Heat Pumps v Hydrogen: (Scalded Or Burned!!)

Reposted from NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

JANUARY 3, 2022

By Paul Homewood

The energy study also revealed that hydrogen-fuelled boilers “will never be a cost-effective option”. According to Bloomberg, the average annual running cost for a heat pump stands at £743, compared to £2,784 for a hydrogen boiler.

————————

The Government has produced a landmark green scheme to provide families with a £5,000 grant to buy electric heat pumps for their homes.

But, in a poll of 5,605 Express.co.uk readers, held from December 24 to 30, a staggering 90 percent of voters said they would not buy a heat pump in the next five years, while six percent said they would, and four percent were undecided.

Many readers disagreed with the research produced by The European Consumer Organisation, and insisted heat pumps are a poor energy source.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/other/not-heat-pumps-furious-backlash-at-european-study-on-cost-effective-energy-sources/ar-AAShtV0

The study referred to comes from the European Consumer Organisation. Although it says that heat pumps are the cheapest “green option”, they are coy about how much dearer they are than gas boilers!

https://www.beuc.eu/publications/goodbye-gas-heat-pumps-will-be-cheapest-green-heating-option-consumers/html

It is based on four European countries, but below is the analysis for Czech Republic, which is probably the most comparable to the UK:

1758 euro equals £1465, which looks on the side, but is based on a pre-1970 home, which will no doubt be hugely energy inefficient. Presumably Czech winters will be much colder too!

We can untangle it by looking at the heat demand, which is based on 22615 KWh/yr. Given that a gas boiler works at 85% efficiency, this implies gas usage of 26605 KWh:

The average UK home uses about 15000 KWh, I believe, meaning heat demand of 12750 KWh. We can therefore infer heat pump electricity consumption of 5013 KWh – ie an efficiency factor of 2.54.

The costings seem to be based on energy prices as they were before recent rises; for instance, electricity at 184 Euro/MWh. At this level, the heat pump running cost for our average UK home would be £767 a year (close to that Bloomberg figure). However, based on 2020 gas prices of 2.5p/KWh, a gas boiler would only cost £375 a year to run.

This is broadly in line with my calculations in the last year or two.

By the way, despite the rise in gas prices, heat pumps still remain £406 more expensive to run , because electricity prices have also risen in tandem.

But what really took my eye was the cost of running a hydrogen boiler. The above example reckons 4289 Euro, but we can reduce this in line with lower heat demand. Hydrogen consumption should in theory be the same as gas in our UK example, 15000 KWh.

According to the study, the cost of hydrogen is 147 Euro/MWh, or £122. (This assumes electrolysis).  This of course is more than four times the cost of natural gas, meaning annual bills would rise from £375 to £1830.

This is something which I have been highlighting for years, but most people are still blissfully unaware of it.

Finally, last year Andrew Montford published a factsheet on hydrogen, which concluded that green hydrogen would cost £190/MWh. If he is right, heating bills will rise much higher still.

5 19 votes
Article Rating
153 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tom Halla
January 4, 2022 6:05 am

Plus the cost of all new piping to handle hydrogen.

peter schell
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 4, 2022 6:24 am

Do they even have piping that can do it? I know they must have it for small scale set ups, but for entire grid? From supply source to the houses and the appliances it powers? I have no idea, but I’m guessing the appropriate piping would be far more expensive than what they use for NG.

Spetzer86
Reply to  peter schell
January 4, 2022 6:54 am

And you’d probably need to replace it more frequently.

James Bull
Reply to  peter schell
January 6, 2022 12:33 pm

The UK supply network has been undergoing an upgrade for a few years now with the replacement and or lining of metal with plastic and replacing valves and other equipment. In my area we’ve enjoyed road closures contraflow systems and diversions for the work to be done.

James Bull

chris Edwards
Reply to  James Bull
January 7, 2022 8:07 pm

Now do it all again because hydrogen leaks through natural gas pipes !

Tom
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 4, 2022 7:23 am

Please don’t start on the “we can’t pipeline hydrogen because of blah, blah, blah”. We already have commercial hydrogen pipelines.

Vuk
Reply to  Tom
January 4, 2022 7:38 am

Where do you think we would get all those billions of cubic feet of hydrogen to replace natural gas?

Natural Gas annual consumption by country
1 United States 27,243,858,000
2 Russia 15,538,246,850
3 China 6,738,151,620
5 Japan 4,364,157,070
6 Canada 4,053,420,385
8 Germany 2,872,839,935
11 United Kingdom 2,543,774,765
12 Italy 2,384,574,745

Last edited 21 days ago by Vuk
Roger
Reply to  Vuk
January 4, 2022 7:57 am

That hydrogen could be produced by electrolyis using electricity from gas-powered power stations. Easy!

Vuk
Reply to  Roger
January 4, 2022 8:22 am

Why not use the same said hydrogen to drive electricity generating stations to power electrolysis cells.
Thus induced positive feed back would produce unlimited amounts of energy.
With such novel technology approach who would need fusion.
p.s. Rog, you got a + from me.

Last edited 21 days ago by Vuk
Lil-Mike
Reply to  Roger
January 5, 2022 9:32 am

… at about 4% efficiency.

Tom
Reply to  Vuk
January 4, 2022 8:24 am

I never said anything about that.

Vuk
Reply to  Tom
January 4, 2022 8:38 am

I appreciator that, but there is not much of a sense having new hydrogen pipelines or using existing gas ones unless you have enough hydrogen to transport to consumers.

Tom
Reply to  Vuk
January 4, 2022 9:40 am

Still, I’m just saying you can’t rule out hydrogen because of supposed technical limitations on pipelining it; that’s just nonsense. Economics will determine if and when we use any hydrogen (outside of the chemical plants and refineries that already are).

TonyG
Reply to  Tom
January 4, 2022 1:35 pm

That’s about the same as saying “you can’t rule out colonizing pluto because of supposed technical limitations”. The technology may be there but it’s simply not feasable to do it.

chris Edwards
Reply to  Tom
January 7, 2022 8:11 pm

I suppose the fact that hydrogen atoms are so small they migrate through NG pipes is imaginary! Its a very stupid idea, look up deaths from NG explosions and then multiply by ten, and I don’t know if you can add a stench agent like they do with propane.

meab
Reply to  Tom
January 4, 2022 9:15 am

What you did say ignored the cost of upgrading 10s of thousands of miles of buried gas lines to deliver hydrogen that would be so expensive nobody would sign up for it. Just because a technology exists doesn’t mean it makes sense.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  meab
January 4, 2022 9:54 am

Would those hydrogen gas pipe lines be more vulnerable than existing natural gas pipe lines to terrorists? I have no idea- just curious.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  meab
January 5, 2022 8:19 am

In the UK they are trialling a blend of 20% hydrogen with natural gas in the village of Winlanton in NE England where 668 houses have been supplied with this blend since August 2021. In principle this blend is compatible with existing infrastructure. However if introduced across the entire UK network it would only produce about a 7% reduction in the grids emissions.

Higher concentrations of hydrogen would require not only significant network and infrastructure upgrades but also hydrogen specific appliances and boilers.

“The more you drill into it the more expensive and complicated it becomes and I think people are finally realising it doesn’t look good” (Richard Lowes, Researcher in Heat Decarbonisation, Exeter University.

https://hydrogen-central.com/hydrogen-heat-homes-uk-wired/

chris Edwards
Reply to  Dave Andrews
January 7, 2022 8:22 pm

Its great to see someone like Richard Lowes telling the truth! Anyone with a pre political education should know hydrogen is a non starter! Its a very dangerous gas for use in a house being colourless, odourless and burns with a barely visible pale blue flame! also while producing now oxides of carbon to feed the plants the liars pushing it saw the exhaust is pure water, but isn’t that only true when burned with only O2?

chris Edwards
Reply to  meab
January 7, 2022 8:12 pm

As wind, solar and EVs prove beyond a sane doubt.

chris Edwards
Reply to  Vuk
January 7, 2022 8:08 pm

Most hydrogen comes from natural gas, its an idea almost as stupid as wind generation for a stable grid!

peter schell
Reply to  Tom
January 4, 2022 8:13 am

Yeah, a whole 1600 kilometers in the entire U.S. That divided up among all the various facilities making in and using it.

