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Green heat: could hydrogen solve the climate challenge of Britain’s reliance on gas?

July 11, 2016
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood

 

h/t Philip Bratby

 

image

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/11/green-heat-could-hydrogen-solve-the-climate-challenge-of-britain/

 

From the Telegraph:

 

Deep in a glen in Dumfries and Galloway, five miles up a single-track road from the nearest town, sits an abandoned farmhouse.

The surrounding hills are home to more sheep than people, the mobile phone signal is patchy, and when snow blankets the valley in winter it is barely accessible except by 4×4.

It is, perhaps, an unlikely location for pioneering research into Britain’s energy future.

Yet in early 2014, a team of scientists and engineers began conducting tests here that they believe could help solve one of the biggest policy challenges facing the country.

Backed by £400,000 of government funding, and £200,000 from companies including SSE, they spent months repeating an experiment some 120 times.

First, they would shut the farmhouse windows and lock its doors. Then, retreating to a cabin 200ft away behind a wall of sandbags, they would pump one of five types of gas into the property to simulate a leak.

 

Gas canisters at Hyhouse Gas was injected into the farmhouse to simulate a leak. Credit: Kiwa Gastec

 

Using air samples piped back to their makeshift lab from 15 different parts of the house, they would measure how the gas had distributed – and calculate how likely it would be to explode.

Then they would open the farmhouse doors and windows to let the gas disperse, tweak a few variables and get ready to do it all over again.

Their aim? To test just how dangerous it might be to run Britain’s gas network using not natural gas but hydrogen.

Today, natural gas – composed primarily of methane – is used to heat more than 80pc of homes in the UK. When it burns, it releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that causes global warming.

If Britain is to meet its targets under the Climate Change Act, which requires it to slash greenhouse gas emissions to 20pc of their 1990 levels by 2050, it has to find a different way of heating its homes.

As yet, there is no firm plan for how to do so.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the Government’s official adviser, warned last month that emissions savings so far have been almost exclusively in the power sector and that “policies are not in place to broaden the sources of emission reduction”.

Decarbonising heat is, as Alan Whitehead MP, former shadow energy minister, put it recently, the “elephant in the room”. Most prescriptions so far have involved "the electrification of the heating system": replacing gas boilers with either direct electric heating, or heat pumps.

Powered by electricity, heat pumps circulate fluid through pipes either buried beneath the ground or a machine resembling a big air conditioning unit on the outside of a building, drawing in heat from the environment.

“As far as customers are concerned, that does mean, among other things, ripping out all their boilers, ripping out the mains, and replacing those with heat pumps,” Whitehead told the Utility Week Energy Summit. “I would predict that pretty much every customer would regard that transition with some horror.”

Iain Conn, chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica, was equally forthright: “We pay 5p/kwh for gas, and 15p/kwh for electricity – so this whole idea of electrifying everything is mad, especially when we have got natural gas plumbed into all of the homes.

"And if you electrify everything, what are you going to generate the electricity from? For quite a while I’m afraid it’s going to be more natural gas-fired power stations.”

 

Iain Conn Iain Conn, Centrica chief executive, said electrifying heating would be "mad" Credit: PA

 

An alternative solution, both men suggested, is not to change the heating system, but to change the gas.

“Rather than ripping everything out,” Whitehead proposed, “we look at: can we supply, for example, green gas, or different forms of gas supply into the system? Leaving it substantially as it is but actually changing the carbonisation mix of what goes into it – and giving the customer a much better deal.”

Several ‘green’ gas options have been mooted; ‘biomethane’, derived from crops or waste, is already being fed into the UK gas grid at a small scale – but this still produces carbon dioxide when burnt.

 

The greenest gas option, advocates argue, is pure hydrogen. Unlike methane, hydrogen burns cleanly, producing just water and heat.

Thanks in no small part to the Hindenburg disaster, it also has a reputation for being dangerously flammable.

Hence the farmhouse in Scotland.

