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Hannan Falls For The Hydrogen Scam

July 19, 2020

By Paul Homewood


h/t Patsy Lacey

Daniel Hannan is the latest to fall for the hydrogen scam:




Never mind Huawei. A greater menace is posed by our looming dependence on China for electric cars. China makes 73 per cent (and rising) of the world’s electric vehicle batteries. It controls the production of the African rare-earth elements that go into each unit. As the West continues to decarbonise, there is a danger that China will become what Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia were in the late twentieth century: a capricious autocracy which, because it can switch off our energy supply, rests its boot upon our windpipe.

Britain no longer has to worry about dodgy Middle Eastern dictators. We are phasing out fossil fuels at breakneck speed. Coal will be banned from our power stations in 2024. The last gas heating system will be installed in 2025. Petrol, diesel and even hybrid cars will be gone by 2035. There is no point in arguing about whether ordering these bans was proportionate; we have made the decision, and industry is already adapting. How absurd it would be, though, to wean ourselves off spoiled Saudi princelings, merely to replace them with Beijing’s “appalling old waxworks”

He is of course absolutely right about the dangers or relying on Chinese goodwill for dependence on batteries. Anybody with an ounce of common sense, however,would be beating the drum now to delay the suicidal move away from fossil fuels, at least until the hydrogen alternative had become well established.

And he gets it totally wrong when he claims Britain no longer has to worry about dodgy Middle Eastern dictators. Our consumption of oil and gas in fact has barely fallen in the last decade. The reason why we are no longer dependent on the Middle East is the abundant global supply from a variety of countries, thanks to the development of shale technology.

He claims that industry is already adapting, but the auto industry is adapting to electric car development. Are motor manufacturers going to write of tens of billions, dump electric technology and go for hydrogen instead? Of course not.

Similarly, we need to spend tens of billions upgrading the electricity grid in the next few years, if we are to be prepared for the mass uptake of EVs. Is this money also to be written off?

Nowhere is there any recognition by Hannan of the high cost of producing hydrogen, or the cost and difficulties involved in creating a distribution and storage network and adapting household appliances.

These apparently are just minor issues that must not stand in the way of the Great Green Revolution.

  1. cajwbroomhill permalink
    July 19, 2020 4:32 pm

    Would/could you,Paul, send these vital comments to Dan Hannan?
    He will be amenable to learning the truth,I
    Also, you could tell him that the UK emits negligible GHG as a proportion of the global total?

    • July 19, 2020 8:14 pm

      Why….. the irony of the fact that China supplying our ever so gween baterweees is most likely increasing its CO2 emissions by an amount equal to our total is totally lost on them and even if they did admit to it we are dealing with posers not real people. They do not bat an eye that children are used in Africa as labour to get lithium. They do not bat an eye that swathes of Mongolia are now radioactive toxic wastelands thanks to the mining of rare earths because they represent the most despicable form of human being. For all the noises they make they do not care about anything except the needs of their murderous and destructive ideolog. Their hypocrisy trumps the welfare of kids and oh even the planet!

      • July 19, 2020 9:25 pm

        Sadly, yes. They only thing that would make him “learn” any new and constructive behavior would be if not “learning” it was a threat to his position. …which of course doesn’t speak at all well for his character, which would still be as void of wisdom and integrity as before making the “correct” decision under duress.

      • cajwbroomhill permalink
        July 19, 2020 9:51 pm

        So Greenness consists no only of waste, lies, ignorance and corruption but also of murderous inhumanity.
        Much worse than ancient historical disputations re Sun/Earth rotations.

  2. Simon permalink
    July 19, 2020 4:36 pm

    what was that about changing lead into gold?

    • July 19, 2020 7:55 pm

      Green Dream Alchemy is the belief you can economically turn
      a flaky intermittent solar/wind grid
      into an instant on demand conventional power grid

  3. Rowland P permalink
    July 19, 2020 4:36 pm

    A politician as usual displaying his ignorance of what is involved. Meanwhile, there is a solution for vehicles at least in the form of Al/air fuel cell – this is not a battery – which is capable of extending an electric car’s range to about 1500 miles before the cell needs simply replacing. See which is not getting the backing it should as it would eliminate the need for both petrol/diesel AND batteries!

  4. Ken Pollock permalink
    July 19, 2020 4:42 pm

    A few thoughts on hydrogen from a county councillor in Worcestershire.

    1. The tide seems to be running towards hydrogen, but one wonders whether this is based on sound engineering, as opposed to political aspirations, and engineering companies wishing to be ready for any business opportunity.

