist.
I think we’ve inoculated her well, but I told her I would disown her if she gets better than a ‘B’ in that class.

Ed Fox
October 28, 2021 5:49 pm

Sure, we lose money on every sale but make it up on volume.

Reply to  Ed Fox
October 28, 2021 8:12 pm

Yeah and as long as you convince enough greentard investors you are buying market share you can keep it going for a while. The trick then is to work out how to siphon off cash and get out before it all hits the wall.

October 28, 2021 5:56 pm

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh, let me catch my breath. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Ok, I think I cn finish my tea and go to bed now. No, I am lying! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!

Chris Hanley
October 28, 2021 6:04 pm

Acting quickly, and powering the shift with renewable energy, means Australia can be a world leader in green hydrogen technology and exports, particular to Asia …

That siren-song has been used so many times before it has become a cliché, Asian countries are more that capable of looking after their own interests without any ‘help’ from Australia.

Gunga Din
October 28, 2021 6:25 pm

No matter what the theory behind the green technology, burning more $Green$ now will make it a reliable replacement for what is already reliable.
To make the green dream economical, Government just needs to make what is already economical (and reliable) artificially more expensive.

Thomas Gasloli
October 28, 2021 6:31 pm

Anyone who believes you can make green hydrogen steel or cement has never been to a steel mill or a cement kiln. It is amazing how many PhDs are fools; not even “book smart”.

October 28, 2021 7:05 pm

Rud Istvan,
Do you have info / numbers on this question? If we go to net zero, how long is it before the carbon cycle and the calcium carbonate cycle sequester enough CO2 to start us back toward the deadly 180 ppm? And then life on earth really is doomed.

Reply to  John MacDonald
October 28, 2021 8:16 pm

Earliest estimate ever published in peer review is 70 years to get back to 350ppm from today. So rough ball park would be 200 years to get to that.

Reply to  John MacDonald
October 29, 2021 6:29 am

Read Dr. Patrick Moore’s speech to the GWPF:

Reply to  BobM
October 29, 2021 8:56 pm

Thank you BobM. That is an excellent presentation that wraps up a lot of important concepts in a simple way. Itneeds to be seen by more of those people who really never hear the encompassing ideas.

Andy Pattullo
October 28, 2021 7:39 pm

These idiots select energy systems the way Hollywood icons select handbags and watches. Price is no concern – rather the priority is that the product be hideously expensive and rare to the point of being totally irrelevant to real life.

Reply to  Andy Pattullo
October 29, 2021 12:06 pm

They don’t want price to be of any concerned, and that’s why there are no real cost estimates.

Serge Wright
October 28, 2021 9:09 pm

Statements such as his make your realise just how far the intellectual standards of our learning institutions have fallen. What the professor is suggesting is that by subsidising the overseas purchase of $billions of solar panels to convert hydrogen from water, and then subsidising the hydrogen output by further $billions, we can make the hydrogen cheap enough for people in Asia to consider purchasing the product and thus creating a sustainable industry. In other words, you lose large amounts of money twice to make a much smaller $ sale and this is sound economics.

The only part missing is to use all of the hydrogen to power the ship that delivers it across the other side of the globe.

William Haas
October 28, 2021 9:10 pm

If it is really a cheaper source of energy then fossil fuels then eventually it will take over the market without the need for any government subsidies.

Reply to  William Haas
October 28, 2021 9:56 pm

“Capitalism” is the leftist description of free enterprise, free markets.

Reply to  William Haas
November 5, 2021 1:13 am

Read this great book on the subject on why fossil fuels are really the only option.

The moral case for fossil fuels

Paul Johnson
October 28, 2021 9:47 pm

Regarding fresh business school graduates, I was once told by a member of the P&G board that they liked to hire engineers over MBAs because they could teach an engineer everything but couldn’t teach an MBA anything.

October 28, 2021 9:55 pm

Professor Emeritus John Mathews must be smoking some excellent weed to make those completely evidence-free and baseless claims.

Phillip Bratby
October 28, 2021 10:46 pm

Green = red

another ian
October 29, 2021 1:53 am

Remember the translation that went

“E” = “without” “meritus” = “merit”?