“Gas leaks are rare, but do occur from time to time from sources as diverse as a defective gas appliance to DIY accidents,” says Mark Crowther, technical director at Kiwa Gastec, who devised the testing.

“The project was designed to prove whether accidental leaks from a pure hydrogen, or hydrogen and natural gas mixture supply, would have more or less risk attached than a leak from a natural gas supply.”

The outcome was, he insists, reassuring. Because hydrogen is much lighter than natural gas, the testing showed it was actually less likely to accumulate in dangerous amounts.

Hindenburg Bad reputation: many people associate hydrogen with the Hindenburg airship disaster Credit: AP

 

While hydrogen is also odourless, raising further safety fears, this could be addressed by artificially adding odour, as is done to natural gas.

“Overall it would appear hydrogen is of about the same risk as mains gas,” says Crowther. “Because of this, and its zero carbon footprint, in the grand scheme of things, its widespread use will almost certainly be safer for the future of mankind.”

Countering the fear of explosions is, however, far from the only challenge.

Natural gas is a naturally occurring fossil fuel; and while North Sea supplies may be dwindling, pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships bring plentiful supplies from elsewhere, while fracking could yet uncover new domestic gas reserves.

If hydrogen is to be used instead, Britain needs to find a very large supply.

 

The easiest source, according to a major feasibility study by Northern Gas Networks (NGN) released today, would be to extract it from the naturally-occuring methane – a compound of hydrogen and carbon – using ‘steam methane reformer’ plants.

Carbon dioxide produced in the process would be captured and pumped out for storage in disused gas fields in the North Sea.

NGN’s ‘H21’ project proposes making Leeds the first city in the world to convert to run on pure hydrogen.

The key selling point of the plan is that the existing gas networks could then be used to transport the hydrogen to homes and businesses, whose central heating systems could remain largely intact.

The catch? Every gas boiler, cooker and fire would need to be replaced or upgraded, at an estimated cost of £3,000 per household.

Though disruptive, the study suggests it would be no more so than the original conversion in the 1960s and 70s of appliances from town gas (itself 50pc hydrogen) to natural gas.

Gas boiler Existing gas boilers would need to be upgraded or replaced Credit: Christopher Jones

 

All in, it estimates the plan to convert Leeds could cost £2bn, with ongoing running costs of £139m a year, on top of the cost of the natural gas.

And that’s just the beginning. “You would never just convert one city,” says Dan Sadler, who ran the H21 study for NGN and is currently seconded to the energy department. “You would only ever start if you were incrementally going to convert the whole UK.”

Leeds, he suggests, could feasibly be converted by 2026-29. In his vision, a network of 16 more cities and towns spanning from Aberdeen to Cardiff would follow, culminating with London in 2050. The potential price tag? £50bn, with running costs at £2.8bn a year.

Sadler proposes that the financial pain be eased by paying for the upgrades, like current network charges, through regulated bill levies. No household would face an upfront charge for new appliances – though bills could still rise by a peak of about £170 a year by 2050.

The sums are huge, but, as Sadler points out, a single new nuclear power station costs £18bn.

“Whatever we do it’s going to cost a lot of money. The alternative is we get 90pc of people in cities who use gas for their heating to convert to electric, and we then have to rebuild all the electrical infrastructure.”

Eventully, he adds, new ‘green’ sources of hydrogen could be developed, using surplus renewable power to create it through electrolysis. Hydrogen could one day be shipped in as LNG is today, Sadler suggests. “I know this sounds a bit heroic, but you’ve got to think big.”

Gas hobs Gas cookers would have to be upgraded to run on hydrogen Credit: Getty

 

Of course, companies like NGN, whose business model is built around gas networks, and Centrica, Britain’s biggest household gas supplier, have a vested interest in the continued use of gas.

Professor Jim Skea, a member of the Committee on Climate Change, sounds a note of caution. “I don’t think we have found in our analysis that using hydrogen networks for residential heating is necessarily the most cost effective way to do things,” he says.

