Hydrogen bubbles forming on the negative terminal of a battery in a glass of salt water. The process is horrendously inefficient, most of the energy in the battery is wasted. Do not try this at home - if you do this for more than a few seconds, things can get very messy, as the battery package can rapidly corrode and rupture, and spill chemical nasties. The salt contaminated battery is also a fire hazard.

“… Government grants and loans and high diesel prices help make hydrogen competitive …”

Essay by Eric Worrall

h/t rhs; I was so wrong – if every business gets a government grant, then everyone can take advantage of subsidised green hydrogen /sarc.

Australia Goes All-in on Green Hydrogen > Juggernaut or boondoggle—it’s too soon to tell

Juggernaut or boondoggle—it’s too soon to tell

25 DEC 2022

Today, 28 heavy-duty diesel-powered trucks operate at the Townsville refinery. When ships arrive at port with zinc concentrate, or tie up to take on zinc ingots, the rigs haul triple-trailers and loop the 30 km from port to plant and back nonstop for as many as eight days. Time is money, says Kim, because occupying a berth in port can cost a whopping AUS $22,000 (US $13,800) a day. Even if a battery-powered truck could handle the refinery’s 140,000-tonne loads, Kim says his company couldn’t afford to wait for batteries to recharge. 

In 2021, Ark Energy took a stake in Hyzon Motors, one of the few firms working on ultraheavy trucks powered by fuel cells. Hyzon, based in Rochester, N.Y., agreed to equip some of its first extra-beefy fuel-cell rigs with the right-hand drive and wider carriage required in Australia—something other developers couldn’t offer until 2025 or 2026. “We’re bringing forward the transition of Australia’s ultraheavy transport sector by several years,” says Kim. 

To fuel the trucks, Ark Energy ordered a 1-MW electrolyzer from Plug Power, based in Latham, N.Y. Kim anticipated that construction of the electrolyzer facility would start around the end of 2022, and vowed that five fuel-cell trucks would be looping to port and back on hydrogen gas in the third quarter of 2023 or sooner. 

Kim says these vehicles will cost “a little over three times” that of an equivalent diesel-fueled hauler, up front, but the overall project should break even or even save money over the trucks’ projected 10-year operating life. Government grants and loans and high diesel prices help make hydrogen competitive. The trucks’ unchanging route was also a plus: The relatively flat loop enabled use of a smaller, cheaper, fuel cell. “This is a dedicated truck for a dedicated purpose,” Kim notes.

Read more: https://spectrum.ieee.org/amp/green-hydrogen-2658958087

I’m going with boondoggle on this ridiculous exercise.

If green hydrogen could stand on its own, without government grants and loans, it might make economic sense. But so long as companies which take advantage of green hydrogen have their losses covered by taxes on everyone elses income, the green hydrogen push will be a net drag on the Australian economy.

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Curious George
December 27, 2022 10:10 am

“140,000-tonne load” – how many ships is it? Does Ark Energy own the Townsville refinery?

Reply to  Curious George
December 28, 2022 3:04 am

One ship.

John Shewchuk
December 27, 2022 10:16 am

Solar powered snow plow trucks is a better solution.

Gary Kerkin
Reply to  John Shewchuk
December 27, 2022 12:22 pm


E. Schaffer
December 27, 2022 10:43 am

Everything becomes competitive, if there are no alternatives. Ladas are doing great in Russia these days..

It doesnot add up
Reply to  E. Schaffer
December 28, 2022 11:46 am

There they are Zhigulis. With steering all wigguly…. Based on the Fiat 124, the plant that made them was named in honour of an Italian communist – Togliatti.

December 27, 2022 10:48 am

… if every business gets a government grant, then everyone can take advantage of subsidised green hydrogen …

And at some time in the future the entity known as “everyone” will be taxed to pay for those government grants. It is now and has ever been that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Reply to  rovingbroker
December 27, 2022 12:10 pm

Doesn’t anybody know that money taken from the left pocket is cheaper than the same amount of money taken from the right pocket?