Transporting gaseous hydrogen via existing pipelines is a low-cost option for delivering large volumes of hydrogen. The high initial capital costs of new pipeline construction constitute a major barrier to expanding hydrogen pipeline delivery infrastructure. Research today therefore focuses on overcoming technical concerns related to pipeline transmission, including:

  • The potential for hydrogen to embrittle the steel and welds used to fabricate the pipelines
  • The need to control hydrogen permeation and leaks
  • The need for lower cost, more reliable, and more durable hydrogen compression technology.
Tom
Reply to  peter schell
January 4, 2022 8:26 am

I’m just saying that is technically feasible to pipeline hydrogen at very high pressure and very high purity. Economics is something else.

MarkW
Reply to  Tom
January 4, 2022 9:03 am

If it’s not economic, then we can’t do it.

Tom
Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2022 9:14 am

I think what you mean is that if it’s not economic, we shouldn’t do it. We are already actually doing things that are not economical.

sturmudgeon
Reply to  Tom
January 4, 2022 7:52 pm

Exactly right! Beat me to it.

chris Edwards
Reply to  Tom
January 7, 2022 8:23 pm

Wind, solar and EVs and they are epic failures.

M Courtney
Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2022 9:22 am

If it’s not economic, then we shouldn’t do it.
There is nothing to say we will do what we should.

yirgach
Reply to  M Courtney
January 10, 2022 7:41 am

Just ask your mother…

G Mawer
Reply to  Tom
January 4, 2022 12:21 pm

Technically doable and feasible are two different things!

Streetcred
Reply to  G Mawer
January 4, 2022 2:50 pm

I was going to point out the same thing. “feasible” is a holistic construct embracing technological ‘do-ability’ and economics.
Why do erstwhile intelligent people think that because something can be achieved at basic test programme scale that it is now immediately ready for wide scale commercial application?
Whatever happened to all of the battery technology breakthroughs so breathlessly announced by universities and their sycophants in the media?

Last edited 21 days ago by Streetcred
chris Edwards
Reply to  Streetcred
January 7, 2022 8:34 pm

These breakthroughs are mostly tiny incremental increases in the inadequate energy density and the vast problem with batteries is a secret it seems, the charging efficiency is a disaster for EVs, a half hour charge is something like 17% efficient as any honest scientist or engineer should expect. A battery stores chemical energy and all chemical reactions produce waste heat. The Ev battery gas a highly combustable electrolyte so as well as the heat produced in the cells being charged or discharged thereat has to be removed by cooling, the Tesla liquid refrigerates the cells so you have a pump and refrigeration plant running on the charging current removing a few hundred Kw of heat, then you have both ends of the charging circuits , precisely monitoring the cells and supplying maximum safe current in DC from an AC supply, all done with semiconductors that get hot and need to be cooled to prevent thermal damage. I found an article from the supplier of the chargers in the UK they give the power input to charge 60Kw in 30 minutes as 360Kw, seems about correct, a 2 minute supercharge will be how much worse?. Yesterday wholesale electricity prices in Germany passed 500 euros a megawatt, or less that 3 Ev charges, when the drivers have to pay that no one will be able to sell their white elephants or their Tesla shares (Musk Knows he sold his)

BobM
Reply to  Tom
January 4, 2022 4:54 pm

Economics for a refinery are not in the same ballpark, same planet perhaps, as economics for homeowners.

MarkW
Reply to  Tom
January 4, 2022 9:02 am

Those pipes are expensive and for the most part very short runs.

Mason
Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2022 9:55 am

And mostly in Texas.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2022 9:59 am

Yes, hydrogen is typically produced very close to where it is used, because of the transport issues. A good example here in alberta is turning heavy oil into synthetic oil, hydrogen is produced right there beside the upgrader.

Jtom
Reply to  Tom
January 4, 2022 2:28 pm

“Gaseous hydrogen can be transported through pipelines much the way natural gas is today. Approximately 1,600 miles of hydrogen pipelines are currently operating in the United States.”

https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/hydrogen-pipelines

“The U.S. natural gas pipeline network is a highly integrated network that moves natural gas throughout the continental United States. The pipeline network has about 3 million miles of mainline and other pipelines that link natural gas production areas and storage facilities with consumers.”

https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/natural-gas/natural-gas-pipelines.php

1600 miles versus 3,000,000. I don’t think we’ll be seeing hydrogen pipelines in our neighborhoods for many, many decades.

BobM
Reply to  Jtom
January 4, 2022 4:55 pm

Thanks for the actual numbers and references.

Pfram
Reply to  Tom
January 5, 2022 7:49 am

There are currently 2 million miles of natural gas pipeline in the USA and only 1,600 miles for hydrogen, and that should be no surprise. Even with natural gas, leakage is a major problem, a problem that would get far worse with smaller hydrogen molecules. Hydrogen also embrittles the welds that hold steel pipelines together, shortening their useful life, so replacing them with reinforced plastic would soon be necessary. What is the argument for sending hydrogen through leaky pipes when the electric grid, (which could feed electrolysis stations wherever the electric power could not be used directly), would move the same energy much more efficiently?

Redge
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 4, 2022 10:43 am

Not to mention the additional cost of upgrading radiators

£5K won’t fo very far

Last edited 21 days ago by Redge
William Astley
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 4, 2022 5:57 pm

Plus the cost and energy to liquify and store liquefied hydrogen. Without the magic battery there will be months when there is insufficient electricity to produce the hydrogen and hence a capital asset that cannot work. German green energy is less than 40% efficient.

Therefore there needs to be a scheme/a mechanism to take energy increase and decreases and is not available for weeks and turn that it 24/7 on demand energy.

Left’s green plan is now again saying that the production of hydrogen using wind and sun generated energy will to be the magic battery.

The problem is there is too much green energy in the summer and not enough in the winter. Excess solar energy in the summer and not enough in the winter. Also there are in the winter long periods, with little wind.

ResourceGuy
January 4, 2022 6:23 am

Locking in high costs will do them no good. Public policy should not be a race to the bottom on competitiveness. You can’t all get rich as money managers and market manipulators.

Michael E McHenry
January 4, 2022 6:26 am

Hydrogen has been kicking around for a long time as a panacea. Here is an article from the Scientific American in 1973 titled The Hydrogen Economy https://www.jstor.org/stable/24922952

Steve Case
Reply to  Michael E McHenry
January 4, 2022 7:31 am

Thanks for that, somewhere the cellar I probably have a copy of that (-: Back then I had a subscription when Scientific American still covered science instead of politics.

Mike McHenry
Reply to  Steve Case
January 4, 2022 8:23 am

As did I. There were bought by Springer Nature and all changed

DCE
Reply to  Steve Case
January 5, 2022 4:42 am

Ah, yes, I remember those days. I still have a few copies of actual science topic SA around. Once they went political I canceled my subscription and told them that if I had wanted to read about politics I would subscribe to Time or Newsweek.

Streetcred
Reply to  Michael E McHenry
January 4, 2022 2:54 pm

BMW ran hydrogen fuelled test cars around Europe for over a decade before abandoning the programme.

David Roger Wells
January 4, 2022 6:54 am

I have no confidence in figures quoted for running a heat pump. An article in the Telegraph last year identified an elderly lady who had a heat pump fitted to a 3 bed terrace and in the first year she very near froze to death and the running cost was £1600. She had the heat pump removed the following year and installed a gas boiler.

Our gas boiler was condemned after 14 years just before Christmas and we had a new 18KW gas boiler installed complete with installation at £2375.00.

WATCH: As #COP26Glasgow opens, Laurence Fox says: “#NetZero will cost you everything” – YouTube To retrofit a heat pump for a small house the cost is £58,000. We leave the thermostat at 20C if we feel a bit chilly I notch it up by 1C.

