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Royal Society–Role Of Hydrogen

April 6, 2022

By Paul Homewood



 Further to yesterday’s post on green hydrogen. the Royal Society published this paper on the subject last year:




Two paragraphs stood out:



Assuming a cost of £3000, this would add up to about £81 billion for the UK. This is similar to the costs published by the Committee on Climate Change – £50 to 100 billion.


Projections of falling costs are not creditable, given that all the evidence suggests that offshore wind costs are much higher than assumed, and that solar panel costs are likely to head up and not down, as  consequence of higher energy costs and raw material shortages.

$3.00 to $6.60/kg equates to about £75.00 to £165.00/MWh. A large range of uncertainty, but even at the bottom end is five times the historic cost of natural gas.

  1. GeorgeLet permalink
    April 6, 2022 7:06 pm

    Prudence would mean a test environment like trying this in one town. Such should have been done with wind and solar. But the pushers of these and the climate scammers are afraid of what the results would be.

    • StephenP permalink
      April 7, 2022 8:11 am

      I can’t see where hydrogen can be produced without the inefficiencies involved in production from natural gas, or in the production of wind generators and solar panels to produce hydrogen by electrolysis.
      If you use nuclear you might as well use the electricity directly.
      If you are using hydrogen as a transportable fuel, a question is in the energy density of hydrogen compared to fossil fuels, which IIRC is about 1/16.

  2. Harry Passfield permalink
    April 6, 2022 7:07 pm

    When something just sounds so stupid – then, using Occam’s razor, it must be stupid:
    In order to save the planet, instead of allowing people to burn a natural gas for heating and cooking – which causes (they say) climate change – let’s burn that gas centrally and convert the output to another (un-natural) gas – at great cost – before allowing our population to burn it – at added safety risks and added costs – to achieve, to a lower order of efficiency, that which was achievable with NG in the first place. For all that, the cost-benefit – at least – has to be examined: The target is to save the planet by reducing CO2 emissions. So what was the reduction in CO2 emissions and what was the effect?
    In a word, the benefit was unmeasurable. In another, negligible. But the cost was phenomenal.

    • April 6, 2022 8:21 pm

      Do I hear ‘ponzi scheme’?

      • Richard Jarman permalink
        April 7, 2022 11:12 am

        Follow the money

      • catweazle666 permalink
        April 7, 2022 4:00 pm

        Given that the entire “Carbon Credits” scam was perpetrated by Al Gore and Ken Lay – of Enron notoriety – that’s precisely what you hear.

  3. Broadlands permalink
    April 6, 2022 7:26 pm

    As long as fossil fuels are being used to manufacture, construct and install any “solutions” to this bogus climate crisis, they are “green” in name only. No transition to the all-electric world can be made without substantial use of fossil fuels for transporting all the things needed. So, we can expect them to announce new records for Mauna Loa CO2 every year. And tell us a new “tipping point” is imminent?

  4. Ray Sanders permalink
    April 6, 2022 7:26 pm

    Personally I find it quite sick that institutions like this are continuing this total BS notion of hydrogen as a “fuel” supply. Who is paying for this truly absurd promotion?

    • April 6, 2022 8:48 pm

      It does seem odd that “scientists” are pontificating about technology/engineering, in which “The Science” was settled about 100 years ago, but this is the age of little integrity.

      It should have been the Royal Academy of Engineering that did this report, but maybe not, because here is their mission statement:

      “The Royal Academy of Engineering is a charity that harnesses the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone.”

  5. April 6, 2022 7:34 pm

    When I did chemistry at school, I don’t recall hydrogen being coloured. It just had several isotopes.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      April 6, 2022 7:47 pm

      This is Zoomer Hydrogen which doesn’t have isotopes just rainbow colours

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      April 6, 2022 9:21 pm

      It is being shaded by different opinions. Thus the most expensive method gets the accolade of GREEN. They would like to declare the ‘cheapest’ method as BLACK because their view of evil CARBON.

  6. catweazle666 permalink
    April 6, 2022 7:55 pm

    Anyone with experience in the chemical engineering and petroleum industry would be horrified at these suggestions.
    If by some mischance use of hydrogen of any colour becomes widespread it will end in tears – and bloody big insurance claims!