 

The CCC’s scenarios for hitting the UK’s carbon targets currently envisage a continued push for heat pumps, as well as district heating schemes, where heat produced from a power station or factory is used to heat water for nearby homes.

However, Prof Skea acknowledges major challenges around the public acceptability of heat pumps, as well as coping with the added electricity demand.

He predicts a “patchwork of solutions” may emerge and says the CCC is open-minded.

“We are not technology-prescriptive; we have scenarios but they are not blueprints for the future. If other people can come up with ideas about achieving the same outcome in a more technically, more economically efficient way, we are very much interested in the evidence.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/11/green-heat-could-hydrogen-solve-the-climate-challenge-of-britain/

 

I looked at this proposal a few months ago, and little seems to have changed.

I’ll leave others to decide whether hydrogen can be as safe as implied. But there are two huge obstacles that must be addressed:

 

1) COST

According to the article, every gas boiler, cooker and fire would need to be replaced or upgraded, at an estimated cost of £3,000 per household.

Horrifying though this cost is, it does not cover everything. As the Telegraph also state, all in, it estimates the plan to convert Leeds could cost £2bn, with ongoing running costs of £139m a year, on top of the cost of the natural gas.

Leeds has a population of 320,000 households, at the last census. A cost of £2 billion therefore works out at £6250 each.

On a national basis, this would amount to £163 billion.

In addition, we have ongoing running costs of £139m a year, on top of the cost of the natural gas. This equates to £434 per household, or £11.3 billion pa nationally.

To be even thinking about such a proposition is obscene, when many householders are already struggling to afford to heat their homes properly . It shows just how out of touch government has become.

 

It is significant that Professor Jim Skea, a member of the Committee on Climate Change , says, “I don’t think we have found in our analysis that using hydrogen networks for residential heating is necessarily the most cost effective way to do things,” .

Bear in mind that he is comparing hydrogen networks with technology like heat pumps, which we know are already much dearer than natural gas. As Ian Conn says, “We pay 5p/kwh for gas, and 15p/kwh for electricity – so this whole idea of electrifying everything is mad, especially when we have got natural gas plumbed into all of the homes.”

 

2) CCS

The whole logic of hydrogen networks depends on being able to pipe away the CO2 under the North Sea. This, I suspect, will end up being much more difficult and costly than may be envisaged.

But there is an even bigger problem. Producing hydrogen from steam methane reformers is an extremely energy intensive process, involving heating steam to over 1500F.

Where then will this energy come from?

Leaving aside the cost, how many more wind farms will we need?

 

 

FOOTNOTE

While householders in the UK are expected to pay a fortune to save the world from global warming, it may be instructive to learn that the UK consumed 61 Mtoe of natural gas, while global gas consumption was 3135 Mtoe.

In other words, the UK accounts for about 2%.

Of the 61 Mtoe, domestic users account for just over a half, so we are going to great lengths to mitigate what is about 1% of global consumption.

47 Comments leave one →
  1. Joe Public permalink
    July 11, 2016 11:59 am

    ‘Though disruptive, the study suggests it would be no more so than the original conversion in the 1960s and 70s of appliances from town gas (itself 50pc hydrogen) to natural gas.”

    Often forgotten, one of the key benefits of conversion from ‘towns gas’ to natural gas was that at a stroke AND at no extra cost, the capacity of Britain’s entire transmission, storage & distribution systems was doubled. (Because the calorific value per m^3 of natural gas is 2x that of manufactured gas)

    Proponents of hydrogen vs nat gas ignore the fact that the calorific value of H2 is just 1/3rd that of nat gas. Hence our existing transmission, storage & distribution systems would lose 2/3rd carrying capacity.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      July 11, 2016 1:02 pm

      Don’t worry Joe, they will have to replace all the pipes anyway with ones that don’t leak hydrogen.
      It might be cheaper to prove that CO2 is a problem.

      • July 11, 2016 4:56 pm

        There is no pipe that does not leak hydrogen.

  2. Joe Public permalink
    July 11, 2016 12:03 pm

    Perhaps ‘Footnote2’ could be added:

    Few realise the sheer scale of energy supplied to the UK by natural gas.