A few months ago I had an information conversation with a local builder and coincidentally I mentioned heat pumps and he responded by saying he had recently fitted a heat pump to a local care home and it worked perfectly. I said but maximum you get from a heat pump is 50C no good for central heating where you need minimum 70C. He said 50C no the heat pump gets the water up to 40C but my solution which works was to fit a 1200 litre header tank fitted with an emersion heater to raise the water temperature to 70C. So now the care home has to pay four times the cost of gas for electricity 24/7 365 days of the year and run the most inefficient form of water heating an emersion heater 24/7 and he thinks heat pumps work.

The engineer who condemned our gas boiler when asked about heat pumps said I would fit whatever the customer wants its not my choice but for myself I wouldn’t fit a heat pump to my own house because they are more trouble than they are worth. If a client wants a heat pump I explain everything in detail including the need in most cases to build a room on the house – somewhere – to install all of the equipment needed – and once they see the cost and the disruption to retrofit they replace the gas boiler.

Vacillating about running cost comparisons is a red herring to retrofit a heat pump you more or less need to gut a house move out for a month at least. You need to electric boilers to replace one gas boiler capable of raising the temperature from 40C/50C for showers and baths and heating and carefully measure how much energy you take out of the heat pump system over a year otherwise there is nothing left for the next year. The running costs pale into insignificance when like EV’s you recognise the degree of planning and forethought needed to navigate an unnecessary and forbidding challenge.

Buy and EV instead of petrol or diesel get home from work put the EV on charge and at 3am you child has a fever and because the wind didn’t the grid sucked the life out of your EV battery to stop a blackout and because of Covid there is a six hour delay in a 999 response and you think its croup which demands an immediate response – Steven got croup as a child – you try to start the £50,000 EV and its dead. This whole episodic futile obsession with green virtue signalling promoted on the back of saving the planet is littered with vacuous misrepresentation and wishful thinking to mask the huge chasms which its promoters either don’t care to recognise or if recognised to protect their own sad reputations and legacy choose to ignore which characterises the misguided belief that your MP is there to represent you when once elected he or she either toes the line or gets ousted at the next election.

The level of corruption deceit and prevarication is endemic.

mark leigh
Reply to  David Roger Wells
January 4, 2022 7:07 am

Agree with all your points- it’s impractical dangerous nonsense…when we are an island sitting on masses of fuel.

Energy security is the bedrock of a modern society.

My only solace is that eventually these people will realise that unicorns and rainbows are not a substitute for engineering. I just hope not too much damage is caused meantime.

Streetcred
Reply to  mark leigh
January 4, 2022 2:58 pm

There are, unfortunately, many engineers and like professionals, who will embrace these unicorns and rainbows because a fee can be milked from them!

RickWill
Reply to  Streetcred
January 4, 2022 6:31 pm

Not many junior engineers focus on the big picture. It is the immediate challenge to make something work. They have been educated in a time when a fairy tale about “greenhouse effect” has been embedded in science texts.

Maybe before they retire, they will realise that they were misinformed.

The good news is that LNG and nuclear are gradually becoming green. I suspect green coal is not far away either.

sturmudgeon
Reply to  RickWill
January 4, 2022 8:01 pm

One would (should) think that engineers and potential engineers had abandoned ‘fairy tales’ long since… mathematics being a true science.

Reply to  sturmudgeon
January 4, 2022 10:34 pm

Mathematics is a true science – but it can tell you whether something is technically feasible, as another set of comments went back and forth about.

Economics, however, is – as the late Jerry Pournelle noted – a voodoo “science.”

Speed
Reply to  David Roger Wells
January 4, 2022 8:04 am

David Roger Wells wrote in part, “I explain everything in detail including the need in most cases to build a room on the house – somewhere – to install all of the equipment needed … “

Why build a room? I have had a heat pump (which we hated) and it took up the same space as the gas furnace that replaced it.

In any case, our neighborhood was built when no gas hookups were permitted (long story) so every house had either forced air electric resistance heat or a forced air heat pump. Once gas was permitted (after several years) all the heat pumps were replaced by gas as they wore out. All!

(We didn’t wait for ours to wear out)

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Speed
January 4, 2022 9:49 am

I don’t think I have ever seen a glowing report about a heat pump. They seem to be universally hated. And of couse, that’s what the leaders want to force on everyone.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Tom Abbott
January 4, 2022 12:39 pm

They work ok in some circumstances.

In Australia we use these a lot, but our winters are not very cold, and in summers we generally need a/c, so the reverse cycles work fine for us.

Where I live I also use one for heating the pool in winter, but then our winters are 15-20 C in the day, and sunny, so my shed where it’s housed reaches 30C inside. My cost for running it all day is very low compared to gas. I probably get 6 to 10x the heat energy from each kWh of electricity.

Horses for courses. In the UK and northern Europe, not a chance.

Speed
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
January 4, 2022 1:21 pm

Our heating system switched from heat pump to resistance heat when the temp went below about ten degrees F. So … the only time we really felt warm was when it was really cold outside.

Modern geothermal heat pumps are warmer/better and more economical to operate.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Speed
January 5, 2022 8:44 am

Good luck with installing geothermal heat pumps in densely populated towns and cities!

William Wilson
Reply to  David Roger Wells
January 4, 2022 10:14 am

That was an excellent piece. Now send it to every UK politician.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  William Wilson
January 4, 2022 12:40 pm

It would be like water off a duck’s back

Steve Taylor
Reply to  William Wilson
January 4, 2022 1:39 pm

Its got sums in it. They can’t do math, I don’t think there can be more than a handful of people in the UKP that have any science qualifications.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  David Roger Wells
January 4, 2022 12:32 pm

maximum you get from a heat pump is 50C no good for central heating where you need minimum 70C.

From my experience you’ll need at least 80C for hot water in care homes too (to avoid legionnaire’s disease).

Frank Hansen
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
January 4, 2022 1:51 pm

I got legionnaire’s decease in 2006 when the local pool lowered the water tank temperature in the showers to 70 degrees (Hillerød, Denmark). I barely survived.

DCE
Reply to  David Roger Wells
January 5, 2022 5:00 am

Part of the issue with heat pumps is whether they are extracting heat energy from the air or are using geothermal sinks/sources. Geothermal can be more energy efficient with the exchange coils being either buried or by using a well. A number of new municipal buildings in my home town used such a geothermal heat pump system. While the electrical demand was slightly higher than a non-geothermal system under some operating conditions, it was balanced out by the fact that fuel costs were zero and cooling was a lot more efficient than traditional air-exchange AC systems.

Spetzer86
January 4, 2022 6:55 am

But heat pumps work so well below 0C /sarc

griff
Reply to  Spetzer86
January 4, 2022 1:22 pm
H. D. Hoese
Reply to  griff
January 4, 2022 2:20 pm

From Griff’s article– “If the outdoor temperature drops too low for your heat pump to produce any heat, a backup may be required. This is unlikely to occur in the UK, however, heat pumps in countries such as Canada may need to rely on a backup. This can become expensive, so if you live in an extremely cold climate, a heat pump may not be the most efficient way to heat your home.”

I have had the most efficient heat pumps living on both the Texas and Louisiana coast and always needed backup as proven last winter, among others. The only reason that they a have been cost effective is that cooling is considerably more important with cheap electrical bills. Aren’t they just reverse coolers which also have problems at very high temperatures? If they are thermodynamically limited that should settle it for not much above thirty degrees, which is what I seem to recall is what we knew decades ago.

UNGN
Reply to  Spetzer86
January 4, 2022 5:52 pm

Super efficient Heat pumps all switching over to resistance heat at the same time helped take down the Texas power grid last Febuary. I have gas heat and would only need a few watts to run my fans, but no, I froze for 32 hours, waiting for a rolling blackout to roll my way for an hour.