    2. Households: Worcester Bosch are looking at ways of using hydrogen for home heating, as Gove said that post 2025, no new houses should be built relying on natural gas. At a fringe meeting at the Tory conference, an engineer said it would take about an hour to convert a gas boiler to burn hydrogen. Given there are 23 million households in the country and maybe say 50% on natural gas, that is a lot of work.

    What he did not say was that once converted, you could not burn natural gas on the boiler. I was too polite to ask. so you start converting houses, but you can’t use the boiler until the hydrogen arrives. So you do it in towns, with a real blast at converting them, and then after a few days – say in mid-summer – you can start pumping the hydrogen.

    One flaw: we have a national grid of gas pipelines, so you can’t do it bit by bit. It is all or nothing. Problem…

    3. Hydrogen is tricky stuff to handle. It is OK in conventional blue plastic pipes, but it leaks out of metal ones. And we still have quite a lot of those in the grid. So, another big expense before you can start using hydrogen for any dispersed use.

    It also has a low calorific value (CV) and hence you need a bigger flow in the pipes to get the same “heating effect” at the end. Plus it is colourless and odourless and burns with an invisible flame, plus it likes to explode.

    It was used in town gas, but only at 50% with methane, CH4, so the problems were reduced.

    4. Hydrogen does not occur naturally, unlike coal, oil and natural gas (methane). So you have to make it. That can be done in two ways – splitting hydrogen out of methane or getting it from water.

    Methane (CH4) can be split, but you end up with CO2. So two problems. The Hydrogen has a much lower CV than methane, so you have worked hard to get something that is much less energy intensive. And you have to dispose of the CO2. Hence the Committee on Climate Change (CEO Chris Stark, Chairman John Gummer, now Lord Deben) said we would need to invent/perfect CCS, or CCUS. That is Carbon Capture and Storage or Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage. This has never been done at scale and will be energy intensive whatever.

    I went to an I Agr E lecture once by a man seeking to pump CO2 into the vacant undersea gas fields that the methane had come from. I asked him what percentage of the energy value of the original gas was used in the whole process of getting it safely under the North Sea. It had not even occurred to him. Not encouraging. At a conference at the NEC, two people told me it was a non-starter because of the amount of energy used in the process.

    Note, if we could get it work, suddenly coal is back on the agenda. If we use coal to generate electricity, it is in one place, where the CO2 all comes out of one pipe – easy to treat. cf. using oil derivatives in vehicles the CO2 in generated wherever they are, and capturing it is a nightmare!!!

    5. Getting hydrogen from water is easier, inasmuch as it just produces what you want and oxygen – and that makes up 21% of the earth’s atmosphere, so you can vent it safely. That said, it is a complicated process of electrolysis that uses a lot of energy – and that is what you were after in the first place…

    The conventional “green” answer to that problem is that you use surplus renewable energy, from wind turbines and solar panels. Except we do not have a surplus, as we have told those guys we will buy all they can produce, and tell the gas turbine generators to switch off if the renewables produce a lot…And if there is still too much, we will pay the wind turbine guys to feather their turbines, so they don’t produce electricity.

    The recent blackout was caused by a conventional power station tripping out, and by our biggest wind farm doing the same. Hence 1 million people with no electricity. The wind farm was Hornsea One, and we have a deal to buy all their electricity for 15 years with inflation adjustment for £158.65 per MWhr. That is about three times the normal price, and the price new wind farms can work at. Coal is about £20/MWhr. Worse, that weekend was windy, so we PAID Orsted, who own Hornsea One, to NOT produce electricity – despite them being responsible, at least in part, for the blackout!!!

    6. Transport: we have seen the JCB digger powered by hydrogen. Jo Bamford is making hydrogen buses. Alstom, a German company, tried out a hydrogen train on GWR’s lines recently. So, what’s not to like?

    The hydrogen has to be stored at 300-500 atmospheres (I have read of using 700 atmospheres recently) and transported in big tankers. It can power these vehicles quite well, but you will need a supply chain with the gas held under high pressure. Filling up is quick and pretty conventional – but don’t let it leak.

    Jo Bamford said the only reason he was using hydrogen was that the range from batteries was too small for buses. Probably true, but a poor reason. Swapping big batteries, as Tesla claims can be done quickly, would be a simpler solution.