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      April 6, 2022 8:48 pm

      The IPCC give CO2 a “Global Warming Potential” – GWP – factor of 1 as benchmark. Hydrogen is not a direct greenhouse gas…but the IPCC give it a GWP of 5.8 i.e. almost 6 times worse than CO2!
      This is because free molecular hydrogen is extremely rare on earth – it is nearly always bound up in compounds (notably H20) – as it is so incredibly reactive. Forget hydrogen escaping and exploding (obviously a serious risk) but it also rises through the atmosphere rapidly and reaches the stratosphere. There it readily reacts with O3 (Ozone) punching holes in the ozone layer and also produces the dominant greenhouse effect contributor (H2O in all phases). Furthermore it also reacts with atmospheric hydroxyl radicals (+OH) to produce water vapour which would otherwise breakdown methane (CH4) through transition to CO and thence CO2.
      So fugitive H2 emissions are not only an explosive problem they could genuinely fuck up the atmosphere. Great plan eh….?

  7. Ian Magness permalink
    April 6, 2022 7:59 pm

    Royal Society = Royally Stupid
    Even to look at these very brief excerpts, it’s pathetic:
    “countries such as the UK are now converting their piping from metal to plastic”. Oh, so no “carbon emissions” from use of hydrocarbons there then. how many “carbon offsets” will be needed for that?
    “The main competitive technology for residential heating is heat pumps”… at a cost of tens of thousands of £ for each property with annual fuel bills even higher than present. God help us with “experts” making comments like that.
    “Projections suggest… could become competitive… in the CURRENT DECADE as CCS and electrolyser technologies advance” Utter delusional fantasies. As has been said many times before, where on Earth is all the captured CO2 supposed to go and at what cost? Where is the evidence that anything (other than extreme cost rises) can be achieved on this issue any time soon?
    “Carbon prices in the range of €55-90 per tonne of CO2 will be needed to make blue hydrogen competitive” What nonsense is this? Tax the crap out of everything else in sight just to make your chosen process economic when it otherwise would never be? And will governments – especially across Asia – follow suit to ensure that manufacturers world-wide are all on a level playing field? That’s got be be economic illiteracy of the highest order.
    The whole thing is breathtakingly stupid. And to think that our great and good in parliament will read this and take it on board.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      April 6, 2022 8:28 pm

      On the plus side, just think of the money to be made by carbon-traders. South-Sea bubble pales into insignificance compared to this scam.

    • April 6, 2022 8:52 pm

      Frankly these people are either paid shills or as thick as sh!t. Either ways they are bloody dangerous.

    • richardw permalink
      April 6, 2022 8:55 pm

      We’re looking into replacing our gas boiler, and a friend told me he was advised not to replace it with the leading brand as that used plastic piping which deteriorated rapidly with age. So maybe plastic piping ain’t the answer, or could it just be that Hydrogen is a devilishly difficult element?

      • Coeur de Lion permalink
        April 7, 2022 7:52 am


      • Harry Davidson permalink
        April 7, 2022 10:33 am

        Coeur de Lion: Nobody died as a result of hydrogen catching fire on the Hindenburg, so I don’t understand your point.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      April 6, 2022 9:31 pm

      I saw that bit “electrolyser technologies advance” and I wondered why during the last 100 years no-one had thought of improving electrolysers when they had economic reasons to do so, but now somehow they are going to be much more efficient now. The Fairy Godmother waves a magic wand?
      As for the Royal Society I think they should reward fellowships to those ‘scientists’ who during the recent Antarctic ‘heat wave’ claimed that ice and snow would melt at temperatures of minus 10-12℃. These new clowns would fit in well.

      • Coeur de Lion permalink
        April 7, 2022 8:37 pm

        Response to Harry Davidson. Only 35 people died at the Hindenburg disaster, if it been more expensive helium, never have happened?