David
Reply to  Spetzer86
January 4, 2022 9:41 pm

I live in a village in Sweden at 60 North. It gets down to -30C. Many houses have heat pumps. Some air, some geothermal.
Perhaps you need some Swedes to show you how to install and use them correctly

Lil-Mike
Reply to  David
January 5, 2022 9:46 am

Below 5C the heat pump requires resistive heating which uses 3x the power compared to phase change heating. This is all well and fine if your grid can handle the demand. We saw last year in Texas, that the grid could not handle the demand and failed.

DHR
January 4, 2022 6:58 am

So Scientific American sais hydrogen is an “ideal fuel?” Hardley. Read
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232983331_The_Future_of_the_Hydrogen_Economy_Bright_or_Bleak

Because of the properties of hydrogen, its use as a distributed fuel simply will not work. Far to much of its energy content will be consumed in distributing it to make it practical. Mr. Montford did not consider any such costs in his estimates.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  DHR
January 4, 2022 7:27 am

It is indeed expensive. There is discussion of this as part of this review of the REFHYNE PEM electrolyser project at the Shell Wesseling refinery. They are talking from practical experience.

https://refhyne.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/D7.2-report-v7.0-clean.pdf

Dudley Horscroft(@dudleyhorscroft)
Reply to  DHR
January 5, 2022 12:18 am

Although old, this is a superb deconstruction of the possible ways of using H2 as a major fuel supply.

Should be sent to every politician who has an open mind (half your luck) and is concerned with alternative fuels.

Though they leave out the possibility of hydrogen as a fuel in small localities, where long distance transport is not required.

Back in the 1950s, the UK had a large number of pipeline networks to supply hydrogen to homes. This was a low pressure system, so leaks were minimal, and easily detected by inserting a small proportion of odorant – often ethyl mercaptan.
Almost every small town had a “gas works” where coal was converted to hydrogen and carbon monoxide. This gas was scrubbed to remove impurities such as H2S, and NH3, and then delivered by pipe lines to “gas holders”. These were expandable and formed storages so that gas delivered from the works at a constant rate could be collected and then delivered as variable demand required at constant pressure. In houses, the hydrogen mixture was supplied to gas stoves for cooking and gas heaters. As “North Sea Gas” became available at a much cheaper rate, the gas works were discontinued, and the pipelines used for the transport of methane (CH4).

My father, on his retirement, objected to the daily collection of ashes used in the usual coal firs of the day, and had “small bore” gas heating installed. He swore that this should have been installed years before, and saved my mother the many hours spend cleaning the grates, and spreading the ashes on garden paths.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
January 8, 2022 9:51 pm

I grew up in a suburb of St. Louis, MO during the 1960s. We had a similar gas infrastructure, owned by Laclede Gas Company. As a kid, I used to marvel at the gas storage units every time we drove past them. They were a big cylindrical truss-work structure supporting a very large cylindrical tank with a hemispheric sector dome on top, the tank riding up and down on rails spaced equally around the supporting trusswork. The base of the assembly was an annular trough, as deep as the storage tank was tall, and filled with water. This sliding seal kept gas in while allowing the volume of the storage tank to change according to demand.

Back then, it was “towne gas”, a mixture of CO and H2 derived from steam reformation of coal from Peabody Coal in Illinois.

A commonly known method of suicide in those days was “sticking your head in the oven.” I didn’t realize until much later in life that this worked because of the carbon monoxide content of the gas.

Natural gas (methane) was a godsend.

Jeffery P
January 4, 2022 6:59 am

Hydrogen? Does anybody sell a practical hydrogen boiler for home heating? How about hydrogen infrastructure — production, transportation, storage? Is all that free?

Kevin kilty
January 4, 2022 7:10 am

A heat pump is not an energy source, just as hydrogen is not an energy source in the absense of a source of hydrogen. Hydrogen is simply a carrier of energy; the heat pump is simply a mechanical device that can move heat from a cold place to a warmer place with an input of work. Both require a real source of energy from some other place — like a coal fired power plant!

The figure of 2.54 is known in engineering as a coefficient of performance (COP) — not to be confused with any gala the royal family attend. We avoid using the word efficiency because COP has a value larger than 1, which might make some dim bulb at DOE (I am looking at you Jennifer Granholm) think you can amplify energy by using energy. Note the figure called an “efficiency” in the graph of 280%. What was calculated using this figure was an inference of electrical consumption needed to provide adequate heat for a home in the UK. COP is actually a fairly strong function of temperature difference between source of heat (air or ground) and the point of delivery. This is why heat pumps are advertised with a figure called SEER (seasonally adjusted energy efficiency rating) which is a calculated sort of COP using strange mixed units (BTU per hour/kilowatt) based on all sorts of assumptions. It is a model.

I have used two heat pumps to heat homes in two places (Washington and Wyoming), but only as an auxillary source to use in place of gas when the outside air was warm enough to put me below the cost crossover point between gas and electricity. But heat pumps, even when less costly than gas, have a couple of disadvantages that can’t be just calculated.

First, gas heats a plenum to high temperature, which has the air emerging at a comfortable temperature even with the breeze emerging from a vent. Using the same plenum with a heat pump will deliver heated air at a smaller temperature difference above the room set point and won’t feel so comfortable with the breeze it causes. Second, the heat input side of the heat pump runs at a very low temperature in order to draw heat from the source. If the air or ground is wet this leads to ice accumulation on the evaporator coils — pretty detrimental for an air source pump; less so for the ground sourced pump — and the pump will spend some of its effort ridding itself of this ice coating. This will depend on relative humidity. So even a modestly warm locale may have typical humidity so high that a heat pump is a poor choice.

Need I mention that I know of no thermostat smart enough to handle two heat sources (gas and heat pump) and make a switch from one to the other based on cost?

Last edited 21 days ago by Kevin kilty
Curious George(@moudryj)
Reply to  Kevin kilty
January 4, 2022 11:15 am

I heard about one of the first ground sourced heat pump home. The “ground” was the area under the house. Repeated icing and thawing shifted foundations of the house. They had to switch to a direct electric heating.

Last edited 21 days ago by Curious George
BillR
Reply to  Kevin kilty
January 4, 2022 2:43 pm

“…I know of no thermostat smart enough to handle two heat sources (gas and heat pump) and make a switch from one to the other based on cost?”

Mine does. But then, I am a controls guy and I designed and built my own control system. I did this not because it was cost effective, but because it was fun (electronics is a hobby of mine).

I live in South Carolina, and heat pumps work well here. But, we have nearly equal degree-cooling days and degree-heating days, so we need AC anyway. If you need significant AC, then for a little bit more money you can turn that into a heat pump that will also heat the house. At today’s fossil fuel prices this is usually cost effective.

My control system calculates the cost of running the heat pump based on the published efficiency curves (by the manufacturer), the cost of electricity, and the inside to outside differential temperature. The back-up is a condensing natural gas furnace (>95% AFUE). I enter the cost of electricity (cents / kwh) and the cost of gas (cents / therm) and the controller figures out which is cheaper to run. In 2020 the cost of gas was about 25% cheaper than it is today, so last year I hardly ran the heat pump. This year, the cost of gas is significantly higher than the cost of running the HP, even with outside temperature below freezing, so the HP is running a lot.

Air duct temperatures for HP with R410 normally run above 95 F. This is not “warm”, but neither is it “cold.” The actual duct temperature depends on the air flow which is controlled by a variable speed fan. Duct temperature for the NG furnace is usually near 105 F.

The less AC you need, the less you need a heat pump. At today’s NG prices, a 15 SEER heat pump will be cheaper to run for outside air temperature greater than about 25 F. In the northern states it makes no sense at all.

-BillR

Kevin kilty
Reply to  BillR
January 4, 2022 7:05 pm

Very cool. yes, aslong as you need AC anyway the reversing valve adds only about 10% to the cost.

sturmudgeon
Reply to  BillR
January 4, 2022 8:10 pm

Good info… Thanks.