    In 2015 GB gas demand was ~900TWh vs ~340TWh for power demand; and, only 25% of the gas demand was by gas fired power stations.

  3. July 11, 2016 12:09 pm

    Hrydogen miracle : we did that 3 months ago when YOU talked about that Leeds City research

    • July 11, 2016 12:41 pm

      Ah Paul already mentioned that, at the end of the italics when he wrote his conclusions.
      (sorry, I didn’t spot that right away)

  4. July 11, 2016 12:17 pm

    Hello, DECC dumbos I know you don’t care about really CO2 really.
    Cos if you did solutions would not be done the super costly way of replacing already working things in the UK, but rather be implemented in the developing world.
    eg What is the point in Indonesia installing brand new methane gas distribution networks, whilst at the same time we ripped out ours and put in a hydrogen network (a dream anyway)

    If hydrogen worked you’d just install it in developing countries first.
    Likewise if you wanted to get maximimum CO2 reduction using solar (if there is any at all) then you wouldn’t buy a solar panel and put it in the UK, no rather you’d install it in a sunny African village not connected fully to the grid. To me everyone involved in UK solar is an accessory to fraud.

  5. Sara Hall permalink
    July 11, 2016 12:53 pm

    I am now beginning to wonder just how many of the people involved in nonsense such as this have even a basic O-Level in chemistry or physics, let alone a half decent “proper” science degree.

  6. July 11, 2016 12:53 pm

    Paul has the footnote got a bit missing ?
    eg “While householders in the UK are expected to pay a fortune to save the world from global warming, it may be instructive to learn that the UK consumed 61 Mtoe of natural gas
    …only X Mtoe is for domestic , with Y for electricity production and Z for industrial use “

  7. July 11, 2016 12:54 pm

    hydrogen is not a source of energy but a method of distributing energy. the choice between electricity and hydrogen will of course depend on differences in efficiency, additional capital investment required, and safety.

  8. July 11, 2016 1:06 pm

    Using pure hydrogen can be very, very dangerous. It is not just a “dangerously flammable” gas, it is highly explosive. Hydrogen is very light gas and will generally float upwards. But if the gas is contained such as in a house, it creates a potentially explosive condition. Any spark, even turing on a light switch can cause it to explode (which generally means that the entire house and its inhabitants will be blown to bits). So as we weatherize houses making them more efficient to withstand temperature extremes outdoors, we enhance this threat significanly because we are restricting ventilation.

    A few years ago we were testing batteries in an enclosed metal case. The batteries were accidentially exposed to abnormal overcharge state, which caused them to expel hydrogen gas. An electrical spark accidentally ignited the hydrogen at the top of the thick steel case. It ripped the 100 pound steel lid off the case and set it flying to the metal ceiling above located about 30 feet up. It dented the ceiling and came down all bent up.

    In a house, there are several potential electrical spark threats including ceiling lights, ceiling fans. All it will take is one accidental release of this gas and an electrical spark. No warning.

    • Joe Public permalink
      July 11, 2016 2:42 pm

      Hi James

      “Using pure hydrogen can be very, very dangerous. It is not just a “dangerously flammable” gas, it is highly explosive.” So is nat gas.

      Hydrogen’s flame nigh-on invisible, and its upper & lower explosive limits are wider than those of nat gas.

      An interesting comparison data sheet:

      http://www.arhab.org/pdfs/h2_safety_fsheet.pdf

      • Billy Liar permalink
        July 11, 2016 9:05 pm

        The significant difference between hydrogen and other flammable gases is the ignition energy as your pdf shows; hydrogen requires one fifteenth of the energy to set it off compared with natural gas.

  9. Alan Kendall permalink
    July 11, 2016 1:26 pm

    I have never understood the logic behind CCS underground storage projects. When a gasfield goes into production, unlike oil production which can be assisted by pumping, the gas reaches the surface by its own internal energy – the diminishing pressure in the gas reservoir. In other words energy is expended as the gasfield depletes. When that internal pressure declines below a certain point, insufficient gas is produced to offset operating costs and the wells are capped.