December 27, 2022 10:56 am

There are NO hydrogen mines or wells. Hydrogen has to be synthesized. Right there, the economics don’t work. The thermodynamic justification is not there.

Gary Kerkin
Reply to  cuddywhiffer
December 27, 2022 12:15 pm

Ironic, isn’t it, that we have to manufacture the original building block of the universe!

Reply to  Gary Kerkin
December 27, 2022 12:38 pm

The Greens only THINK they have God-like powers!

Reply to  cuddywhiffer
December 27, 2022 2:41 pm
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 27, 2022 4:29 pm

I wonder why.

Reply to  Scissor
December 28, 2022 12:42 am

Too easy!

December 27, 2022 11:02 am

From the link … The carbon-free rigs will pack 50 kilos of hydrogen zapped from water using electricity from the refinery’s dedicated solar power plant.

Zapped. Is that a technical term? 50 kilos … or did they mean 50 kilograms? This is IEEE Spectrum.

Reply to  rovingbroker
December 27, 2022 7:24 pm

Wouldn’t an electric train be so much more efficient for a fixed route?

Reply to  rovingbroker
December 28, 2022 3:08 am

50 kg of hydrogen? Thats about the same as 20litres of diesel in energy terms, so about 15-20 miles? The plan is to not move anything! There is something very wrong here.

December 27, 2022 11:12 am

I’m going with boondoggle on this ridiculous exercise.

So diplomatic of you Eric.

I’m going with boondoggle bullshit on this ridiculous exercise.

December 27, 2022 11:13 am

Agree on both the misdirection of $ for the subsidies and the ultimate impracticality of hydrogen. We need to quit winner picking. We can start with the borrow and spend CCS give backs. I can see why companies go for them – the $ are out their floating. But without a carbon tax to pay ~$45/carbon ton to pay for them, it’s the usual bipartisan hypocrisy.

No, I’m not advocating for a carbon tax – here. Just a simple connect the dots on the part of the legislative branch.

As for the practicality of hydrogen, too easy to leak, too easy to embrittle. Try something else…

Last edited 1 month ago by bigoilbob
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 27, 2022 11:32 am

Try something else…

How ’bout DIESEL!

Reply to  DonM
December 27, 2022 11:43 am

For long range, high duty transportation apps, great. I decry the tuners and other scofflaws who have chased small diesel cars and pickups out of the US. The ageless “This is why we can’t have nice things” comes to mind.

Reply to  bigoilbob
December 27, 2022 1:14 pm

We can’t have nice things while saving the earth, you mean.

Reply to  doonman
December 27, 2022 5:40 pm

No because, to stay in business, companies have to keep reselling their products over and over again. That means long term quality had to go so that your purchases are all consumables you must buy again and again. Pretty much the same reason no pharmaceutical company will pursue any cure. Only products that hook patients into a rest of their life repurchase plan are worth while.

Reply to  bigoilbob
December 27, 2022 1:34 pm

“I decry the tuners and other scofflaws who have chased small diesel cars and pickups out of the US”

… I don’t know what you mean….

Reply to  DonM
December 27, 2022 2:25 pm

VW, for cheating on diesel emissions. The many aftermarket kits you can buy for truck diesels that purportedly get by emissions systems (until they throw codes and limp, that is). Taken together, they have caused the car and truck sellers to pull out of the US small truck diesel market. I drove these jewels in oilfields around the world, for decades. But I will not be able to replace my Colorado diesel, should it ever die.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 27, 2022 2:51 pm

‘Taken together, they have caused the car and truck sellers to pull out of the US small truck diesel market.’

