Thursday, February 4, 2021

Hydrogen -- Carbon-Free, Incredibly Safe, And Almost Free -- Just The Cost Of Water -- February 4, 2021

A reader with a life-long career in energy writes:

Hydrogen that is reformed from natural gas is not a carbon-neutral system. The CO2 is released as the hydrogen is being produced. Using natural gas to fuel an engine is much more efficient. Most engines, diesel or gas can easily use natural gas for fuel. Just another illustration of industry taking the long , expensive way .  Hydrogen is the most reactive and dangerous gas. I guess they forgot about the Hindenburg. I would not park a hydrogen-fueled car in my garage. 

That reminded me of a recent essay by RBN Energy.

From RBN Energy, November 15, 2020:

Back to the key question we want to answer today: why does anyone care about hydrogen at all? Well, the primary answer to that question is pretty simple: the molecule is packed with energy. Another nice feature is that when you unlock that energy, and there are various ways to do just that, the principal by-product is water. Importantly, there is no carbon produced
There are clearly those that find this feature appealing — a growing list of countries has set ambitious carbon reduction goals over the next few decades. Also, hydrogen production methods abound, and for some of the greener processes the principal ingredients are just water and electricity. Others involve hydrocarbons, but we are getting ahead of ourselves. We were talking about hydrogen’s energy content.

: apparently the wind farms and solar farms magically appear, requiring no manufacturing at the site or transport of the turbines and the solar panels. Apparently, manufacturers of solar panels have found a way to manufacture solar panels without the need for rare earth metals.

B: apparently the water just magically shows up at the site of electrolysis. No need to transport water thousands of miles through pipelines to where electrolysis occurs. It's just magical, as Steve Jobs would say. The water just shows up.

C: apparently the electricity, like the water, just magically shows up at the site of electrolysis. No need for unsightly transmission lines. 

D: why wouldn't it be smarter to just send all that electricity generated at "A" directly to where it's needed, location"D"? Why would one use all the electricity for electrolysis to generate hydrogen when that same electricity could simply be sent directly to those who need it? It seems like a lot of unnecessary work to put "hydrolysis" directly between the production of election and the reason the electricity is being produced in the first place, to be used by EVs, homes, industry.

There's a small risk of 110V and 220V electricity -- shorts, fires, electrocution -- but nothing compared to why hydrogen can do. Can you imagine a tank of hydrogen in your garage? LOL.Early on, no problem. Brand new, pristine tanks with brand new valves and pipes. But over time, folks have a tendency to let things get old and natural wear and tear and inadequate maintenance results in hydrogen being stored in substandard conditions.

One has to laugh. All those folks who were concerned about highly flammable Bakken oil have no problem with the most flammable molecule of all. LOL.


  1. Hydrogen flammability is a different than heavy molecules like propane or butane. If hydrogen is stored outside, due to low mass will dissipate due to being low mass and rising. Butane or propane will tend to sink in low areas. Industrial process that require hydrogen will put the main lines above the roof, in case of leak, hydrogen will easily dissipate

    1. Most folks reading that? Their eyes will glaze over at "flammability" --- and that's the problem. Most folks just remember the Hindenburg.