    7. There is another problem – efficiency. If you use conventional batteries about 69% of the energy put into the battery is used in driving the vehicle. If you use hydrogen and then convert that to electricity with a fuel cell, the overall efficiency is 23%. See page 69 of “Autopia” by Jon Bentley (ex-producer of Top Gear, now a presenter on C5 The Gadget Show)

    So if we had a vast surplus of elergy to start with such a low efficiency would not matter. But we don’t. We have no surplus of energy. Note, everyone got very excited about 50% of our electricity being produced by renewables recently. Two problems. 1. it was intermittent and for short time, thus needing a fossil fuel source to fill in the gaps, and 2. electricity amounts to about 20% of our energy use. So this renewable stuff supplied about 10% of what we use.

    Hence, Mercedes recently gave up working on hydrogen being turned into motion by electrolysis in its cars after 30 years work. The basic problem – efficiency. And Mercedes know a thing or two about engineering…Plus they were collaborating with Ford and Nissan…

    8. So where does that leave our plans to go zero carbon by 2050? The first thing to note is that we had been committed to an 80% reduction since the 2008 act that Ed Milliband put through. Going from 80% to 100% was not such a big deal, but you would have thought it was a totally new idea!!! So don’t trust journalists and biased politicians.

    It leaves us with a massive problem of energy sources. Solution? Abandon the task as it is not necessary. Maybe it does not matter – but that is another story. Or go nuclear. And follow Rolls Royce in designing SMRs or AMRs. i.e. Small Modular Reactors or Advanced Modular Reactors. SMR can mean other things…

    These can be mass produced and transported to the location, where they can be assembled into a power station, using as many as you need for the demand expected. The trick is that nuclear power stations are all unique, so the big ones need years of proving to get approval. With the modular design, the small component is validated and then you can mass produce them and assemble as many as you want – and it is quick! And quick means cheap!

    We may see big moves to use hydrogen, but this background will help understanding of the limitations, when enthusiasts try to sell the idea.

    • Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
      July 19, 2020 6:19 pm

      Thanks for the summary.
      I will add that most or all of this investigation and activity is based on the axiom that CO2 is a significant control item of “climate”, specifically Global Warming or AGW. This is actually an unproven belief and ought to be proven, not taken to be true. There are many studies and reasons that do not support this axiom.
      A second point that needs to be made is that not everything that may happen with a warming atmosphere is significantly bad, a crisis. Comparisons of the warm “now” to the Little Ice Age might be a good idea. Full believers in AGW have tried to downplay the LIA. Why?

      • July 20, 2020 5:19 pm

        If the climate changes, there are likely to be winners and losers in equal measure. Maybe that’s why they invented “global heating” and “climate emergency” and other moronic terms.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      July 19, 2020 6:24 pm

      Ken, Great post. And I am so keeping that in my library!

      The thing about car manufacturers building EVs is all down to political/government rulings: ICEs have been penalised to the extent that only production of EVs can make a business case – courtesy of end-user ‘fines’ for buying ICEs.

      OTOH: Hannan has a point, inasmuch that the West needs to have an alternative to China’s monopoly on battery technology/components. I don’t think hydrogen is the answer but it is an indication – even though a weak one – that the West will not be held hostage.

      • Joe Public permalink
        July 19, 2020 7:09 pm

        Hi Harry

        Before adding Ken’s post to your library, a few amendments are needed. (Retaining Ken’s comment numbers)

        2.1 Boiler conversions. “At a fringe meeting at the Tory conference, an engineer said it would take about an hour to convert a gas boiler to burn hydrogen.”

        For some boilers only.

        The task is not as simple as the ‘engineer’ (what specialisation?) at the fringe meeting suggested. His ‘1-hour’ is just the final part of a very lengthy process.

        Click to access hydrogen-logistics.pdf

        2.2 “One flaw: we have a national grid of gas pipelines, so you can’t do it bit by bit. It is all or nothing. Problem…” Makes one wonder how Britain converted from Town’s Gas to Natural Gas. It was done with careful planning and sector / street by sector / street.

        3.1 “Hydrogen is tricky stuff to handle. It is OK in conventional blue plastic pipes ….”

        Blue plastic pipes are the ones distributing Hydrogen that’s always bonded to Oxygen.

        Yellow Ochre is the colour coding for gas pipes.

        3.2 “It also has a low calorific value (CV) and hence you need a bigger flow in the pipes to get the same “heating effect” at the end.”

        Hydrogen has ~1/3rd the v/v calorific value of natural gas (at same temp & pressure). However, hydrogen’s energy flow-rate capacity per unit volume along pipelines and pipework (at an unchanged pressure) is 80% that of Nat Gas. (Its much lower volumetric energy density is partially offset by a higher volumetric flow rate.)