Paul
Reply to  Kevin kilty
January 4, 2022 4:21 pm

I agree that there is a noticeable difference between the heat temp from gas as opposed to the heat from a heat pump. I’ve had both & with a heat pump I always seem to have to have an extra shirt or a sweater on when it gets cold. The air coming from the heat pump ducts is not as warm as the air coming from gas ducts.

sturmudgeon
Reply to  Paul
January 4, 2022 8:19 pm

Being VERY “rural”, I heat with wood (from my own 20 acres) of which I have quite a source because of a fire through our area which left hundreds of standing deadwood… in addition, acreage surrounding ours is a future supply (permission granted) many times that on our acreage. My labor costs are restricted to my ongoing Health, and the cost of the tools needed… I piped my home for Propane, when the time comes I am unable (or unwilling) to continue ‘harvesting’ (age 86 and very healthy). Blessed, indeed.

TonyG
Reply to  sturmudgeon
January 5, 2022 7:41 am

because of a fire through our area which left hundreds of standing deadwood

That had to have been a bit nerve-wracking.

January 4, 2022 7:15 am

If you want to get energy out of hydrogen economically without having to produce new industries or distribution systems, burn natural gas. It burns clean, producing four molecules of water for every single molecule of carbon dioxide.

I have a hybrid system for heating and cooling at my house. It is a heat pump backed up by a natural gas furnace for when the outside air drops below heat pump efficient operating temperatures. The electricity to run the heat pump can be less if the power company burns natural gas to produce it. The power company tells me each month that I have an energy efficient house. My combined gas and electric bill is relatively low.

In the US we are blessed with a lot of natural gas. So build more storage and pipelines and “frack on”.

PCman999
January 4, 2022 7:19 am

Would make infinite more sense, if CO2 emissions really did drive temps to a bad level, to keep using natural gas and grow more trees and other plants. Better our tax money goes to greening the whole Sahara, say, than flushed down the toilet of Rube-Goldberg-inspired green ‘solutions’. At least we won’t freeze to death or have a huge pile of e-waste to deal with when the turbines and panels wear out.

Andyhce
Reply to  PCman999
January 4, 2022 5:08 pm

You are trying to bypass the entire real reason for those Rube-Goldberg facilities — government assured profit.

January 4, 2022 7:28 am

The rest of the world awaits this experiment by the EU and UK. Thanks a million.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Anti_griff
January 4, 2022 9:54 am

Yes, show us what will happen when idiots run the energy sector.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Anti_griff
January 4, 2022 1:27 pm

Yes, thanks; the world needs crash-test dummies.

Thomas Gasloli
January 4, 2022 7:37 am

All of this is based on the false idea that everything we do now is wrong and must be replaced by a “solution” that was rejected in the process of coming to do what we are doing now.

Electric cars & heat were rejected for a reason. Wind mills and water mills were replaced by fossil fuels for a reason.

Going technologically backwards is not progress.

philincalifornia
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
January 4, 2022 8:28 am

Going technologically backwards is actually progress to a progressive. They’re a strange tribe. They call themselves liberal too.

Andyhce
Reply to  philincalifornia
January 4, 2022 5:09 pm

liberally dealing death to the less desirable multitudes.

Willem Post
January 4, 2022 7:41 am

EXCERPT from:

HEAT PUMPS ARE MONEY LOSERS IN MY VERMONT HOUSE, AS THEY ARE IN ALMOST ALL NEW ENGLAND HOUSES
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/heat-pumps-are-money-losers-in-my-vermont-house-as-they-are-in

I installed three heat pumps by Mitsubishi, rated 24,000 Btu/h at 47F, Model MXZ-2C24NAHZ2, each with 2 heads, each with remote control; 2 in the living room, 1 in the kitchen, and 1 in each of 3 bedrooms. 
The HPs have DC variable-speed, motor-driven compressors and fans, which improves the efficiency of low-temperature operation.
The HPs last about 15 years. Turnkey capital cost was $24,000 
http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-co2-reduction-of-HPs-is-based-on-misrepresentations

My Well-Sealed, Well-Insulated House 

The HPs are used for heating and cooling my 35-y-old, 3,600 sq ft, well-sealed/well-insulated house, except the basement, which has a near-steady temperature throughout the year, because it has 2” of blueboard, R-10, on the outside of the concrete foundation and under the basement slab, which has saved me many thousands of space heating dollars over the 35 years.
 
I do not operate my HPs at 15F or below, because HPs would become increasingly less efficient with decreasing temperatures. 
The HP operating cost per hour would become greater than of my efficient propane furnace. See table 3

High Electricity Prices

Vermont forcing, with subsidies and/or GWSA mandates, the build-outs of expensive RE electricity systems, such as wind, solar, batteries, etc., would be counter-productive, because it would: 

1) Increase already-high electric rates and 
2) Worsen the already-poor economics of HPs (and of EVs)!!
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-solar-and-battery-systems

RickWill
Reply to  Willem Post
January 4, 2022 6:47 pm

1) Increase already-high electric rates and 

This is not a consideration until it becomes an election issue. The test is how much hip pocket pain the average voter is prepared to accept.

Mark D
January 4, 2022 7:42 am

I’ve been in HVAC/R since 1971. If you have family or friends you never get to retire…..

I’m at 40 north/USA. I installed a conventional heat pump with electric strip heaters in my current home because it was expedient at the time. It was that or LPG. I don’t like it, it is was more expensive than nat gas to operate but then nat gas isn’t available to me. It has been reliable but then it was installed with great care by a highly motivated user. 😉

Eventually I will add a LPG furnace and standby generator to compliment it.

IMO below 35 north they are a decent way to heat and cool. Above not so much.

I don’t feel it reasonable to categorically praise or condemn the idea. Application specific conditions should determine suitability. Not any “green energy” insanity.

My 2cents.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Mark D
January 4, 2022 9:45 am

I agree with you, except to say that your local electrical rates and ground surface elevation also come into consideration. In Washington I got electrical energy from Merwin Dam at 2.5 cents per kWhr — that was twenty years ago and I have no idea what those folks pay now. Also, high elevation correlates with low wintertime temperatures at nearly any latitude.

If a home has/needs central air and already uses forced air, then adding the reversing valve to make the A/C act as a heat pump is a cheap addition. I added one for around $300 in 1996.

Willem Post
January 4, 2022 7:43 am

EXCERPT from:

HEAT PUMPS REDUCE VERY LITTLE CO2 IN MY VERMONT HOUSE, AS THEY DO IN ALMOST ALL NEW ENGLAND HOUSES
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/heat-pumps-are-money-losers-in-my-vermont-house-as-they-are-in

PART 1

Energy Cost Reduction Due to HPs is Minimal 
 
– HP electricity consumption was from my electric bills
– Vermont electricity prices, including taxes, fees and surcharges, are about 20 c/kWh.
– My HPs provide space heat to 2,300 sq ft, about the same area as an average Vermont house 
– Two small propane heaters (electricity not required) provide space heat to my 1,300 sq ft basement
– I operate my HPs at temperatures of 15F and greater; less $/h than propane
– I operate my traditional propane system at temperatures of 15F and less; less $/h than HP

– My average HP coefficient of performance, COP, was 2.64
– My HPs required 2,489 kWh to replace 35% of my fuel. 
– My HPs would require 8,997 kWh, to replace 100% of my fuel.

– The average Vermont house COP is about 3.34
– The average Vermont house requires 2,085 kWh to replace 27.6% of its fuel, per VT-DPS/CADMUS survey. See URL

https://afdc.energy.gov/files/u/publication/fuel_comparison_chart.pdf
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41597-019-0199-y
https://acrpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/HeatPumps-ACRPC-5_20.pdf

Before HPs: I used 100 gal for domestic hot water + 250 gal for 2 stoves in basement + 850 gal for Viessmann furnace, for a total propane of 1,200 gal/y
 
After HPs: I used 100 gal for DHW + 250 gal for 2 stoves in basement + 550 gal for Viessmann furnace + 2,489 kWh of electricity.

