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silvrsvt

How Green is using Hydrogen?

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I know there has been talk of using Hydrogen or Hydrogen fuel cells as a replacement for fossil fuels...doesn't seem like they are as clean as what people think they are

 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ese3.956

 

https://www.iflscience.com/environment/blue-hydrogen-has-been-touted-as-a-clean-fuel-in-fact-it-may-be-even-dirtier-than-coal/?fbclid=IwAR2YG961TI9hE2P9EHlVvefOpYR8u56YWyIsBM_VyPT1fShD66edf6MNSos

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Hydrogen. So much promise but hard to achieve. First you must use "green" hydrogen, not sourced by stripping hydrogen from hydrocarbons. The green hydrogen costs 3 times as much as traditional now. Now even with the green stuff, how many windmills, acres of solar panels and water dissociation plants will be required, and what does it take to and maintain them? Hydrogen is notoriously difficult to store and transport. Fugitive release is all but inevitable. What is the impact on the environment? A generation ago we thought methane emissions were less harmful as they did not contribute to smog. Now considered a major greenhouse gas. Some greenies out there want to proceed rapidly. I can't imagine, in the current climate, any major projects proceeding without full environmental vetting. 

Edited by paintguy

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I think at this point you should look at hydrogen as a potentially cleaner fuel.  With current technology it has many issues, but the technology is evolving rapidly.   

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36 minutes ago, 7Mary3 said:

I think at this point you should look at hydrogen as a potentially cleaner fuel.  With current technology it has many issues, but the technology is evolving rapidly.   

 

The big issue is there is no way of making it clean without using Fossil Fuels...which your just better off using fossil fuels at that point. 

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1 hour ago, 7Mary3 said:

I think at this point you should look at hydrogen as a potentially cleaner fuel.  With current technology it has many issues, but the technology is evolving rapidly.   

 

All electric is not the be all and end all. With battery and lithium restraints, it will take more alternative energy sources than BEV to get the job done. Also, using the grid system to power up these vehicles is not the ultimate answer either. So hydrogen is another part to this as both Touota and Chevron are investing in it. Synthetic fuel may be another source also. BEV is only part of the equation. Also I don't think full hybrid and plugins are going away completely also. Maybe a combination of all.

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Hydrogen is never going to happen at a wide scale. Too many problem with it, staring with basic chemistry... H element is super clingy so it takes a lot of energy to separate it from other elements like O or C. The result is always net-negative in energy.

 

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1 hour ago, bzcat said:

Hydrogen is never going to happen at a wide scale. Too many problem with it, staring with basic chemistry... H element is super clingy so it takes a lot of energy to separate it from other elements like O or C. The result is always net-negative in energy.

 

 

You should professionally advise Toyota and Chevron as they are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in it. In fact, I believe the locomotive manufacturers are going there also. 

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Hyundai is a big believer too. They just announced an all out blitz today:



Hyundai Motor Group is doubling down on its contrarian bet that hydrogen is the wave of the future, unveiling a bold rollout plan for fuel cell technology in everything from sports cars to commercial trucks and drones while targeting price parity with battery electrics by 2030.

The strategy, unveiled Tuesday under the banner of Hydrogen Wave, spells out the South Korean automaker’s ambition to popularize hydrogen power for “everyone, everything and everywhere” by 2040, not only in cars and trucks, but in public transport, industry, infrastructure and homes.

“Hyundai Motor Group’s vision is to apply hydrogen energy in all areas of life and industry such as our homes, work-places and factories,” Hyundai Group Chairman Euisun Chung said while announcing the road map in an online forum, which will be followed by an on-site exhibition of the hydrogen technologies, vehicles and concepts this month in Goyang, South Korea.

“We want to offer practical solutions for the sustainable development of humanity, and with these breakthroughs we aim to help foster a worldwide Hydrogen Society by 2040,” he said.

Among the advances Hyundai targets is a next-generation fuel cell stack in 2023 that will slash costs while boosting efficiency, as well as a plan to apply fuel cell systems to all its commercial vehicles by 2028. Hyundai outlined plans for an autonomous hydrogen-powered “Trailer Drone.” 

I can't understand why they are so hell bent on this, but they are. My best guess is that their government is subsidizing the effort in a major way. If you can read the whole article, their plans are impressive:  https://www.autonews.com/manufacturing/hyundai-launches-hydrogen-blitz-trucks-sports-car-drones-and-more

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1 hour ago, FordBuyer said:

 

You should professionally advise Toyota and Chevron as they are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in it. In fact, I believe the locomotive manufacturers are going there also. 