    In order to fill a depleted gasfield with the unwanted carbon dioxide gas (or in some special cases with liquified CO2) it requires the application of the same amount of energy as was expended in driving the original gas out of the reservoir. Supplying this displacement energy makes the efficiency of the original burning of the fossil fuel significantly less efficient. And for what?

    If you convert methane to hydrogen, you lose even more energy – that stored in the C-H bonds and that obtained by oxidizing the carbon. This is presumably consumed in the endothermic reaction. What a waste.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 11, 2016 4:58 pm

      The balances are not equal. For a start, there is some benefit of gravity in putting material underground, which has to be overcome in raising it from below. Secondly, the pumping pressures required depend on viscosities of the fluids and gases being pumped inter alia. Whichever way you look at it, it is a silly idea. The more you intend to pump below ground, the greater the risk of seismic events too.

  10. Edmonotn Al permalink
    July 11, 2016 3:29 pm

    quote from above: “When it burns, it releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that causes global warming.”

    There is no empirical proof that this statement is true.
    Where is the proof? Empirical proof, not computer models.

    I have repeatedly asked alarmists to tell me or explain to me how 1 molecule of CO2 can “trap” enough “heat” to heat up 2499 molecules of N2 and O2 2degrees C.
    This is from the IN IPCC statement that a doubling of CO2 from 400ppm to 800ppm will result in gloabal warming of about 2C degrees.
    The increase of 400ppm is 1 in 2500.

    • Edmonotn Al permalink
      July 11, 2016 3:31 pm

      UN IPCC not IN IPCC sorry about that.

  11. July 11, 2016 3:52 pm

    Hydrogen can probably not be safely transported through “conventional” natural or town gas lines and facilities, because of its astonishing ability to pass through (leak through) such pipeline and appliance walls. It’s the nature of such a small molecule to do this. There may be no practical solution!

    Tony.

  12. It doesn't add up... permalink
    July 11, 2016 4:45 pm

    Anyone with pipeline experience would be aware of HIC – Hydrogen Induced Cracking – which would rapidly destroy the steel based element of the pipeline grid. The plastic used in more local distribution is almost certainly not particularly hydrogen proof either. Leaks in the home would be the least of the problems.

  13. David Richardson permalink
    July 11, 2016 5:05 pm

    In a previous life, 50 years ago, I had to fill small balloons with hydrogen (H) to about a metre diameter. The precautions taken to avoid explosions included wiring the filler nozzle directly to large earthing straps to reduce the risk of static electricity igniting the H. Except in windy conditions you did the filling with the door open so that any H leak was well mixed with the outside air. The small shed (well away from any buildings) had lightning conductors on all four corners. I always clipped the earthing on properly (honestly) but one guy I heard of forgot (sic) and the “small” explosion burnt his eyebrows and front of his hair off. Those filling larger balloons wore a flash mask and protective clothing.

    They eventually changed to using helium, which is not very abundant, is about 10 times the cost, and can’t be manufactured.

    I can’t wait to have my home converted to H – such fun.

    • July 11, 2016 6:58 pm

      update a new source of Helium was discovered by UK university researchers recently.
      Plus the US has another field set to open.

  14. A C Osborn permalink
    July 11, 2016 5:14 pm

    So it looks like the answer to Paul’s question in the title is “NO”.

  15. David Richardson permalink
    July 11, 2016 5:23 pm

    I couldn’t work out for a few years why DECC were subsidising the electrification of heating via the Renewable Heat Insanity – sorry Incentive. RHI makes Feed-in-Tariffs (FITs) seem almost sane. We have discussed this before so no need to do so again as such.

    The main point is the scam of trying to con the EU (remember them) that the heating would all be produced using “renewable” generated electricity. This would show the UK meeting its 20/20 target for CO2 emissions.