My propane cost reduction for space heating was 850 – 550 = 300 gallon/y, at a cost of 2.339/gal = $702/y
My displaced fuel was 100 x (1 – 550/850) = 35%, which is better than the Vermont average of 27.6%
My purchased electricity cost increase was 2,489 kWh x 20 c/kWh = $498/y

My energy cost savings due to the HPs were 702 – 498 = $204/y, on an investment of $24,000!!

Amortizing Heat Pumps 

Amortizing the $24,000 turnkey capital cost at 3.5%/y for 15 years costs about $2,059/y.
This is in addition to the amortizing of my existing propane system. I am losing money.
https://www.myamortizationchart.com

Other Annual Costs

There likely would be service calls and parts for the HP system, as the years go by.
This is in addition to the annual service calls and parts for my existing propane system. I am losing more money.

Vuk
Reply to  Willem Post
January 4, 2022 9:28 am

Unless you took 15 year 0% interest loan, when you take into account inflation you are losing even more money.

RickWill
Reply to  Willem Post
January 4, 2022 6:52 pm

I am losing more money.

But are you saving the planet yet?

Pat Smith
January 4, 2022 7:47 am

So average house uses 15,000kWhr/yr. With 8760 hours in the year, that is an average of 1.7kW of heating throughout the year. 27 million homes = 46GW needs to be supplied by the national grid. Zero in the summer and twice this during the winter (90GW?), more in cold spells(100+GW??). The current total demand on the national grid peaks at about 45GW in the evenings. Then we have the cars. 33 million cars and 5 million vans / lorries get home at 6pm and plug in, each taking 5-10 kW to re-charge – another 100+GW. It begins to add up.

Pochas94
January 4, 2022 7:56 am

I have it figured. Energy policy is being written by college dropouts.

Jeffery P
Reply to  Pochas94
January 4, 2022 8:22 am

Ha! I wish. Unfortunately, energy policy is being written by graduates or our finest elite educational institutions. None of them majored in science, engineering or math, though.

griff
January 4, 2022 8:13 am

A poll covering 5,000 or so elderly right wing pensioners (for that is who reads the Express, the paper which for years maintained the late Duke of Edinburgh had Princess Di assassinated) is not typical of the wider UK population.

Bill Toland
Reply to  griff
January 4, 2022 8:35 am

Griff, I notice that you are not denying any of the figures used in the article. All you have are personal attacks on people who will have to pay for the heat pump insanity.

griff
Reply to  Bill Toland
January 4, 2022 1:18 pm

The first item in this post was the survey, so I commented on that.

and clearly it is a very biased sample.

I will say I don’t believe the UK govt intends to rip out all boilers – much more likely it will inject 20% hydrogen into the gas grid and run existing boilers on that mix…

so we are mostly talking heat pumps in new, likely very much more insulated property – I believe 2 sets of regulations about new UK properties and energy use are due by 2025…

so much more likely heat pumps will deliver in those insulated properties

Bill Toland
Reply to  griff
January 5, 2022 2:09 am

Griff, a new house which is very well insulated would be heated much better and more cheaply with a gas boiler than a heat pump. So you still don’t have a case for heat pumps.

Last edited 21 days ago by Bill Toland
Bill Toland
Reply to  griff
January 5, 2022 2:17 am

Griff, you stated that you don’t believe that the British government intends to rip out all gas boilers. New gas boilers will be banned from 2035 in any house. In the future, perhaps you should do some research before you post.

New gas boilers to be banned from 2035 in latest decarbonisation push (cityam.com)

Dave Andrews
Reply to  griff
January 5, 2022 9:08 am

If the whole UK gas network was switched to 20% hydrogen it would only reduce emissions from the grid by 7% so would all the infrastructure to manufacture the hydrogen be worth the cost?

https://hydrogen-central.com/hydrogen-heat-homes-uk-wired/

Redge
Reply to  griff
January 5, 2022 9:58 am

The new rules start in June 2022

My nephew is a plumber who will install heat pumps but is advising people to replace their gas boilers before the 2035 deadline instead

He’s a decent and honest bloke, bit like his uncle 😉

Redge
Reply to  griff
January 4, 2022 10:56 am

It’s not often I agree with you Griff mate, but the Express is as bad a rag as the Guardian.

I do hope the next time you mention a poll of climate activists, you will remember what you said about this poll

BTW, I don’t read the Express. I wouldn’t have a heat pump “upgrade” in my house because to do so would mean replacing all my radiators to suit the low output of heat pumps.

What sort of heating do you have?

Disputin
Reply to  Redge
January 4, 2022 11:46 am

Strangely enough, you have not got a reply from Griff!

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Redge
January 5, 2022 9:17 am

Not only would you need to install larger radiators, you would likely have to have an additional immersion heater for hot water and large amounts of extra insulation.

Much UK housing stock is old and not very well built and completely beyond the experience of those who are pushing these things

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  griff
January 4, 2022 12:49 pm

You and your CAGW Doomsday Death Cult acolytes must be grinning from ear to ear at the prospect of so many elderly and poor people dying of cold. The 33% increases in electricity costs via green taxes to pay for your boondoggles, so making electricity even less affordable, is just icing on the cake for you.

There will be a special place in hell for people like you. And it will be COLD.

Last edited 21 days ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
griff
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
January 4, 2022 1:19 pm

Those ‘green taxes’ include a component which subsidises OAPs on heating costs…

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  griff
January 4, 2022 5:20 pm

Typical socialist logic. Tax the plebs, then give them subsidies so that they don’t die. That makes them dependent upon the state.

Then remove the subsidies!

Redge
Reply to  griff
January 5, 2022 9:54 am

That’s not true, mate, the fuel allowance was introduced in 1997 long before the green taxes and is only given to pensioners who were born before September 1955

William Wilson
January 4, 2022 10:03 am

Any chemist will tell you it takes 96,500 coulombs to produce 1 gram of hydrogen and there is no way of reducing that.

Ed Zuiderwijk
January 4, 2022 10:14 am

I’m looking at a hydrogen boiler made by Hindenburg Inc.

Mark D
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
January 4, 2022 10:21 am

Why would you want to boil hydrogen? 😉

Disputin
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
January 4, 2022 11:48 am

Mark D hasn’t picked it up, but I love it!

Stephen Richards
January 4, 2022 10:34 am

My friend in Sth Wales UK would be over the moon at £800 / year for his heat pump. He is currently paying £800 / quarter

Duane
January 4, 2022 10:40 am

The value of hydrogen is NOT as a combustion fuel, wherein most of the energy produced is wasted as exhaust heat, but as an energy source and transport mechanism for fuel cells which produce relatively little waste heat. In which case hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are far more fuel efficient, and cheaper to fuel, than any internal combustion engine using hydrocarbon fuels including compressed natural gas.

The GGE (gallon of gas equivalent) for hydrogen used in FCVs is around $1 – less than 1/3 that of gasoline.

Rob
Reply to  Duane
January 4, 2022 12:02 pm

The weight of the pressure vessel needed to store sufficient hydrogen makes it even less efficient than battery energy storage (quite apart from the explosion risk in a collision). LNG has pretty much died as a fuel source in vehicles even in countries where gas is cheap for the same reasons – the tank fills the storage space and no-one will let you park an LNG vehicle in an underground car park.

For transport, you need high energy density and rapid refilling – fuels which liquid at ambient temperature. Methanol as a hydrogen source for fuel cells appeared to be an option some years ago, but appears to have fallen off the radar.

Does anyone know if this still being developed anywhere?

I once saw a fuel-cell laptop PC powered by a cigarette lighter sized methanol cartridge, but that was before NiMH batteries.