        3.3 “Plus it is colourless and odourless and burns with an invisible flame, plus it likes to explode.”

        Three of those four qualities apply to natural gas.

        Click to access h2_safety_fsheet.pdf

      • Steve permalink
        July 21, 2020 6:14 am

        Could anyone explain how a methane boiler heating hot water at 40kW can heat it at the same rate using hydrogen?

    • July 19, 2020 8:20 pm

      Well written Ken, Thank you. AND the MOTHER of all ironies Ken, the combustion product of Hydrogen and Oxygen (just water vapour) that they proudly broadcast far and wide only happens to be the MAIN greenhouse gas (regardless of the actual contribution of this effect to the annual heat flux) but then the wilfully lunatic Left were never good at dealing with science, reality or consequences.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      July 19, 2020 8:21 pm

      Town gas, was hydrogen & carbon monoxide, no methane.

      • Ken Pollock permalink
        July 19, 2020 11:16 pm

        Adam, Thanks for the clarification. As you say, town Gas from coal would be just H2 and CO. Town gas from oil would be H2, CH4 and little CO.
        Coal gas is different: typical figures were: hydrogen 50%, methane 35%, carbon monoxide 10%, ethylene 5%.
        I’ll try to be more precise in future…

    • AndyF permalink
      July 23, 2020 11:23 pm

      Coal is about £20 you say. Interestingly the latest solar power in Abu Dhabi is just 1.35 U.S. cents per kilowatt, so £10.60/kwh. It’s cheap because unlike solar in the UK, which is dismal in winter when we need power most, they are southerly, with 8 or 9 hours of sunshine per day year round and have very cheap labour to build and maintain the system. You can’t transmit the generated electricity from there, but you can use it to electrolyse water and make hydrogen. As you point out hydrogen is a bad fuel to transport and store etc. You can however use a Sabatier process to combine it with CO2 extracted from seawater and make methane i.e. carbon neutral synthetic natural gas. This could be shipped to the UK in LPG tankers and fed into out existing gas storage and transport network with no need to convert our existing network to hydrogen. We then generate the bulk of our electricity in the existing gas turbine power stations just as we do now and do it a lot cheaper than building more windmills in the UK. As the base price there is so low there is margin to pay for the inherent inefficiency of the solar to gas conversion process.

      It’s a secure supply too: if for some reason this carbon neutral supply of natural gas ceases to be available we can simply revert to using fossil natural gas till it is restored or a new supplier arranged.

      This is the cost effective and low effort way for the UK “could” meet it’s carbon neutral ambitions.

  5. Broadlands permalink
    July 19, 2020 4:44 pm

    How is it that politicians and policy-makers are able to spend the same money on several different “needs” at the same time without another politician or the media noticing it? Moving the same pea around under the shells?

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 19, 2020 7:54 pm

      I think you are realising how politicians and the media are basically thick and too stupid to notice.

      • July 19, 2020 8:03 pm

        Indeed, to quote Edmond Blackadder… thick as a whale omelette.

      • July 19, 2020 11:10 pm

        I had a different take on “…politicians and the media are basically thick…”, as in “thick as thieves.” At least that’s how the Democrats and media are bonded here in US.

  6. dave permalink
    July 19, 2020 6:13 pm

    To adapt a quote from Nigel Molesworth in “Down with Skool”,

    “Of corse the poor fule does not relize he is a typikal politishian!”

  7. Gamecock permalink
    July 19, 2020 6:26 pm

    ‘Britain can lead the world!’

    Y’all miss the Empire.

  8. Joe Public permalink
    July 19, 2020 7:14 pm

    Hannan’s biggest faux pas is “The last gas heating system will be installed in 2025.”

    Plainly bollocks – one of the reasons Hydrogen is being considered, is to make some use of the existing natural gas infrastructure and appliance population.

    Perhaps he’s forgotten hydrogen is a gas at STP.

    • July 19, 2020 8:02 pm

      Well given he like all other trendy miscreants basking in the warm fuzzy haze of ignorance cannot distinguish between carbon (C) and carbon dioxide (CO2) then for him gas I assume means the recently demonized natural gas, methane (CH4)

  9. Joe Public permalink
    July 19, 2020 7:56 pm

    Watch the consequence of igniting 300 tonnes of liquid hydrogen + oxygen live.

