Germany Returns To Hydrogen Power

The Hindenburg

The Heidelberg

The City Where Cars Are Not Welcome – The New York Times

Germany wants everyone to social distance in order to stop the spread of viruses, and they also want to pack everyone on to hydrogen powered buses. But apparently nobody told the mayor that burning hydrogen produces water vapor – which is responsible for the vast majority of the greenhouse effect on earth.

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The generation of hydrogen requires huge amounts of energy, likely from a coal fired power plant. But no worries, because the Mayor of Heidelberg is building bike trails so that elderly people can do their shopping on a bicycle in the snow.

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10 Responses to Germany Returns To Hydrogen Power

  1. If all the intermittent power obtained from ‘renewables’ were converted to hydrogen and stored, as we used to store town gas, and then recovered using fuel cells, reliability could be improved. As neither electrolysis nor fuel cells are constrained by the Carnot cycle efficiency, reasonable efficiency ought to be achievable, although there will be inevitable system losses.

    • John F Rooney says:

      How will you “converted to hydrogen and stored” ? Do you have a 100 % efficient magic wand to wave and do this? Do you even realize the work required to just convert renewables to hydrogen much less store this highly leaky (lowest atomic weight) highly combustible gas?

      • The process is called electrolysis, it is well enough documented. However, I daresay the climate cranks would object to the oxygen produced being vented to atmosphere. Oxygen would soon become a ‘pollutant’ according to those nutters.

      • Town gas, made from coal for nearly 100 years, consisted mainly of hydrogen, and were stored in massive gasometers. Perhaps that was before your time. Natural gas (mainly methane) has displaced town gas.

  2. Rosco says:

    How can hydrogen be called emissions free ?

    Hydrogen combustion produces the most powerful greenhouse gas.

  3. Ron says:

    I read something about hydrogen being a byproduct of oil production. the article I read showed and talked about hydrogen? gas being burned off all the time on purpose. (big flames) The lite up plants could be seen from space. I also once read(popular science) that building hydrogen power plants for a home wasn’t that hard, the short article said it was a lot easier than making it work for cars. I’m for all forms of energy. and have no problems with fossil fuels. Gas is now almost three bucks a gallon now where I live.

  4. Will FORD says:

    This comment is just for the wind believers. MAY YOU FREEZE your gonads & scrotums off. WE DID!”IF we no backups”. WIND might as well be a fart in the wind!

  5. Scott K Jonas says:

    The public utility I work for in central Washington State is planning to build a hydrogen manufacturing plant using excess hydro-generated electricity at night when rates and demand are low, then either generate power during the day and sell it when rates are higher or just sell hydrogen for use in cars, busses, or whatever. They’re doing it mainly to meet low-carbon quotas and to make the politicians happier, even though the amount of energy created is very small compared to what hydro and fossil fuel plants can create. It doesn’t hardly seem worth it. The area isn’t very good for good for wind or solar and even though we have a lot of “clean” hydro we still have to generate some that isn’t hydro so that maybe one day the dams can all be torn down.

  6. Graeme No.3 says:

    @Gordon Vigurs
    Intermittent hydrolysis to generate hydrogen is only 38% efficient. Converting it back to electricity is 60% efficient, so the round trip means the resulting cost of electricity is 4.4 times the original cost.

    Re town gas – it did contain hydrogen, along with carbon monoxide (& dioxide), small amounts of methane, ethylene and nitrogen. Neither carbon dioxide nor nitrogen would burn so the calories produced by a volume of town gas was less than that produced by pure hydrogen. Thus switching to hydrogen would probably require new piping.
    Carbon monoxide was poisonous, so a foul smelling odourant were added to the gas to show leaks. Also houses in the UK were built deliberately drafty. Hydrogen leaks are very dangerous, especially as highly flammable and no smell.

  7. Flint_Lock_97 says:

    I read an article the other day about the rise of hydrogen fuel-cell cars. Hydrogen doesn’t occur anywhere. It is about the most difficult fuel to synthesize and handle. It takes huge amounts of energy to add in the electrons to the solitary protons to make elemental H2. It is like saying you can create firewood by simply adding CO2 and water and fireplace ash together. Easy!

    Nearly all hydrogen gas in commercial quantities is produced through steam reforming of methane (natural gas). Natural gas is introduced into a high temperature vessel at high pressure with water vapor and a nickel catalyst, resulting in a process with a ~50% efficient H2 output, along with a bunch of carbon monoxide, that is subsequently oxidized in a secondary process to CO2. Giant amounts of energy are expended to make a fuel which, molecule for molecule, is less energetic than the natural gas was in the first place. And being teeny-tiny, it will leak out of every flange, seal and joint. Even more, for every ton of elemental hydrogen synthesized, 9 tons of CO2 are produced that have to be gotten rid of somewhere – down wells, into cans of soda, burps or wherever. Just so some earth mother in San Francisco can proudly drive around at 25 mph with only water coming out her tailpipe. Aren’t I green!

    The point is that while none of it makes the slightest sense, politically we are going down that road anyway – despite the fatuous brainlessness. We will have to have huge feedstocks of natural gas (which we won’t talk about) or many times the intermittent (and avian Cuisinart) windmill forests and dust covered solar panels to satisfy the pointless H2 fuel cell markets. I’d invest in Natural Gas as the coming thing!

    Combat Global Stupidity!

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