Teddy Lee
October 29, 2021 2:05 am

The prof is in the business of stealing tax payers hard earned cash.
If it is a money maker,he and all his wealthy colleagues in academia could invest for an even bigger pension pot!

The Dark Lord
October 29, 2021 2:09 am

ha ha … they are easy … BA’s/Mba’s, they have no knowledge to train out of them … just a degree … may as well hire a high school grad …

Tom Abbott
October 29, 2021 4:05 am

From the article: “As expected, the government will pursue a “technology not taxes” approach – eschewing policies such as a carbon price in favour of technological solutions to reduce emissions.”

That’s good. Taxing Carbon Dioxide is a really stupid idea.

From the article: “Developing Australia’s fledgling hydrogen industry is a central plank in the plan.”

There’s the fly in the ointment.

Last edited 30 days ago by Tom Abbott
Alasdair Fairbairn
October 29, 2021 5:08 am

The Title‘Professor’ means very little these days. This fellow Mathews obviously has little concept of the Thermodynamic Laws.

October 29, 2021 6:07 am

Tell Asia that perfessor as they’re rolling on the ground laughing at you and all the numpties jetting in to COP26-
COP26 aims to banish coal. Asia is building hundreds of power plants to burn it (

Last edited 30 days ago by observa
October 29, 2021 6:23 am

This is consistent with a vision DREAM of a global green shift in which clean forms of energy and production become so competitive they displace incumbent fossil fuel industries.”

Reply to  George Daddis
October 29, 2021 6:48 am

Yeah China isn’t buying the story line they have just announced they intend to increase coal use over the next 4 years and build 230 new power stations but will still peak at 2030 🙂

Interesting timing right on the eve of COP26, everyone might as well not bother turning up because there reduction pledges will be dwarfed by that increase.

October 29, 2021 6:31 am

Pay me a billion dollars and I’ll work for you for free

Gerry, England
October 29, 2021 6:54 am

These days fresh-faced graduates will need de-woking.

Joao Martins
October 29, 2021 6:54 am

Hydrogen from Green Energy Electrolysers is Cheaper than Fossil Fuel
Define “cheaper”, please.

October 29, 2021 7:58 am

I see lithium battery EV prices have plumbed the bottom-

the initial cost gains from large scale battery production have been achieved with the construction of gigafactories, said Benchmark Mineral Intelligence (BMI) Chief Executive Simon Moores.
Now costs of raw materials, particularly lithium, are rising and feeding into battery costs, he added.

High lithium costs start to feed into prices of China EV batteries -BMI (

There may be hope for the hydrogen subsidy miners yet within the stacked deck.

Shanghai Dan
October 29, 2021 8:23 am

Everything is cheap if you ignore the infrastructure costs!

James Bull
October 29, 2021 8:42 am

I’m not sure if his head is in the clouds or up his a*** on this he wants vast amounts of government money but doesn’t seem to understand where the government gets the money from.

