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(6,287 posts)
Mon Jun 3, 2024, 10:25 AM Jun 3

Hiding behind hydrogen

A bit over a year old, but a good summary of the current role of hydrogen as an energy carrier in the economy.

When you zoom in on hydrogen’s “colours,” however, they appear slippery. The hydrogen economy is not a palette of technological options but a grey-brown oil refinery behind an eye-catching blue-green front gate. All the chatter is of the latter.

Green and blue hydrogen yield 11 million and 320,000 Google hits respectively, as against 95,000 for grey and 49,000 for brown. The reality curves in the opposite direction: only 0.04 per cent of hydrogen is green, and blue hydrogen is also less than one per cent. At least 96 per cent is grey or brown, most of which is used in oil refineries and for manufacturing ammonia and methanol.

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(38,571 posts)
4. It's a polite way of saying that the use of hydrogen...
Mon Jun 3, 2024, 02:16 PM
Jun 3

...as a fuel, or for energy transmission, or as an energy storage medium, is largely a scam, one promoted by the same fossil fuel industry that wants you to believe carbon capture is a viable and important technology.

I'm not so nice. I started thinking about hydrogen as a fuel and doing the math more than forty years ago. I knew personally some of the early promoters of hydrogen fuel. I couldn't make the math work then, and I can't make it work now.

It's not a simple technical problem that can be solved with more engineering -- it has to do with the thermodynamic and physical properties of hydrogen itself.

If you've got an economical carbon-free source of hydrogen, say from a high temperature nuclear reactor running a sulfur-iodine cycle, it's best to use that hydrogen to synthesize nitrogen fertilizers and much easier-to-handle conventional fuels.

There were people who believed human powered ornithopters would be as common as bicycles in the 21st century. Why not?

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