    The whole scheme is deeply flawed but getting anyone in government or DECC to see the stupidity is like pushing water uphill. Do DECC have anyone with an engineering background who isn’t part of the greenwash mad brigade? – don’t bother answering that.

  16. dennisambler permalink
    July 11, 2016 5:53 pm

    When we get back to basics and realise that CO2 is not driving global temperatures, the whole thing is a highly expensive irrelevant nonsense, which will eat up yet more vast amounts of money and be abandoned like CCS.

  17. mwhite permalink
    July 11, 2016 6:40 pm

    Hydrogen, burn it to make water vapour

    Water vapour is a more potent greenhouse gas than Carbon Dioxide. For those worried about greenhouse gasses.

    What’s the point???

    • Alan permalink
      July 12, 2016 10:43 am

      Absolutely mwhite. I wonder why the original article made no mention of the greenhouse effect of water vapour?

      Also, I have always wondered what would happen to the weather with all the water being produced by burning hydrogen? Maybe it is insignificant amounts as I’m no chemist, but I just thought there may be some rather unfortunate unforeseen consequences of using Hydrogen in homes/cars/power stations (apart form the obvious – BOOM!!)

  18. July 11, 2016 7:14 pm

    Whenever there is green magical thinking, who is right there hyping it ?
    New Article : 11 July 2016 From the BBC section Leeds & West YorkshireLeeds should be a leading ‘hydrogen city’, report suggests

    I heard that on the news after the PH show. The news after was pretty Greeny they started with the announcement of St Jo Coxes funeral on Friday

    BTW this what was on this weeks Paul Hudson Weather show
    – Weather from 76
    – Yorks Brewery using waste food to make beer,
    (claimed that it take 300 litres of water to make 1 pint of normal beer. That seems Green magical maths to me)
    – Why’s it been an awful summer ?
    – Space mapping of forests for CO2
    – “Well we all know the seasons are changhing” Dr Debra Hemming from the MET OFFICE in Exeter has been studying the effects on wild life….’ooh scary scary the rising temperature effects different parts of the food chain at different rates, so nature is all out of balance (cos it’s 100% static otherwise ?)

  19. July 11, 2016 7:33 pm

    So home hydrogen is impractical.
    And even if you used the hydrogen to make electricity, collected the CO2 and change home heating/cooking to electric you might just as well burn methane in a conventional power station and collect the CO2 and store the CO2..
    …..Except CCS has never worked economically. And reason to think that it is with Hydrogen splitting either.

  20. July 11, 2016 10:07 pm

    Wikipedia confirms some earlier comments:
    ‘Hydrogen collects under roofs and overhangs, where it forms an explosion hazard; any building that contains a potential source of hydrogen should have good ventilation, strong ignition suppression systems for all electric devices, and preferably be designed to have a roof that can be safely blown away from the rest of the structure in an explosion. It also enters pipes and can follow them to their destinations. Hydrogen pipes should be located above other pipes to prevent this occurrence.’

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_safety#Prevention

    So check where your roof can be safely blown away to before installing a hydrogen-based system.

  21. Bruce of Newcastle permalink
    July 11, 2016 10:15 pm

    Could you imagine what terrorism would be like if the terrorists had a large supply of extremely explosive gas easily available on tap?

    Also cash machines would become extinct as thieves blew them all out of their walls.

  22. July 12, 2016 5:31 am

    On the subject of gas – I routinely come back to the flaring of gas from petrochemical facilities – this is much reduced in many places but not all.

    About 10 years ago the word in West Africa was that Nigeria alone was flaring off more gas in a single month (28 days actually) than the entire UK annual consumption for all purposes. There have been some improvements but I suspect that the essential arithmetic is likely not much changed.

    Pointing this out is racist apparently as I have experienced when speaking about “fugitive methane” from fracking.- The Guardian saw fit to ban me for mentioning it.