James Bull

David Coles-Dobay
October 29, 2021 8:44 am

Having worked in the association with the TOP two electrophysicists in the World ,DR Barry Izard, and DR Peter Colahal I can state first hand that these solar PV shills are complete morons and frauds.
First the issue of the source of the heat necessary to produce a wafer of silicon.
While working for the USA’s largest monolythic silicon ingot manufacturer in 1995 the Motorola Company in Scottsdale AZ was able to produce silicon substrate material at a cost of 1 billion per acre 99% of that cost was energy.
While while working with Aerospace industrial coatings I learned that the transparent indium layer of PV oxidizes while exposed to UV light at a rate of 100% over 8 years.
During the period of time that a solar cell produces usable energy only 70.7% of the energy required to make the cell is recoverable.
So the actual cost of producing 1KW of electricity using solar PV was about 4.81 USD.
The cost of producing 1KW of Wind energy is around 14USD.
The cost of producing 1KW of geothermal is around 6 USD.
The cost of producing 1KW of wave is around 23 USD
The cost of producing 1KW of Nuclear is around .0015 USD
The cost of producing 1KW of Petro chemical is around .005 USD
Second Like trash dumps environmentally ill people ignore the pollution when they can shift it to someone else.
The advent of seemingly cheap silicon has been due to the disregard for safety and environment in the use of very dirty coal in China to power the ingot ovens.
The idea of hydrogen economy was introduced publicly by GW Bush at that time many of us actually pursued this dead end path.
The two primary issues with hydrogen energy are storage and conversion.
Apollo energy went bankrupt perfecting a platinum free fuel cell.
The issue with fuel cells is that they are not primary energy sources like an A battery they are secondary energy sources and subject to a alpha gain never producing more energy than required to make the hydrogen fuel.
Third looking at electrolysis itself I developed titanium ceramic anodes and low temperature water crackers as well as carboxal and methane crackers.
There is a wall dead stop in the theoretical electrolysis cell of 1.4KW per mole of gas the gas is both H2 and O2. The theory states that dissociation of water is at 1.23V actual measured it is at 1.48V.
Once the water is cracker molecular sieve will allow hydrogen to pass retaining O2.
The storage of hydrogen is extremely problematic in practical use Carbon fiber proved to be ineffective.
We even pursued basalt and other fibers to construct tanks at great loss of capitol.
For example a fuel cell drayage truck outfitted with CNG tanks converted to hydrogen at the same pressure was reduced in refueling period from 400 miles to 40 miles.
The cost of the truck conversion was 380K in 2004 the initial cost of CNG construction was 1.3M The refueling station was another 500K USD.
So the end result of the unicorn fart truck was 2.2 million for 40 miles daily transport.
The energy cost for 40 Miles was 3600 USD per day.

About the pollution CO2 they claim as a green house gas but it is not teh worst one Di-hydrogen Oxide is 14 times more reflective of heat and is the primary climate driver on this planet. At sea level the fallout of di-hydrogen oxide a end product of hydrogen combustion will drop the temperature to 72 degrees. the up welling of this dangerous solvent from our oceans is the causal mechanism of all hurricanes.

The dream of using hydrogen for fuel is a pipe dream of crack smokers.
I am sure of this having spent 20 years of my life working on this very challenge.

In my experience working for Darpa, NASA ,Motorola, GM. Apollo, HBA, Panda, DIA and many others including my own companies I have found that the sane approach to energy is each to it’s benefit each to it’s market. Diesel generators do not work at 14K feet so solar is best option. At sea level Gasoline is king, For large grid coal is best.I have not found a single location or use for wind other than pumping water.
Letting academics try and create policy is like asking a virgin to direct a porn video.
Theory is seldom beneficial to the outcome of production.
Lastly there is a standard formula still in use today concerning fuel consumption of steam powered engines that dictates that only 10% of available energy can be drawn from fossil fuels. GE has been producing an engine that is 67% efficient for more than 30 years.

October 29, 2021 10:22 am

Reminds me of:
“You’re losing $1 per item you sell”
“That’s ok I’ll make it up in volume”

October 29, 2021 12:17 pm

Escape of hydrogen leads to a breakdown of the ozone layer

October 29, 2021 1:56 pm

“Economics will drive the transition.” Wonderful news, cancel COP26, no need for government mandates, carbon taxes, forced closures of coal stations, people will choose EVs etc. Or is the Professor tilting at windmills?

Reply to  Robber
October 29, 2021 5:34 pm

Well Big Oil has had enough of their nonsense and is beginning to tell it like it is-

Shell’s van Beurden in a LinkedIn post on Friday, echoing previous comments by BP Chief Executive Bernard Looney, said oil companies alone could not control demand for fossil fuels.
“Let’s say Shell switched the products we sell overnight. Instead of petrol and diesel, motorists at our service stations could only get hydrogen, or recharge their electric cars. It wouldn’t make people buy a hydrogen or battery electric car. They would simply drive down the road and fill up at one of our competitors,” van Beurden said.
Big oil says up to governments at climate talks to rein in demand (

November 5, 2021 12:54 am

This guy never even managed a lemonade stand, so how is he an expert on such a huge and pointless undertaking?

November 5, 2021 1:21 am

Wise words from Milton.

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