    • Mack permalink
      April 6, 2022 10:36 pm

      Great points Ian. And most sensible folk would agree with you. Unfortunately, there’s barely a single principled or knowledgeable politician in the UK who is prepared to put their head above the ramparts and start shouting about the insanity of the current direction of travel. The rump of the Conservative leadership and their placemen are completely away with the fairies on cost of living/energy issues. The Labour Party are even worse. The Lib Dems are certifiable and the Greens, well the Greens seem to have all of the aforementioned by the short and curlies via a combination of billionaire NGO & media backing, ‘Axis’ funded propaganda and twitter guilt purges so, in the UK, who’s gonna get us out of this mess? Santa Claus or a reinvigorated Tooting Popular Front?

  8. April 6, 2022 8:17 pm

    Outright deception in the very first sentence – “point of use”! Oh dear, and we thought the RS was the bastion of the scientific method and scepticism, “at the word of no one”.

  9. April 6, 2022 8:19 pm

    And can someone please tell the loons at the RS that hydrogen is *NOT* a fuel, but merely an energy transport & storage mechanism, and a very inefficient one at that.

  10. Dave Ward permalink
    April 6, 2022 8:23 pm

    What happens (to the poor bloody householders) if there are hydrogen supply problems AFTER they have been converted?

  11. April 6, 2022 10:56 pm

    The carbon dioxide hoax has been a talking point for over 40 years. Why ?

    • catweazle666 permalink
      April 6, 2022 11:19 pm

      The destruction of Western capitalism and all that it entails is official UN policy.

      At a news conference in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.
      “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.
      Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will be adopted at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added:
      “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

      • John Brown permalink
        April 7, 2022 6:03 pm

        Many thanks to catweazle for his very interesting post. I would love to be able to send Christiana Fgueres’ news conference speech to my MP but I suspect that an article in Investor’s Business Daily would not be taken seriously. I have tried to find another source, peferably the UN itself, or a UK source, but without success. Does anyone know where it can found please?

      • catweazle666 permalink
        April 7, 2022 8:50 pm

        My pleasure, John.
        Search “Christiana Figueres quotes” for a fine selection of further lunacy.

        You could also try “United Nations Population Replacement” for further enlightenment on what other delights our Globalist masters have in store for us.

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      April 7, 2022 7:32 am

      Why was Russian Gas (Methane) environmentally friendly enough to use, yet British Gas, (the Methane, not the company), evil?

      Probably because Green Accounting dumps the blame on those that produce it, or some other such idiocy, not the consumer.

      It doesn’t affect the Physics of it, even if you believe it has any significant effect.

      • dave permalink
        April 7, 2022 8:44 am

        “Why was Russian Gas…[OK]…yet…British GAS…[not OK]?”

        Because of a theory that buying oil and gas from Russia would butter their bread so much that they would give up their revanchist ambitions.

  12. Stephen Bowers permalink
    April 7, 2022 11:05 am

    I work for a large German chemical manufacturer and have been in the oil, gas and petchem business for 43 years. One of the topics that is occupying a lot of my time is nonsense like this. The real problem facing mankind is over-population and resource depletion, which our polotical leaders refuse to accept. There was a very good paper written on hydrogen by electrolysis at a GW scale. Thermodynamics dictate the efficiency of any process. At present the entire global capacity of electrolysers is less than 1GW. The largest electrolyser currently under consideration is the Shell unit in Germany with an input of 100 MW. The hydrogen production will be 13 kta.
    Costs for windpower are consistently underestimated as is the OPEX. Installed costs are of the order of >$4 million per MW (installed). Maintenance costs (OPEX) are high – very high for offshore. The stress cycles over its lifetime of a wind turbine are tyoically 2 orders of magnitude greater than a large jet aircraft. The loads on the blades are constantly changing which places enourmous strain on the pitch mechanism, the generator gearbox and and the mast. Ice accretion on the blades can be extremely dangerous to equipment and people. Many turbine blades to do make design life and there is no means of recycling the composite blades. Huge quantities of concrete and steeel are required, as are various other minerals that are in short supply ( Rare Earth’s, Nickel, Copper, Zinc to name a few).

