Energy Magic: Wind & Solar ‘Industries’ Pin Their Future on Great Hydrogen Hoax

Energy Magic: Wind & Solar ‘Industries’ Pin Their Future on Great Hydrogen Hoax

RE rent seekers are touting hydrogen gas produced with unpredictable and unreliable wind and solar power as the next ‘green’ energy Nirvana.

If producing industrial volumes of hydrogen using electricity were even vaguely economic, then the obvious way of doing so would be to use coal-fired power; the cheapest and most reliable power source, of all.

But that’s not the point and purpose of the great hydrogen hoax. This is about corporate greed and rent seeking.

The rules of physics (not least thermodynamics) means that, whatever the power source, more energy will be expended than will ever be returned from the process of turning electricity into hydrogen gas, storing and distributing it. Which means it will not result in a net energy benefit.

Because the whole thing is a pipe dream, no one pushing the “let’s turn wind and solar power into hydrogen” line has bothered with the Energy Return On Investment or EROI – the ratio between the energy delivered by a particular fuel source to society and the energy invested in the capture and delivery of that energy.

Oh, almost forgot to mention a couple of other laws of physics – the storage and distribution of hydrogen gas is not without its challenges. Attempting to contain the gas in large volumes comes with the threat of industrial scale explosions, thanks to its the low ignition point and highly combustible nature, and also because it tends to leak easily from tanks. More than a few hydrogen storage facilities and filling stations have exploded – as to which, see below the image from Norway where one went up with one hell of a bang.

When it comes to promoting the hydrogen hoax, Australia’s rent seeking crowd are hard at it; but the Germans appear to have seized the lead on pushing the most ridiculous proposition ever put forward by the green energy cult. Eric Worral reports.

Germany’s Climate Friendly Hydrogen Strategy
Watts Up With That?
Eric Worall
15 June 2020

Germany has affirmed its climate leadership by announcing a plan to embrace a hydrogen-powered future. But nobody can explain where they will get all the hydrogen.

Germany plans to spend billions funding green hydrogen

Up to 2030, Germany’s federal government wants to establish 5 GW in electrolysis capacity, only to be doubled again in the subsequent five years. The country acknowledges that it will also need outside help to achieve the goal.

BY MAZ PLECHINGER Published: 10.06.20 at 13:54

“As the first step in accelerating the market for hydrogen technologies, a strong, sustainable production and consumption – a ‘home market’ – is crucial. A robust national market will also create a signal effect for the use of hydrogen technologies internationally,” the federal government writes in the strategy.

Mainly in its steel and chemical sectors, Germany already uses significant volumes of industrial hydrogen, although the resource is currently derived from natural gas rather than renewable power and water.

Doesn’t cover requirement

Precisely how Germany will build the bridge to economic viability is not revealed in the plan, which does, however, mention that Berlin is considering a tax exemption for electricity used for hydrogen production – not least giving a tax pass to green H2 from the Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz (EEG) fee that’s used to finance the green energy transition and which had EUR 11 billion earmarked in connection with the economic recovery plan as an aid ceiling.

Another top limit is how much green hydrogen Germany will be able to produce itself. When the offshore wind build-out target for 2030 was recently raised by 5 GW to 15 GW, and the 52 GW solar cap was scrapped, green hydrogen production was one factor given consideration.

But even though 5 GW of electrolysis in the hydrogen strategy multiplies current domestic capacity 200 fold, the government says this is grossly inadequate to cover demand. According to the strategy, 5 GW of electrolysis is enough to produce 14 TWh made from 20 TWh of renewable energy – while the requirement for the resource is estimated to be 90-110 TWh.

The renewable energy powered hydrogen economy takes expensive renewable electricity, and discards 60% of the energy in the form of conversion losses. Ignoring compression, storage and transport losses; electrolysis (80% efficient) x Fuel cell (50% efficient) = 40% (60% lost) – 40% efficiency end to end hydrogen conversion makes hydrogen at least 2.5x more expensive than the original renewable energy used to produce the hydrogen (1/0.4 = 2.5).

There are lots of wild claims these days that renewables are incredibly cheap – but renewables still seem to require a lot of government life support, either directly through subsidies or by forcing distributors to purchase a fixed quota of renewable energy.

No doubt adding the expense of converting the electricity to hydrogen and back to electricity will make it all better.

The German publication DW understands;

“But despite being a promising energy carrier in a low-carbon energy system, green hydrogen is still facing significant technical and commercial challenges. Its disadvantages like weak energy efficiency and huge infrastructure requirements could be overwhelming outside a few core uses.“

Watts Up With That?

Hydrogen: It’s a ‘gas’. …

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July 18, 2020 at 02:30AM

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