Let me help you – what you’re trying to say is that the real problem is the EPAs bogus emissions standards that a manufacturer can only meet by either ‘cheating’ or by hobbling the vehicle’s performance to the point of making it unmarketable.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
December 27, 2022 3:03 pm

No, the problem is whiners who think that the EPA’s minimal, achievable, standards are bogus. My Colorado 2.8 is stock as a rock. It meets all standards, yet allows me to pull a bed hitch trailer just about anywhere, start in any weather, and use it as a city vehicle. No problems ~70K in. OTOH, the “tuners” get self jackpotted all the time with thrown codes and such, and pollute too much to boot. They and VW have screwed the diesel lovers who actually want to use them as practical vehicles. Diesels and dieselers get bad reps, and reputation conscious car and truck companies keep them out, to avoid the association with them.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 27, 2022 4:02 pm

Is that the 2.8L Duramax diesel that’s been discontinued?

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
December 28, 2022 6:36 am

Yes, which proves my point. We lose a jewel of a product because aftermarketers couldn’t resist selling illegal mods for it. This is just one of many European and Asian small diesels that have lasted as long as the big ones in vehicles under extreme conditions. But cheaters have caused the companies to avoid the legal risk of selling them here.

Reply to  bigoilbob
December 27, 2022 7:03 pm

So, you are saying the Chevrolet looked at the people that modified their diesels and said to themselves:

“Those ‘tuners’ make us look bad … this is one of the considerations that play into the decision to quit selling cars with little isuzu diesels; In addition, VW got fined a few billion for cheating the emission standards, so rather than go after their (VW) market share we need to get out of the market altogether”


The real reason that the little diesel was discontinued was that Chev engineers think that the turbo charged engines that offer are just as good or better.

Reply to  DonM
December 28, 2022 6:41 am

The real reason that the little diesel was discontinued was that Chev engineers think that the turbo charged engines that offer are just as good or better.”

Yes, for our throw away society, with relatively low fuel costs. They won’t last nearly as long, and will cost much more in fuel. But they have more power (which can not be harnessed to increase any of it’s capacities) and GM avoids the headaches of being blamed for aftermarket parts problems.

Ron Long
December 27, 2022 11:52 am

The thing to remember about grants is that they are paid by the government to some effort, good or bad, but that governments and companies don’t pay taxes, only people do. Sure, there’s a lot of sleight-of-hand to disguise the Grant, but it is the money of some individual that paid taxes.

Reply to  Ron Long
December 27, 2022 12:29 pm

Mot entirely….US gubment almost always runs a deficit and prints money to cover it….so inflation is the result….you can pay taxes and you can suffer inflation. That is why minimum government is the best government.

Reply to  antigtiff
December 27, 2022 5:43 pm

The borrow money to cover it.

Reply to  AndyHce
December 27, 2022 7:34 pm

The “independent” Federal Reserve will buy bonds as last resort. The Federal Reserve is part of the government and is simply playing games when it pretends to buy bonds with nothing more than computer entries. The bonds are created on computers….it is money being created or “printed”….it adds up to about $31 trillion now…Milton Friedman was entirely correct when he said the supply of money should not be expanded beyond the economic growth of the economy.

Reply to  antigtiff
December 27, 2022 9:55 pm

The Federal Reserve is part of the government

Until everyone realises that the Fed is NOT part of government, but a privately-owned corporation with private shareholders and private profit aims, the communist scam of central banking will continue ruining our lives.
Note that the CIA’s main purpose in life is to enforce Fed rules upon all “client governments”. Governments not in their orbit, are subjected to ‘color revolutions’ and assassinations.
The Federal Reserve is the true source of World Hunger…

Reply to  cilo
December 28, 2022 8:09 am

The Fed Reserve was created by gubment and could be destroyed by gubment. Currently, the Fed is trying to dampen demand by raising rates while Joey and his demrat band are spending like crazy to increase demand….and neither mentions the other…it’s true but unreal. Thje US is called a democracy by some – a democracy can establish a dictator iof 51 out of 100 vote for a dictator.

