From Watts Up With That?
Essay by Eric Worrall
Who could have guessed than an absurdly expensive and suicidally dangerous green vanity fuel would falter in the face of other vanity fuel projects?
Hydrogen Balloon Explosion. Source youtube, fair use, low resolution image to describe the subject.
Hydrogen and net zero dream at risk without financial help: report
By Shane Wright
February 24, 2023 — 12.01am
Australia last year set itself the goal of being one of the world’s three largest hydrogen exporters over the coming decade, with a further aim of using the energy source to supply clean and green power to an emerging manufacturing sector. Many of the gains are expected to flow to regional areas now dependent on fossil fuels.
But the Deloitte analysis shows many of the expectations around an Australian hydrogen industry have been dealt a blow by US President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act passed last year, which contained $580 billion in support for clean manufacturing.
The various subsidies in the new laws are expected to make renewable US hydrogen the cheapest in the world while drawing in investment that otherwise could have flowed to nations such as Australia.
None of these projects make economic sense. If they made economic sense, they wouldn’t need government money.
But this hasn’t stopped a bizarre fantasy economy from developing, an international subsidy give-away war, in which politicians compete to make their green energy export plans seem more credible. I mean, everyone is going to end up looking pretty stupid, if after the subsidised factory is built, the politicians who bet their reputations on the project can’t even give the hydrogen away.
Having said that, I doubt the hydrogen automobile revolution will be a part of our lives for very long. From the US Government Occupational Health and Safety Administration;
Hydrogen Fuel Cells: Fire and Explosion
Hydrogen used in the fuel cells is a very flammable gas and can cause fires and explosions if it is not handled properly. Hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. Natural gas and propane are also odorless, but a sulfur-containing (Mercaptan) odorant is added to these gases so that a leak can be detected. At present, it is hard to tell if there is a hydrogen leak because it has no odor to it. Hydrogen is a very light gas. There are no known odorants that can be added to hydrogen that are light enough to diffuse at the same rate as hydrogen. In other words, by the time a worker smells an odorant, the hydrogen concentrations might have already exceeded its lower flammability limit.
Hydrogen used in the fuel cells is a very flammable gas and can cause fires and explosions if it is not handled properly. Hydrogen fires are invisible and if a worker believes that there is a hydrogen leak, it should always be presumed that a flame is present. When workers are required to fight hydrogen-related fires, employers must provide workers with necessary protective gear to protect them from such invisible flames and potential explosion hazards. There are several OSHA standards that may apply to employers who produce or use hydrogen.Source: https://www.osha.gov/green-jobs/hydrogen/fire-explosion
The plan is, vehicles containing 10s of litres of compressed gas which is capable of leaking through the tiniest crack, has no smell, cannot be reliably odourised to warn people of leaks, burns with a flame so hot that it is invisible, ignites and explodes violently with a very low activation threshold, over a wide range of hydrogen / air mixtures, will be parked adjacent to and sometimes inside the builtin carports in people’s homes.
If you suspect an automobile hydrogen leak, you are supposed to what? Call the fire brigade and explain you have a bad feeling? Because you won’t be able to see the fire, or even tell for sure it is there, unless you get close enough to be incinerated. Do you don specialist safety equipment whenever you want to go for a drive, just in case? Who is going to provide the training in the use of the safety equipment? Do you inspect your vehicle every morning using infrared or ultraviolet goggles, or whatever is required to make those terrifying hydrogen fires visible?
And whatever you do, don’t let your husband or wife’s EV be parked next to your hydrogen car. No insurance policy will cover that, at least, not after the first few “incidents”.
We surely live in interesting times.