 

Yes, GM is partnering with Wabtec to develop hydrogen fuel cells for locomotives.  Don't think you will see hydrogen fuel cells in passenger cars, light or medium duty trucks.  But, they will likely have an application in over-the-road semi's.  

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2 hours ago, theoldwizard1 said:

2 issues

 

  1. How was H2  created ?
  2. Storing it requires refrigeration.

Exactly. Earlier I stated that green hydrogen relied on electrolysis, dissociation of water. The other green method is to remove hydrogen from a hydrocarbon, and then sequestering the carbon in some form. Certainly not a "shovel ready" solution presently. 

The storage problem could require refrigeration. Other methods include high pressure cylinders. If you have handled high pressure gas cylinders, you know they are not lightweight. There has been some work on storage as a metal hydride. Again, not a proven technology even if we could make the hydrogen. Some have suggested using Natural Gas pipelines to transport and actually use as a direct replacement for natural gas. Checking the compatibility and safety aspects for this are positively daunting. Failure to do that would be courting a "Hindenburg" type disaster on a daily basis.

Hydrogen fuel cells have been the holy grail for hydrogen utilization. Use of exotic and expensive metals have kept costs outrageously high. I had hoped a technical solution to that problem would come as it did for catalytic convertors back around 1970. Yes, catalytic convertors still use precious metal, but far less than what was originally projected. 

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You guys really need to watch this video.  The only part that is lacking in this video, is the company isn't saying how it's making its hydrogen.  But could be a game changer.

 

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Well, an awful lot of people are throwing an awful lot of money at hydrogen for it to be so easily dismissed as a potential source of clean energy.  I have a hunch there will be some 'game changing' discoveries in the not too distant future. 

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15 minutes ago, 7Mary3 said:

Well, an awful lot of people are throwing an awful lot of money at hydrogen for it to be so easily dismissed as a potential source of clean energy.  I have a hunch there will be some 'game changing' discoveries in the not too distant future. 

 

But hasn't that been the case with ICE engines for the past 40-50 years? The infamous water carbonator and whatever else fancy things people have been talking about hasn't come to fruition yet like fully electronically controlled valves and what not. There might be prototypes or one or twoses using the tech, but its not really ready for mass production/usage. 

BEVs represent the most realistic approach for the next 10-20 years. 

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On 9/7/2021 at 11:27 AM, silvrsvt said:

I know there has been talk of using Hydrogen or Hydrogen fuel cells as a replacement for fossil fuels...doesn't seem like they are as clean as what people think they are

 

For light vehicles, hydrogen fuel cells are "fool cells". For certain commercial and military vehicle applications, the technology may be worth investigating though. Like bzcat mentioned, biggest issue with hydrogen fuel cells is that chemical processes to generate H2 are net negative energy.

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I work in the energy industry. I won't say which part but it's clear to anyone I work with who has even the slightest basic understanding of physics and the chemical process to make hydrogen that this is a road to nowhere.

 

Hydrogen only makes sense if you have abundant free or very cheap carbon electricity (so you can make it from water), and the consumption point is close to the source. The first part is not happening anytime soon. Any carbon free electricity we generate (hydro, nuclear, solar, wind etc) are more efficiently used directly to power the grid and charge batteries. The conversion to hydrogen waste too much energy so the math doesn't work.

 

Hydrogen doesn't exist in the nature by itself in liquid form so you have to make it. The only commercially viable way to make hydrogen now and the foreseeable future is from natural gas (CH4). All the money that is going into "clean" hydrogen is actually just oil companies and fracking interest trying to find a way to fool consumers and regulators. They don't tell you hydrogen is just a significantly less efficient way to use natural gas. The energy loss of a liter of hydrogen compare to natural gas is about 60% conservatively speaking... Even if we somehow make a breakthrough in technology and lower than to 50% (which again, is basically impossible), it's still not even close! We are better off just converting gasoline car to run on CNG if we want to keep using natural gas. But we don't because you know... climate change and all that carbon we are pumping into the atmosphere. Hydrogen doesn't solve climate problem, in fact, it makes it worse because it is very inefficient storage medium for fossil fuel energy.