    • July 12, 2016 4:29 pm

      @Tomo Guardian ReaderZombies think “(democracy) It’s all about people being united together and having the SAME opinions” Paul Watson video ..that must be why they ban counter opinions
      ..wind it back and watch it all

  23. Vernon E permalink
    July 12, 2016 10:04 am

    Like the first commenter I was around when the conversion was made from 500 BTU town gas hydrogen/carbon monoxide to 1000 BTU natural gas in the 1960’s. An interim period from coal based town gas to reformed gas from naphtha was still producing predominantly hydrogen. To go back would be madness, but I am not entirely sure that a hydrogen only gas (odourised) is any more dangerous than the historical half hydrogen gas.

  24. Bitter& Twisted permalink
    July 12, 2016 3:18 pm

    Ha Ha Ha HA HA HAAAAAAAA!!!
    Take me to the funny (gas) farm.

  25. ralfellis permalink
    July 13, 2016 2:08 pm

    And if they do use Co2 Storage, nobody has explained how they can prevent a Lake Nyos disaster. A Co2 well blowout would spread a low-lying cloud of Co2 across the North Sea, threatening all the communities along the east coast with asphixiation.

    I keep asking how they can prevent this, but nobody wants to accept the dangers of Co2 storage wells.

    R

  26. Gamecock permalink
    July 13, 2016 4:45 pm

    ‘Because hydrogen is much lighter than natural gas, the testing showed it was actually less likely to accumulate in dangerous amounts.’

    Rubbish. It accumulates at the ceiling, rather than the floor.

  27. July 13, 2016 5:31 pm

    Dozens of hydrogen airships exploded or burned in the years before the Hindenburg disaster finally convinced the world that hydrogen is not an acceptable lifting-gas for airships carrying people.

    http://www.airships.net/hydrogen-airship-accidents

  28. July 13, 2016 9:42 pm

    Hydrogen isn’t an energy source, it is a storage medium for energy, with not particularly good charge/discharge efficiency.

  29. July 13, 2016 10:59 pm

    Can the the high pressure high temperature steam reforming process ever produce sufficient H2, CO, energy to power itself? The whole process was developed to produce liquid H2 and liquid O2 for the space shuttle engine. The process using methene for heating the steam produces much more CO2 than heating via coal! If the process is very local to produce mostly steam heat for other process, even residence heat, the H2 can become a by product. This process like water electrolysis, can never ever produce more than 1/3 the energy required to reduce H2O to its constituents! What total nonsense fraud!

  30. crosspatch permalink
    July 14, 2016 2:37 am

    Well, I suppose BP is going to love it since the primary source if hydrogen is oil refineries. Problem is, once you get the hydrogen, you end up with a huge amount of CO2 waste that you have to deal with. Producing hydrogen gas is much like an electric car. It still emits CO2, just not at the point of utilization/

  31. TedL permalink
    July 14, 2016 2:53 am

    Nobody so far has mentioned another interesting implication of substituting hydrogen gas for methane for space and industrial heating, cooking and so forth. Commenters above have noted that hydrogen gas leaks very readily from distribution pipes and fittings. Also, the substitution would require the manufacture of immense quantities of hydrogen gas. So imagine lots of hydrogen gas unavoidably leaking into the atmosphere. It is lightweight and will float to the top of the atmosphere. What would it find there? Ozone. And what do you imagine happens when hydrogen gas meets highly reactive ozone? They react to form water vapor. The water vapor would freeze into ice crystals, forming very high bright clouds. And it would destroy the ozone. Do we think it would be a good thing to destroy the ozone layer while simultaneously creating an ice crystal layer with a very high albedo?

  32. July 16, 2016 12:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  33. Bill Johnston permalink
    July 18, 2016 8:16 am

    What about hydrogen leakage?

    Hydrogen is a small molecule which finds its way through old steel pipes. The internal surface area of a gas distribution network is actually immense.

    So you get this magic “renewable” gas by using lots of energy (whose CO2 is pumped into the ground somewhere under the North Sea) to produce superheated steam. The Ultra-expensive H2 then travels down a pipe network that leaks?

    Reality check anyone? Have brains also ceased to exist?

    Cheers,

    Dr. Bill

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