By Paul Homewood

 Timera uncover the dirty secret behind the propose hydrogen roll out – its cost.

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As I have repeatedly pointed out,the production of hydrogen is intrinsically a costly and wasteful process, which involves taking energy and processing it to produce less energy than you started with.

We can see that so-called grey hydrogen costs about double the cost of natural gas. Grey hydrogen, of course, is produced by steam reforming natural gas, an expensive process which wastes a lot of the gas input. Crucially, however, it also produces masses of CO2.

Hence the need for blue hydrogen, which adds carbon capture and storage (CCS) to the steam reforming process. This will increase costs further, even supposing the process can be made to work. In any event, CCS does not remove all of the CO2, and the upstream emissions from the natural gas production and shipping also need to be counted.

Because of this, green hydrogen, using electrolysis, is seen as the nirvana But as Timera accept, green hydrogen, which must use wind or solar power, is simply not scaleable in the foreseeable future. Nor can the seasonal demand for natural gas be provided for.

But above all, green hydrogen is hopelessly expensive, about four to five times the cost of gas.

The UK currently consumes 2789 billion mmbtu a year. An increase in cost from about £7 to £32 per mmbtu, as Timera estimate, would imply the annual cost would rise from £19bn to £89nn.

Naturally proponents claim that costs of electrolysis will miraculously drop to competitive levels by 2050. There again, pigs might fly!

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February 1, 2021 at 08:48AM