Duane
Reply to  Rob
January 4, 2022 12:50 pm

Nope not true at all. The fuel tank may be relatively heavy (though not that heavy because they’re generally made of carbon fiber, not steel), but the weight of the tank is offset by the miniscule weight of fuel compared to either gasoline powered vehicles or EVs. For most FCVs it only takes 3 kg (less than 7 pounds) of hydrogen to power the vehicle for an equivalent range that any gas powered car can drive, or significantly more than any EV. The weight of gasoline to power a ICV that gets 30 mpg for a range of 400 miles is 80 pounds, but most cars today have 16 gallon tanks and the operator would normally fill the tank entirely, so 96 pounds of fuel … plus the weight of the tank itself of around 30 pounds, so a total for fuel tank and gasoline of about 126 pounds.

Then you have to factor in the weight of the fuel cell vs. the weight of the engine. A fuel cell only weighs about 126 pounds vs. a typical engine and transmission weight for a ICV of similar capacity of about 340 pounds for the engine plus oil and coolant, and another 260 pounds for an auto transmission – both of which are unnecessary in a FCV. A FCV also includes a relatively small battery pack – much lighter than a EV.

The bottom line is the total empty weight of the vehicles.

A Honda Clarity FCV, which is a mid sized sedan, weighs in at 3,528 pounds. A similarly sized Honda Accord sedan with auto trans weighs in at 3,428 pounds.

A similarly sized Tesla Model S, also a mid sized 5-door with the long range battery pack sedan weighs 4,960 pounds.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Duane
January 4, 2022 2:56 pm

Re: Honda Clarity FCV:

At present this appears to be an option for selected California locations only. There is a cluster of H2 fueling stations in The Los Angeles and San Francisco metro areas, along with a few in San Diego. But nothing north of Chico or in the eastern half of the state. Looking at a report of all hydrogen fueling stations in the US, the only operational one outside of California is in Hawaii.

Planned for June or July 2022 are:

  • 2 in Connecticut
  • 2 in Massachussets
  • 1 in New York
  • 1 in Ohio
  • 1 in Rhode Island

At an EPA estimated range of 360 miles, you can’t exactly “See the USA in your Clar-i-tay”. In fact you can’t even make it from San Francisco to Los Angeles without topping off in between.

In terms of range anxiety, this is much worse that battery EVs.

And you’re not saving money either.

According to this source:

How much is a gallon of hydrogen fuel?

Hydrogen fuel prices range from $12.85 to more than $16 per kilogram (kg), but the most common price is $13.99 per kg (equivalent on a price per energy basis to $5.60 per gallon of gasoline), which translates to an operating cost of $0.21 per mile.

That’s about three times the cost per mile of my Toyota Avalon hybrid and almost double that of the standard V6 Avalon.

And depending on the source of the H2, you might not be saving any CO2 emissions either.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Duane
January 4, 2022 5:23 pm

the weight of the tank is offset by the miniscule weight of fuel compared to either gasoline powered vehicles or EV

I think you’ll find that the energy density of hydrogen is way, way lower than pretty much any sensible source of energy.

RickWill
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
January 4, 2022 7:06 pm

energy density of hydrogen is way, way lower

Hydrogen 142MJ/kg
Gasoline 44MJ/kg

Fuel cell conversion efficiency about 80%. ICE conversion efficiency about 25%.

Overall hydrogen/fuel cell an oder of magnitude higher than gasoline/ICE. That is before adding the weight of the storage vessel, which will be higher for hydrogen than gasoline.

Hydrogen is a high septic energy energy carrier but economic containment is a significant hurdle.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  RickWill
January 4, 2022 9:15 pm

Per kg, perhaps, but my idea of density is per litre.

I guess that does invalidate my opposition to your argument that hydrogen is less weight, so I concede.

John_C
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
January 5, 2022 5:15 pm

Of course, you’ll want to see how long your fuel remains in the tank. I can leave a tank of gasoline in my car for 3 months and I will still have a full tank when I get back. Using a fiber reinforced composite tank to hold hydrogen gas, I suspect that 3 months on my tank would be near empty.
In general: H2 gas is 22.4 litres per gram at 1 Bar and 0C, and you’d probably want at least 200 Bar in the tank, so call it 1/(22.4l/400*1000g) = .009 kg/litre vs @ 20C 0.659 kg/liter for methane. Over 70 times the mass per unit volume. Even though there’s only 4H from each 16 mw (means it’s only 25% Hydrogen) there is still 17+ times more energy per unit volume before adding tankage. Does your hydrogen device get 17 times more power per kg? If not, the methane fuel tank will be smaller, less expensive, safer, ad infinitum.

John_C
Reply to  John_C
January 5, 2022 5:34 pm

Errors in calc: Methanol is the liquid I should use, 820kg/l. 3 H in 32 mw or 10% H. 820 * 0.1 = 82 kg/l hydrogen vs hydrogen (9g per litre at 200 Bar. At 1000 Bar {Ocean Trench pressure} 45g/liter, 10,000 Bar {gun chamber pressure} 0.45 kg/liter) or 180 times more Hydrogen per unit volume.

Rob
Reply to  Duane
January 5, 2022 8:34 am

Thank you for these numbers and I am pleasantly surprised to see the comparison of the Clarity with a standard ICE vehicle. I still feel that a tank of pressurized gas in a vehicle is not ideal compared to a fuel source that is liquid at ambient temperature and pressure.

Alan, below you report that there are H2 fuelling stations in Cal – do you know how long does it take to fill up? My experiences with LNG are that this is pretty slow (and we were not allowed to sit in the car while it was filling).

What increase in weight is there for the rectifier that produces Hydrogen from methanol? I would still like to know if there is any further development in using methanol in a fuel cells because the economics of producing and distributing methanol are much better then Hydrogen as a gas.

DCE
Reply to  Duane
January 5, 2022 10:55 am

FCVs also require a battery pack, much like hybrids, since fuel cells can’t ramp up quickly enough for reasonable acceleration. It doesn’t require a large pack like an electric vehicle, just enough of one to provide a large slug of current to the motors to accelerate, to accept regeneration energy from braking, and power to run the various electronics and accessory systems (headlights, wipers, fans, heating, cooling, power windows, etc.)

Tom
January 4, 2022 11:11 am

Given that there is already a substantial industrial demand for high purity hydrogen, until we see that demand being supplied by electrolyzers, there would seem to be little likelihood of green hydrogen becoming a widely used source of energy outside of that sphere.

Walter Sobchak
January 4, 2022 11:49 am

Scalded? by what. heat pumps can’t scald you. They do about lukewarm. They are onlky suitable for places where the lowest temperatures are above freezing and they get substantial use as A/C in the summer.

In England they might get by with heat pumps in the winter but they won’t get enough use out of them in the summer to justify the expense. Resistance heat would probably be cheaper to install and use.

Leave heat pumps for people in South Carolina.

Geoffrey Williams
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
January 4, 2022 4:47 pm

Surely heat pumps in the winter will be much less efficent and more expesive to run.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Geoffrey Williams
January 4, 2022 5:25 pm

Yes, but you don’t want heat in the summer.

Well, supposedly. In my experience heat in English summers is required, unless they have a ‘heatwave’ of 25C, but I’m used to being warm.

Last edited 21 days ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
January 4, 2022 12:19 pm

Comparing costs like this is not a sensible way of dealing with this. The cost element having been thoroughly corrupted by legal and financial manipulations.

First one must establish how much energy is expended by each to provide sufficient reliable energy to heat the property adequately. This being in the provision of the capital assets, ongoing maintenance etc. Only then can one apply the cost factor which would be going rate for the domestic supply across the board plus any any subsidies covert or otherwise applicable; the consumer and the taxpayer being the same person.

Philo
January 4, 2022 1:02 pm

The hydrogen honey’s seem to have forgotten that it was tried years ago because of its clean burning. They learned how explosive it could be. The Hindenburg was the last big hydrogen disaster,allowing for hydrogen accidents that still occur in refineries.

One reason methane(natural gas) were cheaper, safer, and much easier to handle hydrogen or water-gas(usually a mix of carbon monoxide and hydrogen) which is made as a reactant in refineries. It once was piped out to customers for heating homes and buildings but was almost as dangerous as hydrogen.