    Launch time 11pm BST tonight:

    • Ken Pollock permalink
      July 20, 2020 11:01 am

      Joe, Thanks for pointing out my sloppy mistake in an earlier post. I have seen them both and should have been more careful. Blue plastic – water! Yellow plastic – gas. Good thing I never have to dig up the roads myself…
      The trick about switching to hydrogen is the boiler conversions – can they use either gas? And that hydrogen leaks through metal. Also thanks for pointing out the 1 hour I heard for conversion may be optimistic…

      • Joe Public permalink
        July 20, 2020 4:33 pm

        Hi Ken

        I understand most modern (domestic) boilers would be suitable for conversion from Nat Gas to Hydrogen.

        The majority could probably be converted quite swiftly. Provided they’d been correctly identified during the initial survey; and, originally correctly installed.

        Having been involved with the ‘original’ conversion programme, there are many potential pitfalls.

        Not least of which is discovering on C-Day that a cowboy installer (or over-enthusiastic/ignorant DIYer) had done an unsafe or Potentially Dangerous installation.

        As you mention, the volumetric cv of H2 is far less than Nat Gas The Gross Calorific Value of hydrogen is just 11.88 MJ/m3 (3.3kWh/m3) vs 37.5 MJ/m3 to 43.0 MJ/m3 (approx 11.1kWh/m3) for Nat Gas, so less than 30% that of Nat Gas per unit volume.

        Little thought seems to have been given to the fact that as a consequence, all volumetric gas meters (~100% of domestic meters & 99.9% of non-domestic meters) have their flow capacity reduced by 70%.

        From “Conversion of the UK gas system to transport hydrogen”:

        “2.2.4. Hydrogen meters
        Natural gas consumption in the UK is measured in each property using a flow meter. Hydrogen has different flow properties and a different volumetric energy content to natural gas so the existing flow meters are not considered suitable for measuring hydrogen consumption [17], [21], [36]. A number of hydrogen-specific meters are available but our interviewees’ highlighted reliability and accuracy issues from demonstration projects. They believe that further development is required to produce hydrogen meters that operate sufficiently well for households.”

        Re “… hydrogen leaks through metal.”

        Also from the above document:

        “2.2.1. High-pressure transmission and distribution pipes
        At ambient temperature and pressures below 100 bar, the principal integrity concern for high-strength steel is hydrogen embrittlement. Hydrogen will diffuse into any surface flaws that occur due to material defects, construction defects or corrosion, resulting in a loss of ductility, increased crack growth or initiation of new cracks. These will ultimately lead to material failure [20], [21], [22], [23]. Higher pressures are thought to increase the likelihood of material failure although no threshold value has been defined independently of other factors [24], [25], [26]. Hydrogen can be transported at high pressures using pipes constructed of softer steels that reduce the rate of embrittlement, and there is much industrial experience in this area spanning many decades [27]. This means that existing high-pressure natural gas pipelines are not suitable for hydrogen transport, but that a new national network of high-pressure pipelines could be constructed to transport hydrogen around the UK.

        2.2.2. Lower-pressure distribution and service pipes
        Steel and iron pipes, which were used prior to 1970, are susceptible to embrittlement if the hydrogen gas pressure is high enough. There is uncertainty about the threshold pressure below which the pipes can be safely used with hydrogen [21], [26]; it will almost certainly vary according to the type of steel or iron, as well as the pipeline microstructure, stress history and the type of welding used [24]. Conversely, the integrity of polyethylene pipelines, which have been used since 1970, should not be affected by the use of hydrogen …”

        Britain has ~542,600km of Transmission + Distribution + Service gas pipework of various materials!

  10. July 19, 2020 7:57 pm

    I detest the moronic references to carbon and decarbonizing. Is everyone out there an arts degree holder? Will someone explain to these morons that Carbon DIOXIDE is NOT CARBON! NOWHERE in his virtue signalling piece is there any demonstration of activity in the three active brain cells because if there were then he would give recognition to the UK’s 1% contribution to the global annual amount of CO2 returned to the carbon cycle ( a whopping 3% of the TOTAL annual flux…a magical 3% clearly). Even more absurd because in all probability the very country, China SELLING us electric car batteries with Lithium harvested by children in Africa so the pious can virtue signal, is quite probably increasing it’s emissions by the UK’s total every year! And the consequences of this piety about an unproven claim against CO2? Putting our guaranteed energy supply in jeopardy at an eye watering cost and crippling our economy by making us less and less competitive with….CHINA! Sounds exactly what the marxists have been dreaming about for the last 80 years!