    Then there is the area required. Power density is about 5watts per square metre, and the delivered power at best 50% so 2.5 watts per square metre. Wind turbines have to be separated due to the turbulence that is generated. Bigger turbines = bigger separation distances. The constant is the power density. A 10MW turbine would need a surface area of 10 x 5 million square metres- that is 5 square kilometres. That is not a misprint.

    I will not go into the handling of hydrogen or ammonia. It has been covered. This is a boondoggle than will make someone very rich. Will it ever be economic. Not a hope. It would waste even more scarce resources an require massive inputs of fossil fuels.

    Don’t think hydraulic fracturing is the answer. It is not. It has not worked in the US and is never going to work in Europe. The US may have produced a lot of oil in a short time but it has not made any money. Investors have lost thier shirts and banks will not touch them.




  13. Geoff permalink
    April 7, 2022 11:17 am

    Prior to the mid-1960s, we used to live in a hydrogen economy. Domestic town gas was made by cooking coal in a retort and was 50 % hydrogen, 35 % methane, 15 % other. Once North Sea gas (85 % methane) with its greater thermal capacity became widely available the conversion was a no brainer and led to the widespread adoption of natural gas for domestic central heating.

  14. BLACK PEARL permalink
    April 7, 2022 1:45 pm

    Yes there’s plenty of coal just off the coast in the North East, enough for a 100 years or more.

    But that would interfere with all those subsidies set up for Charlie Boy (Crown Estates) & his cohort landowners + investment bank mates, that are raking it in from the poor folk, who are bombarded with constant climate propaganda telling them its for their own good & protection to keep them scared & quite. A tactic that always seems to work, just look at the last 2 years !
    Corruption all the way to the top.

  15. Joe Public permalink
    April 7, 2022 2:19 pm

    Hydrogen …. can also be used to generate power (by) driving turbines”

    One has to wonder if the RS, in its zeal for ‘renewables’, is aware of the HSE’s “concern” expressed in its Research Report 1047:

    “Injecting hydrogen into the gas network – a literature search
    Prepared by the Health and Safety Laboratory for the Health and Safety Executive 2015”

    “ Gas turbines
    … Unwanted spontaneous ignition before reaching the burner and flashback of the flame into the burner can both have potentially disastrous effects on the integrity of the machine. At the other extreme, flame blowout is equally unwanted, and even partial flame lift can result in undesirable acoustic instability. A particular concern regarding ignition is the presence of hydrogen; since this gas ignites easily, there is concern that even small quantities of hydrogen in natural gas would be catastrophic for turbine behaviour.”

    Click to access rr1047.pdf

    • April 7, 2022 2:26 pm

      The fail is right there in the first sentence:
      “using excess offshore wind generated electricity to power large-scale onshore electrolysis plants”!
      What excess wind generated electricity?? As it is, it’s only generating a small fraction of total requirement.

      • Graeme Johnston permalink
        April 7, 2022 3:06 pm

        Electricity customers paid windfarms £1bn in the UK over the past decade to switch off turbines when the grid had reached capacity. Scandalous waste of money and resource. Perhaps if the energy could be redirected to say Hydrogen production we might at least gain something for the effort.

        I see Aberdeen is quietly building a reputation for hydrogen use. Most of the buses have been converted and BP have announced plans for a Hydrogen Hub in the area. Not a panacea for high energy prices but progress nevertheless.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        April 7, 2022 4:08 pm

        The problem is that surpluses are intermittent and variable. That makes it hard to have a viable system, because much of the capacity would be heavily underutilised. It is of course not sensible to increase the utilisation of the electrolysis plants by running them from hydrogen or methane powered electricity when that power could be used directly. I see no evidence that the Royal Society has properly examined this point. See this chart

      • Joe Public permalink
        April 7, 2022 7:19 pm


        Re Aberdeen’s hydrogen buses, the article states:

        “Ian Gillot, parts and services group director, said an issue with a mounting bracket at the rear of a bus was detected during a routine check on Thursday.

        “After undertaking a thorough maintenance check, we have decided to upgrade and replace the part across the fleet to ensure we don’t see a repeat of the issue,” he said.

        “This is a mechanical problem and not a hydrogen fuel-related issue,” he added.”

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