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Is Hydrogen The Fuel Of The Future

April 10, 2015

By Paul Homewood 


h/t Dave Ward 



Alex Brummer , the Daily Mail’s Business Editor ran an article the other day, extolling the virtues of hydrogen powered cars. There are are a couple of letters in today, which add a bit of realism to Brummer’s green wash.




  1. Mike Williams permalink
    April 10, 2015 2:07 pm

    I heard some pundit use the term “Hydrogen Zombies” to describe the hydrogen fuel projects — they never die

  2. April 10, 2015 2:10 pm

    Thankyou for that — I explained this to the newly appointed “Climate Change Officer” on our county council some ten years ago. Ho pompously explained that he knew best as he was a graduate of the university of East Anglia and he knew that hydrogen was the new green fuel and not the ‘transmitter’ which I explained it was. All the Greenies at the meeting howled me down of course. The pity of it is that I think he is still in the job although the county council haven’t got the money to repair the pot holes in this large county’s 6,000 miles of roads.

  3. April 10, 2015 2:42 pm

    Thanks, Paul.
    Yes, the whole process for obtaining and using energy has to be considered.
    Petroleum (oil) was made by the planet. It is part of our inheritance as inhabitants.
    I think it is foolish on one hand, criminal on the other, to mandate it remains unused.

  4. John F. Hultquist permalink
    April 10, 2015 4:28 pm

    Hydrogen is the tiny element and difficult to contain and use anywhere there is metal involved. Background reading under search: – Hydrogen embrittlement –.

  5. Keith Gugan permalink
    April 10, 2015 5:09 pm

    As ever Paul – directing us to where the greenies lurk. There are no convincing routes to hydrogen as an practical alternative energy source. First, it requires as much energy to produce as you can get from it as a ‘fuel’. Second, in admixture with air it is subject to damaging detonation in combustion chambers where it will mostly be used. Third, it produces significant weakening effects on conventional distribution pipework. Fourth, the only tenable means of bulk transport to distribution centres or garages is in cryogenic liquid form. Fifth, the use of cryogenic hydrogen in commercial or domestic vehicles will require enormous fuel tanks for any realistic range – even bigger gas tanks. Sixth, the energy available from a litre of liquid hydrogen is about 30% of conventional fuel. Seventh, there are significant hazards and safety issues at every stage of handling: generation, storage, distribution, conveyance, re-fuelling centres, whilst carried in vehicles in motion and whilst parked. The list goes on and, other than a few experimental uses for which most of the normal safety requirements are suspended, is virtually endless. Atomic fusion is certainly more attractive as a goal.

    • Hivemind permalink
      April 11, 2015 9:19 am

      If you must use hydrogen, then it is much easier to store in the form of hydrogen peroxide.

      • AndyG55 permalink
        April 11, 2015 10:36 am

        Gees, then all cars will be white 😉

        BORING !!

  6. catweazle666 permalink
    April 10, 2015 5:16 pm

    Is Hydrogen The Fuel Of The Future

    In a word – NO.

  7. Allan M permalink
    April 10, 2015 5:17 pm

    Yet again the greenies prove how easy it is to have (wonderful, er, fantastic) ideas when they haven’t a neffing clue what they’re talking about. Like the guy at a festival who claimed his father had invented a perpetual motion machine. All he needed to make it work was a single magnetic pole. Single? – polarity? Duh.

  8. April 10, 2015 5:26 pm

    See essay Hydrogen Hype in ebook Blowing Smoke for a complete debunking on energy grounds. FCV are no better net net than the MY2015 Prius, yet 4x more expensive.

  9. A C Osborn permalink
    April 10, 2015 6:03 pm

    The only way that using Hydrogen in engines makes sense is if they ever get Fuel Cells to work well.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      April 10, 2015 8:36 pm

      Which still won’t overcome the horrendous problems with storage and transport, nor the very low efficiency of the acquisition process.

  10. April 10, 2015 6:40 pm

    Hydrogen is probably the worst possible transportation fuel because of its very low energy to volume ratio and its very explosive properties, think Challenger or the Hindenburg. There are no natural sources of hydrogen so it is a secondary energy source which has to be produced from a primary source. If we think at some distant time we will need a secondary transportation fuel then the obvious choice would be a carbon based fuel such as diesel which can also be used as jet fuel and has a high energy to volume ratio at low pressure or perhaps methanol if methanol fuel cells are more efficient than IC engines. Currently we make hydrogen from natural gas, from which we can also make diesel with less overall CO2 emissions. If we totally run out of fossil fuels or cannot use them then we can make methanol from CO2 and hydrogen. CO2 +2H2 = CH3OH + H2O.
    Obviously this could be done when needed and would not require any new infrastructure or massive government funded research in new vehicles etc which is why the academic/government community loves hydrogen.

  11. David permalink
    April 10, 2015 8:16 pm

    Hydrogen combusts to produce water (vapour) – is this not a greenhouse gas?

    • AndyG55 permalink
      April 11, 2015 10:36 am

      Yep, and a much more powerful one that the zero effect of CO2

  12. April 11, 2015 10:45 am

    Link back to story about 2 hydrogen hyping stories mentioned in (12th April)

    • Dave Ward permalink
      April 11, 2015 8:42 pm

      Thanks, stewgreen

  13. johnmarshall permalink
    April 11, 2015 11:02 am

    Hydrogen is not safe. Imagine a woman, car full of screaming kids, filling up with the stuff. The complex filler joint, designed to be foolproof, is not and bang, car, kids, lady and anyone within 100m radius dead. And no, I am not being sexist just basing my assumptions on observations.

  14. tom0mason permalink
    April 11, 2015 11:59 am

    Surely the most spectacular example of the folly of transporting hydrogen was on Thursday, May 6, 1937 at Lakehurst, New Jersey, for on this day and location the German passenger airship full of hydrogen, LZ 129 Hindenburg, caught fire and was destroyed. This disaster and the loss of life should live in infamy of man’s hubris against the laws of nature.
    As others here have said hydrogen is a none starter as a viable fuel for mass transport — IMO the technology is not available yet, and any short-cut to make such systems now will end in more Hindenburg events.

  15. April 12, 2015 1:53 am

    I think the safest option for a”new Fuel would be a micro Nuclear power plant mounted on a trailer and powering the car in front.
    I need money to study the feasibility of such a scheme…..

  16. Dr Harold Hughes permalink
    April 12, 2015 11:53 am

    In my youth, as a graduate chemical engineer, I commissioned and was then manager of a large plant producing hydrogen, and this 5 year experience left me with a lasting and intense respect for the gas – in the sense that it is very prone to find the smallest possibility of leakage from containment systems, and when it does leak has a great propensity to fire and burn with a virtually colourless flame, which can often only be detected when the flame impinges on some local substance. In addition, it has very wide explosive limits, which means a wide range of concentrations at which explosions can occur.
    I cannot think of a substance less suitable for putting in the hands of the public at filling stations and then for keeping stored in their cars. It may be practicable for fleets of vehicles being run under controlled conditions, managed by qualified people who are aware of the safety hazards and working against tightly controlled usage specifications, but that (in my book) would be the absolute limit

  17. April 12, 2015 4:25 pm

    To paraphrase the quip about the great prospects of South American countries: hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and always will be.

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