    • Ken Pollock permalink
      July 19, 2020 11:03 pm

      I like your comment about Carbon and Carbon Dioxide. At one of our full council meetings on the “climate change emergency” I made a similar point, by taking a sip of hydrogen from my glass…After all, hydrogen bears the same relation to water as carbon does to carbon dioxide. Not my original idea, but it was fun to do it…

      • Joe Public permalink
        July 20, 2020 4:46 pm


      • Joe Public permalink
        July 20, 2020 4:49 pm

        To those who illogically refer to CO2 as ‘Carbon’, perhaps the best response is “Carbon as in soot; carbon as in (pencil) graphite; or, carbon as in diamond?”

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 20, 2020 1:18 am

      The sources of Lithium:

      Argentina…… 6.4….. 1700
      Australia…… 40.7 …..2800
      Brazil……….. 0.3 ……..95
      Chile……… 16.6 …..8600
      China…….. 7.5 …..1000
      Portugal…….. 1.2 ……..60
      US…………….. 0.9 ……630
      Zimbabwe …….. 1.6 ……230
      Rest of World… 1.8 …… 370

      First figure is production of lithium carbonate in million tonnes in 2019, second figure is estimated reserves

      SOurce: BP World ENergy 2020

    • StephenP permalink
      July 20, 2020 2:02 pm

      IIRC the children in Àfrica are involved with mining cobalt.

  11. Gerry, England permalink
    July 19, 2020 8:00 pm

    Nothing sums up our media better than letting an idiot like Hannan write an article. That same rag was whingeing last week that social media is killing off the press with no hint of irony. The dismal standard of the press has encouraged people to look for information elsewhere. Paul’s site demonstrates this perfectly given the amount of ignorant media drivel he finds to tear apart. Blogs more than twitter are far better information sources than the legacy media.

  12. Coeur de Lion permalink
    July 19, 2020 9:04 pm

    Just one serious hindenburg should fix it. Do read Prof Kelly and Dr Ruth Lea of the GWPF on the impossibility of the Zero Carbon scam. I complain periodically to the BBC that they never mention the facts of this mad venture, nor UKs 1.2% of global CO2. Reply usual disdainful ignorant boilerplate by ‘Deborah’.

    • Joe Public permalink
      July 19, 2020 9:41 pm

      “Just one serious hindenburg should fix it.”

      Fukushima Daiichi not serious enough, then? 😀

      (Skip to 07:55) >>

  13. Alan Davidson permalink
    July 19, 2020 9:39 pm

    The impetus behind suggesting hydrogen as a viable fuel seems to be to find an alternative to fossil fuels producing CO2 emissions that are thought to be the cause of a warming climate. Although CO2 is considered to be a GHG, it is well recognized that water vapour is by far the most prevalent GHG. So now we have the suggestion that hydrogen as a fuel source that produces water vapour as a combustion by-product could be preferable to fossil fuels that produce CO2 as a combustion by-product. What would be the point?

    • Mack permalink
      July 20, 2020 11:06 am

      ‘What would be the point?”

      Absolutely nothing if your genuine intention was to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses, seeing that the hydrogen reformation process produces way more GHGs than traditional fossil fuel production.

      But that, clearly, isn’t the point. Now if you were to suggest that the whole point of the exercise was to initiate some kind of collective ‘hari kari’ for Western Civilization, driven by nutjobs, willing self-enriching fools and the ignorant masses, you’d probably be right!

  14. bobn permalink
    July 19, 2020 10:39 pm

    Yes we must all email dan hannan. On so many subjects he has been perceptive and correct, however on this he has read the first piece of propaganda and fallen for it hook, line and sinker. I just think he needs to be presented with some of the practical evidence. Send him the engineering and science evidence.

  15. July 19, 2020 11:57 pm

    “Coal will be banned from our power stations in 2024. The last gas heating system will be installed in 2025. Petrol, diesel and even hybrid cars will be gone by 2035”

    The insanity pandemic.

  16. It doesn't add up... permalink
    July 20, 2020 1:51 am

    Euan Mearns tackled the hydrogen economy here:

    The economics look even worse now with very low natural gas prices.

  17. pochas94 permalink
    July 20, 2020 2:42 am

    I sure hope China doesn’t cut off battery shipments. Well, there’s always plenty of fossil fuel available. Well, there should be.

  18. markl permalink
    July 20, 2020 3:42 am

    It’s not just the hydrogen scam, it’s the AGW scam.