The reason our economy is as safe as it is comes from futuristic thinkers coming up with creative solutions such as all metal airliners instead of zeppelins.

Walter Sobchak
January 4, 2022 2:10 pm

Burned? The cost and risk (Hindenburg) of using elemental hydrogen are notorious. The only sensible thing to do with hydrogen is combine it with nitrogen to make ammonia or combine it with carbon to make hydrocarbons.

Ammonia has a number of advantages.

Ammonia can be stored, and delivered at a much lower cost than hydrogen which must be kept compressed or as a cryogenic liquid.  Ammonia’s energy density by volume is nearly double that of liquid hydrogen.

Ammonia has been proposed as a fuel for internal combustion engines. Its high octane rating of 120 and low flame temperature allows the use of high compression ratios without a penalty of high NOx production. Since ammonia contains no carbon, its combustion cannot produce carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, or soot.

Rocket engines have also been fueled by ammonia. The Reaction Motors XLR99 rocket engine that powered the X-15 hypersonic research aircraft used liquid ammonia.

Ammonia can be decomposed into nitrogen and elemental hydrogen, which can be turned into electricity by hydrogen fuel cells.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammonia

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
January 4, 2022 3:17 pm

I mentioned combining the hydrogen with carbon. Clearly using carbon from coal or petroleum is an insult to Gaia. Das ist Verboten! Perhaps you could obtain carbon by cooking trash, municipal waste, agricultural by products, forest byproducts, and other organic sources. Arguably it would be “carbon neutral”.

Of course if the idea threatened to work, warmunists would condem it. Remember the knots they have tied themselves into worrying about cow farts, which are purely the product of good carbon from grass.

Incidentally, the ash from that process will have a very high content of metal oxides which will happily suck CO2 from the air to make themselves into carbonates.

Geoffrey Williams
January 4, 2022 3:20 pm

Heat pumps are powered by electricity of course, what else?
So in order to be green they need renewable electricity from solar or wind, good luck with that.
Regarding the suitability of heat pumps one has to consider the required applications ;
1. Domestic hot water.
2. Domestic heating.
Naturally domestic hot water is required all year round. But heat pumps can only transfer heat from the heat exchanger located outside down to the outside temperature. In uk winter say 5-10 degC this is an issue when bath water is required at say 65 deg. The make up has to come from an immersion heater. In summer not so much of a problem.
Domestic heating likewise requires water temps of 65 deg to warm a room with piped radiators. Again outside air temps mean little heat is available from the heat exchanger.
Somehow I cannot see heat pumps being anthing but more expensive than gas boilers.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Geoffrey Williams
January 4, 2022 5:28 pm

In uk winter say 5-10 degC

So, during a ‘heatwave’?

Geoffrey Williams
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
January 4, 2022 8:30 pm

Uk heat wave is 25 degC . .

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Geoffrey Williams
January 4, 2022 9:16 pm

In summer. In winter, no.

Boris
January 4, 2022 10:00 pm

I worked in a plant that produced Hydrogen as a byproduct in great amounts. Most of it was vented out of 3 ft. wide stacks into the atmosphere. Some was drawn off and sent to a Hydrogen compressor and the after it was up to pressure it was burned in an acid burner to produce HCL acid.

The first problem encountered was trying to keep this little molecule in the pipes. This gas will leak out of every flange and connection that there is. This caused a build up of gas inside the building and even though there was adequate ventilation pockets of gas would ignite and remove the walls from this building with great regularity. The solution was to insulate and heat trace all of the piping and the equipment and just leave the walls off.

Hydrogen loves to em-brittle all metals it touches. The engineers designing this Hydrogen system thought that Stainless Steel would work for a lot of the sensing lines and instrumentation. Nope these stainless lines would break after time if there was any vibration on them. Due diligence and timely line replacements were the only solution.Forget anything steel in contact as it would crack and fail quicker than the stainless.

Hydrogen has a very low explosive limit and the amount of energy that it takes to get it to light off is also very low. One winter day we had wet snow blowing around and there was a loud thump heard coming from the Hydrogen plant section. When we arrived there to see what had blown up this time we found that 3 ft exhaust stack was merrily burning away with a 20 foot tall by 3 foot blue flame from the Hydrogen vent stream. The static electricity from the wet snow hitting the stack was enough to cause ignition. The engineers had thought that lightning would be a problem and had supplied us with a 6″ steam snuff line to this stack to put out any fires. We were able to put this fire out by applying this steam snuff and then switching the vent supply to a backup stack.

I am sure that all of these useless idiots pushing Hydrogen as the next fuel to replace fossil fuels have NO clue as to what it takes to actually try and use this gas but like everything else they do virtual signaling is better than reality. it will almost be as comical as watching battery banks in electric cars catching on fire as they are charging in parking garages.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Boris
January 5, 2022 12:31 am

pockets of gas would ignite and remove the walls from this building with great regularity

That’s a very subtle way of describing something very dramatic! 🤣

Tom
Reply to  Boris
January 5, 2022 4:41 am

Boris- Not sure what kind of plant you worked in, but I worked in petroleum refineries, that produce and use a lot of hydrogen at very high pressures and very high purities. None of what you said bears any resemblance to how things work with hydrogen in an oil refinery. I agree that hydrogen in an enclosed space is a problem. However, hydrogen is very light so will not “pocket” as you describe it. Due to its low molecular weight in will disperse very quickly if given a chance. It does not cause embrittlement of the piping as you describe. Keeping leaks to a minimum is not a problem either.

John_C
Reply to  Tom
January 5, 2022 5:44 pm

Tom, you were working with proper materials and proper (for H2) design. I suspect Boris was dealing with a bodged together plant. You need to have venting to ensure the H2 can rise, most fuel vapors sink. Iron based pipe is always problematic, most refinery piping uses special alloys with as little iron as possible, or completely non-ferrous alloys. As far as keeping leaks to a minimum, isn’t that giving away the game? In other fluid work, you would say stopping the leaks is not a problem. Only with hydrogen (and perhaps helium) do you accept that you cannot stop the pipes from leaking.

Boris
Reply to  Tom
January 6, 2022 3:48 pm

It was a Caustic and Chlorine plant that had Hydrogen production as a byproduct of the electrolysis of Salt and water. The concentration of Hydrogen in that part of the plant was around 95% with the rest taken by water vapor. All of the main piping in that part of the plant for the Hydrogen was FRP (fiberglass reinforced pipe) pipe as most of it was at low pressure. The Hydrogen were using was very wet in all of the processes.

Combining the Hydrogen and the Chlorine in an uncontrolled manner caused a massive explosion which ripped apart two of the 180 ft long concrete “Cells” where the electrolysis process was done. A Vacuum instrument failed to register the proper vacuum inside these cells and the control valve went wide open to the point that the two gasses combined.

Tom
January 5, 2022 4:45 am

Citing the Hindenburg as a reason not to use hydrogen is absurd.

josh scandlen
January 5, 2022 5:38 am

how warm do heat pumps make a home? is it drafty? I like my house nice and warm, using natural gas. using electricity for heating sounds like it keeps you warm enough not to be miserable but not very satisfying.

Pfram
January 5, 2022 7:32 am

I didn’t know anyone was considering hydrogen as fuel for boilers. Even electric resistance heating would be more efficient than using the electricity to make hydrogen, then converting it back into heat. But they make heat-pump water heaters which could easily extract heat from the outside air and utilize the radiators and piping that are already in most British houses. I suspect that the most efficient solution would be to leave the gas boilers as is and simply apply external insulation (with a few other changes like recovery ventilators and optimized refrigerators to make insulated houses bearable in the summer) to the houses themselves. Gadgets like heat pumps and solar panels have a very limited lifespan while properly installed insulation can last indefinitely.

TomB(@dragineez)
January 5, 2022 10:13 am

The thought of using heat pumps in northern Europe strikes me as sheer insanity. They don’t work particularly well in the mid-Atlantic states in the US. Widespread implementation significantly north of that does not seem wise.

%d bloggers like this: