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The Forum > Article Comments > Hydrogen power: hype or hope? > Comments

Hydrogen power: hype or hope? : Comments

By Geoff Carmody, published 7/11/2018

The report accepts costs need to be reduced and that will require a massive effort. It says more R&D, and, importantly, getting the market activated to generate experience with production processes.

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If one wanted to make the world's cheapest hydrogen, then one would choose the catalytic cracking of the water molecule And provide flameless heat with MSR thorium as the, cheapest and walk away safe, method of providing flameless heat.

The addition of CO2 to the flow just prior to that catalyst prevents the mixture from becoming explosive. Gas that hot and superheated to the point of df decomposition is not without danger and should any significant volumes of H and O2 be allowed to mix while super hot?

One could create an explosion that'd flatten a city block. Other methods include biological production or just accepting methane easily made as biogas, which when scrubbed can be used in a ceramic fuel cell to produce electricity. This particular combination could produce as much as an 80% energy coefficient, all while producing mostly pristine water vapour as the exhaust product. And that is, four times better than coal!

Alternatively, we can, utilising walk away safe, MSR thorium, extract Copious CO2 from seawater and through a series of compressions create a liquid that can then be combined with Hydrogen sourced from the same source and combine them to create any number of fuel types, indefinitely.

Likewise, combining Hydrogen and nitrogen collected via fraction distillation. Able to produce a diesel alternative that for starters is a cleaner burning product. All these things are possible in various industrial processes.

However, the pragmatist would ask, if all we need is a transition fuel and a reduction in our CO2 production? Well, there isn't any internal combustion engine that cannot be retuned and perhaps blown, to run on pure methane, and no house or domicile that can't be powered with reticulated gas, that could be piped to individual ceramic fuel cells, for that purpose.

The huge energy losses (75%) that we'd save, would likely pay for a countrywide progressive rollout Of manufactured gas.
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Wednesday, 7 November 2018 12:55:05 PM
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And once again, Geoff writes an article about something he knows very little about.

When we're getting hydrogen from fossil fuels, it's simply uncompetitive to produce on a large scale. So all that stuff about emissions accounting is moot. To be fair, the HAF report also makes that mistake when it considers CCS. That report also fails to acknowledge the possibility of indirect thermochemical splitting of water (using solar power) even though that technology is likely to be cost competitive with electrolysis.

Geoff appears to not have read the HAF report very well, judging by his statement that "Moreover, the water must be 'high purity'". It's only one of two competing electrolysis technologies that requires the water to be high purity. And the report does state that it requires more energy than the other alternative.

He then displays intellectual dishonesty by equating global warming with religion, as well as the common atheists' mistake of equating religion with illogicality. He then makes his own highly illogical statement:
"Unless we switch to national emissions consumption accounting, based on history's lessons of failure so far, you'll also conclude Australia should do nothing to reduce its emissions production. It's futile without a global response".
...oblivious to the fact that Australia's actions have a significant effect in determining the size of a global response.

Finally he demonstrates his own ignorance of the current state of technology when he says "Many believe equally reliable renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels because politicians and others assert they are. Like hydrogen, they're not." For although they have a different cost structure, we genuinely have reached the point that they've become cheaper overall. The irony is it's the politicians who are leading the denial of this!
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Taswegian,
Do you have a source/breakdown for the $3/l figure?
Posted by Aidan, Wednesday, 7 November 2018 1:45:06 PM
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plantagenet
Is that a troll? As David has already noted, hydrogen only produces water when burned (and though water vapour is a greenhouse gas, it quickly condenses out). BTW although carbon monoxide is acutely toxic, it is not carcinogenic).

Although hydrogen is explosive, so are hydrocarbons - and presumably oil refineries are insured. And though hydrogen combusts more easily, it has the advantage of being lighter than air, so gets itself out of the way pretty quickly.

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David, that's in the HAF report that Geoff based his article on!

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Alan B.,

Thorium power is not the world's cheapest.
Even if it becomes as cheap as its proponents predict, it will not be the world's cheapest power. Indeed solar power can already be that cheap.
Posted by Aidan, Wednesday, 7 November 2018 1:49:40 PM
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Aidan
the figure I recalled was US$3 per litre. This article says the target price is 2/L whether that is wholesale or retail is not stated
http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/first-synthetic-blue-crude-plant-to-start-operation-in-2020-2017-10-27
In future it is said that fuel excise will be replaced by GPS based road charging.

We'll need liquid fuel for PHEVs, long haul trucks, tractors and planes for which batteries will be too heavy and fuel cells not practical. The hydrogen input at the Norwegian synfuel plant will come from electrolysis of steam.
Posted by Taswegian, Wednesday, 7 November 2018 2:28:53 PM
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It shouldn't be too difficult to pipe sea water into Indonesia's volcanos , drop on a lid with pressure valves and use steam turbine generators . TVolcanos have religious functions but the goats can be dropped in through pressure doors and the carbon scrubbed.
Posted by nicknamenick, Wednesday, 7 November 2018 3:28:18 PM
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Thanks Taswegian.

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nick, Indonesia already gets some of its power from geothermal sources, and they're investing in more.

They certainly won't be doing it the way you say, though.

And FWIW in most of Indonesia the volcanoes don't have any religious significance.
Posted by Aidan, Wednesday, 7 November 2018 5:16:43 PM
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