    • cajwbroomhill permalink
      July 20, 2020 9:39 am

      The most damaging scam in the last very many years since Communism and German (and Scottish) Nazism. 2 of these have been reduced a little, but at terrible cost.

  19. K Farar permalink
    July 20, 2020 8:58 am

    You might like to keep in mind that the population in this country is rising at the rate of 400000 every year so by 2050 when we should be carbon neutral there be another 12M people living here all in need of housing,food, etc and producing more carbon dioxide. What are we going to do about that.

  20. Vernon E permalink
    July 20, 2020 1:18 pm

    Hannan’s article is based entirely around AEP’s Telegraph article of 16 July, which he quotes, and which I posted about the same day. This makes a powerful case that ITM Power has taken polymer membrane electrolysis technology (PEM) to produce hydrogen to an industrial scale which will eventually make a totally hydrogen based economy painlessly achievable. References by search are sparse but it is clear that with Linde (a totally credible organisation) they are actually building a unit to produce hydrogen for a refinery in Germany with great interest being taken in the technology by the German government. It claims 80% efficiency for the process (but efficiency in what?) and I cannot find anything about the potential magnitude of this technology (but a modern refinery uses a heck of a lot off hydrogen). To try to visualise what might be the potential I compare with the magnitude of what shale gas might have offered I go back to my banging on for years about the problem of shale gas playing a significant role in UK gas usage viz that to produce ten percent of the Morecambe Bay field flow and based on successful US shale (Marcellus) would need six hundred wells! Heat-for-heat hydrogen needs about three times the volume of methane, so to visualise any kind of electrolysers that could make even a small impact on UK gas demand is bizarre. I don’t at the moment remember what the UK daily volumetric gas demand is but the old steam reformers were built in trains of ten million SCFD each – and there were dozens of them. Meanwhile ITM Power share have risen 1500% so somebody is taking it seriously. Utterly baffled. Over to you Paul.

  21. Vernon E permalink
    July 20, 2020 1:41 pm

    Sorry for the laziness. UK gas demand is about 7.5 billion cfd so replacing with hydrogen would need over 20 billion cfd. That’s a lot of gas.

  22. Vernon E permalink
    July 20, 2020 6:36 pm

    it doesn’t add up – can you quote your source please – that seems a lot of hydrogen but, as I said, hydro-refining does consume a lot of it.

    Joe Public – that’s not a lot different from what I said but we still widely measure commercial gas volumes in cubic feet or multiples thereof.

    So what’s the answer – that this is all nonsense?

  23. Vernon E permalink
    July 20, 2020 7:08 pm

    It doesn’t add up – sorry, you did link your reference (which I had already found). It uses phrases like “…could be a key technology” and ” … would be a step into the future…”. This means accepting that AEP and Dan Hannan are utter charlatans, claiming that this one-off (small) example has opened up a way to a painless “carbon free” (whatever that means) future. Paul, we desperately need your input on this.

    • Joe Public permalink
      July 20, 2020 7:58 pm

      Perhaps the biggest problem with Hydrogen proponents’ puff pieces is that they tend to state a power (e.g. the O&GJ’s ‘Shell’s Rheinland refinery due hydrogen plant’: “With a peak capacity of 10 Mw (sic), the proposed plant will use electricity …” whilst deliberately failing to state whether that is input or output. AND, they also then omit the ‘other’ figure. Or they’ll be disingenuous and if you’re lucky, quote MW, and H2 mass per hour output.

      A 100MW / 2-tons H2/hr electrolysis plant would be approx 67% efficient.

      They also then tend to fail to mention the energy needed to make that hydrogen distributable – i.e. the energy needed to compress or cryogenically treat it.

      Hydrogen Liquefaction requires approx 36% of energy content for optimum energy density/m3.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        July 20, 2020 11:00 pm

        Given that the hydrogen is for use in the refinery, I don’t think there is any reason for figures about its distribution. The refinery has a large hydrocracker (43,000b/d) which will bolt some of the hydrogen onto broken up molecules from heavier fractions, replacing C-C bonds with C-H H-C, and lots of hydrodesulphurisation, where it will initially end up prising sulphur out of mercaptans and producing H2S, which will be further processed into prilled sulphur via the Claus process which returns the hydrogen to a water by-product, or sulphuric acid. The plant generates such a tiny fraction of the refinery requirement that dealing with the energy in converting it to process conditions is almost superfluous.