Gary Kerkin
December 27, 2022 12:21 pm

Grants, subsidies, or whatever you might like to call them are a means of forcing the population to use the Government’s preferred option.

December 27, 2022 12:46 pm

Build a train for the 30 mile loop?

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Denis
December 27, 2022 1:12 pm

My thought too
Electric train.
Powered right from the solar
Instead of all those efficiency losses

Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
December 27, 2022 10:06 pm

A train route must be planned with consideration for maximum profit for those managing the licenses, wayleaves and access permits. It will have to cross land acquired for near nothing by someone ‘in the know’ and sold to the rail line at maximum profit. There will need be subsidies and remunerations and buyouts and lots of other profitable financial vehicles to consider.
Or do you suppose the just build a friggin’ railway line without due consideration of the financial impact to those who could have profited, had the ‘correct procedures’ been considered?
You are just being inconsiderate, you obviously do not realise the losses incurred by efficiency!
Besides, those new portable suitcase sized fusion reactors will “zap” the hydrogen out the water for free… and in Australia, the water falls out of the sky all the time. For free.

Mr Ed
December 27, 2022 1:05 pm

The hydrogen fuel trend reminds me of a book I read a while back.–
-Seeing What’s Next-.. The authors examine the theories of disruptive
innovation. Note the recent tax credit of $3/kilo for “green “hydrogen in the US.
That’s a lotta dough..

We went through this during the 2008 recession and
fracking became the next disruptive innovation. Will H prove to be worthy?
I’m skeptical but if you throw enough tax money at something who
knows. Plug Power (PLUG) is one player and the market is not real excited at this time..
based on the current stock price.

I’ve been told that the above book is used
in current Business Major teaching.. It’s a good book.

Mr Ed
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 27, 2022 1:57 pm

I agree, but this is just getting started IMO,.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 27, 2022 7:31 pm

I think you’ve discovered the next tool the toxic greens will use, ie making it impossible to dig for oil and gas.

December 27, 2022 1:33 pm

Obviously a win/win situation – except for the fact that eventually the gains will all be in hyper-inflated dollars. And we’ll all have eggs in our face – as we join Zimbabwe!

Andy Espersen

J Boles
December 27, 2022 2:21 pm

That company HYZON, my old coworker moved from them to another company both near Detroit, I wonder if he saw the grant money drying up or what, I told him hydrogen is not sustainable, certainly not for trucks and buses. Maybe the company is a grant farm? Hyzon Motors | Zero Emission, Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles

December 27, 2022 2:32 pm

Once again Eric Worrall nails it … if Hydrogen was so great, it would need no subsidies.

December 27, 2022 5:24 pm

“Note the recent tax credit of $3/kilo for “green “hydrogen in the US.
That’s a lotta dough..”

One Kg of hydrogen is 33 kwh of energy. The same as one gallon of gasoline. US gas prices here on the Florica panhandle are $3 gallon.

So in effect the government is trying to make hydrogen free.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  ferdberple
December 28, 2022 12:19 pm

Well not really. If it costs $6-7/kg to begin with all they are doing is making it vaguely “competitive” by subsidising it. Of course, at European electricity prices that cost is way higher, as Shell noted in their Lessons Learned for their REFHYNE project. Key slide on costs:

December 27, 2022 8:13 pm

Just found that:

L’hydrogène d’électrolyse, fondement d’un cercle économique et environnemental vertueux

H2 from electrolysis: a virtuous cycle


They say H2 from electrolysis can be cost competitive in 2030 (vs. reforming).
And that’s from our own state nuclear agency (“CEA”). They should promote fission tech, not electricity waste to make gas when don’t know how to store or use.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  niceguy12345
December 28, 2022 12:30 pm

The Shell REFHYNE project has real world experience. The French unicorns were signed off by former clown and energy minister Nicolas Hulot. It’s based on fantasy new processes that don’t exist.

December 28, 2022 12:34 am

Where’s old mate Twiggy?

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