        What we do have is 1300 tonnes per year for an investment of €20m, which is ~€15/kgH2/year as capacity investment, or €2,000/kW of input capacity. You are not going to be in a hurry to run that plant at the kind of low utilisation factors that are implicit in using otherwise curtailed wind output. Put it in context – to produce 180,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year you are looking at an investment of €2.75bn – just to make hydrogen. Obviously this is a pilot plant, but it’s hard to see where they will make big cost savings as they scale up.

  24. Graf permalink
    July 20, 2020 10:55 pm

    When I first read DH’s article in eTelegraph on Sunday I instantly thaught that another clever and lucid mind has been infected by the virus of the ‘green blob’. Such a shame!

  25. Vernon E permalink
    July 21, 2020 9:57 am

    It doesn’t add up: excellent posting. Can you go one stage further and extrapolate what it would look like to apply this technology to generate, say, an equivalence to ten percent of uk (natural) gas usage. I’ve been trying to make a comparison with a typical large electrolytic copper refinery but without much success. I’d dearly like to see a case that would kill this “painless hydrogen” meme stone dead but I haven’t seen it yet.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 21, 2020 2:58 pm

      I think the simplest thing is to take Timera’s figures of 25-35$/MMBtu for green hydrogen, call that 10 times gas price, and multiply the extra 9 times by 880TWh of gas consumption, and we get a penalty of about £65bn a year. Plus added gas distribution costs.

  26. July 21, 2020 2:19 pm

    Paul Homewood should be putting forward his hydrogen-less proposals to decarbonise heating, transport and industry to get to the UK’s mandated zero carbon by 2050 target. His plan could be levelled at the €30 billion the EU are committing and €9 billion Germany are to spend on decarbonising by the green hydrogen (from wind and solar) route.

    Nuclear power plants (npps) operating at 100% availability, in combination with electrolyser plants will wipe out investment in wind and solar technologies by cutting out the need for storage of humongous volumes of hydrogen and a P2G2P infrastructure.

    The optimised npp/electrolyser combination can load follow both electricity and hydrogen fuel demand diurnally and seasonally. By 2030, Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) from 3 different manufacturers will be operating. An SMR combined with an electrolyser plant would be an attractive proposition for a single operator with 2 revenue streams maximising income and the prospect of offering competitive prices for the hydrogen fuel.

    The infrastructure for electricity from npps exists and adding a green hydrogen infrastructure makes for the simplest, fully decarbonised energy system imaginable, when compared with the historical infrastructure that has so successfully met our affordable energy demands from coal, oil and gas. Exploration; discovery; ‘mining’; transport; processing; storage; transport; appliances for use – that’s pretty complex, very polluting, but still affordable.

    For every barrel of oil discovered, we are using 6 barrels. The medium/long term prices will spiral ever upwards, as the cost of producing green hydrogen falls to a level, according to the aficionados in the field, to be competitive with liquid fuels by 2030.

    As the hydrogen infrastructure rolls out to decarbonise heavy goods and passenger vehicles, rail, shipping and aircraft, it will signal the end of BEVs, which will all be replaced by FCEVs, with their small regen batteries. The ‘China argument’ will become more spurious than it is already and thank goodness for that – fuel cells completely recyclable and no toxic waste mountains to worry about.

    • July 21, 2020 3:55 pm

      Simple. We scrap the net zero target, Colin

      And I will continue to point out the suicidal costs and utter impracticalities of net zero.

    • Mikehig permalink
      July 27, 2020 7:50 pm

      “For every barrel of oil discovered, we are using 6 barrels. The medium/long term prices will spiral ever upwards,”
      Peak oil, the Malthusian prediction that never dies. I wonder if it’s the longest-running scare story after Malthus’ own efforts on population/food/resources? There was a US presidential commission on the projected exhaustion of oil reserves back in the early 1900s.
      And prices will spiral ever upwards….just like they have done in the past. Not.

      Ahhh, it’s good to have something to chuckle at on a Monday.

  27. 2hmp permalink
    July 22, 2020 11:52 am

    Having known Dan Hannan for many years his article brought me up sharply as it shows little recognition of the science from all angles. This is not like Dan and I wonder how much if any of this article was ghost written.

  28. cajwbroomhill permalink
    July 24, 2020 10:39 am

    The only consequences of “Carbon Neutrality” for us are vast and unacceptable domestic, transport and industrial disruptions, all futile even if there were any evidence of climatic benefit from total global decarbonisation.
    The carbon neutral concept, based on ignorance is an insane policy while most of the world sensibly ignores greenhouse gas curbing as a useless own goal.

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