 

Once you make the hydrogen, you have to super-chill (-423F!)  it to keep it in liquid form to transport it. This means you cannot use pipelines to transport hydrogen. Hydrogen has to be moved by refrigerated tanker trucks. And once at the dispensing location, the tank has to be super-chilled too. If temperature goes only a few degree higher, hydrogen starts to vaporize and tanks gets vapor locked and cannot dispense anymore liquid hydrogen. 

 

These are real problems that we can't overcome and still make hydrogen economically viable as a vehicle fuel. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to read a basic college level physic or chemistry textbook. 

 

What does make sense is to use hydrogen in a limited way. For example, in a setting that doesn't involve transporting hydrogen long distances, like in a port or industrial park. Or in cases where batteries doesn't make sense because of weight or fire concerns like container ships. In those limited use cases, hydrogen makes a lot of sense. You can produce hydrogen at a port and use it to power all the trucks and cranes that operates at the port and fuel container ships - when you produce and consume hydrogen almost immediately in the same place, you eliminate the transportation and storage issue and things start to make more sense. 

 

Beyond that, the idea that one day you can go to a filling station in the small town in America and fill up on hydrogen is basically science fiction. The energy consumption required to make that tank of hydrogen, transported hundred of miles, then store it for days, weeks, if not month in super-chill storage is mind boggling. You might as well dream about retiring at lakeside vacation villa on Mars.

 

 

Edited by bzcat

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bzcat: Agree with most of what you say. Greenies are claiming that solar and wind will be so cheap that hydrogen will be far cheaper. Unbelievable Science Fiction! Department of Energy is actually posting that gaseous hydrogen can be transported by pipeline. The cost to upgrade existing pipelines to insure integrity is daunting and likely expensive. Worked in chemicals for years before Ford. Used cryo hydrogen and if the cryo system went down, resorted to high pressure tube trucks. The safety requirements for hydrogen are daunting in industrial settings. Not ready for consumers.

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On 9/16/2021 at 11:04 AM, paintguy said:

bzcat: Agree with most of what you say. Greenies are claiming that solar and wind will be so cheap that hydrogen will be far cheaper. Unbelievable Science Fiction! Department of Energy is actually posting that gaseous hydrogen can be transported by pipeline. The cost to upgrade existing pipelines to insure integrity is daunting and likely expensive. Worked in chemicals for years before Ford. Used cryo hydrogen and if the cryo system went down, resorted to high pressure tube trucks. The safety requirements for hydrogen are daunting in industrial settings. Not ready for consumers.

 

Solar and wind will be cheap... it is already cheaper than gas or coal. But those cheap power are better utilized by directly feeding the grid rather than making hydrogen which wastes almost 60% at conversion and cost even more to transport and distribute. And "greenies" are not claiming hydrogen will be far cheaper. Mostly fossil fuel producers are saying that... they are just bold liars and they are used to lying so this is nothing new. Virtually all the money investing in hydrogen right now are coming from fossil fuel and fracking industries because wide adoption of hydrogen will ensure a continuing demand for natural gas.

 

Gaseous hydrogen by pipeline is generally over short distance - basically the scenario I mentioned before: you can pipe the gas to some industrial use near the source of production. Basically, you send natural gas to a hydrogen plant, and the hydrogen produced can be pressurized and piped to industrial users in nearby clusters without cyro treatment to liquify it. But we certainly do not have cross country pipelines capable of handling hydrogen distribution to every city and town the way we do with natural gas. While technically feasible to pressurize hydrogen and transport it by pipeline over long distances, the safety requirements like you mentioned, are daunting and thus costly. Even a tiny leak will spark a huge explosion.

Edited by bzcat

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On 9/14/2021 at 2:35 AM, bzcat said:

What does make sense is to use hydrogen in a limited way. For example, in a setting that doesn't involve transporting hydrogen long distances, like in a port or industrial park. Or in cases where batteries doesn't make sense because of weight or fire concerns like container ships. In those limited use cases, hydrogen makes a lot of sense. You can produce hydrogen at a port and use it to power all the trucks and cranes that operates at the port and fuel container ships - when you produce and consume hydrogen almost immediately in the same place, you eliminate the transportation and storage issue and things start to make more sense. 

 

Not arguing any of your points, but the OEMs must see a future, else why would so much R&D and production investment be taking place:

Hyundai raised the stakes on the hydrogen game last week, displaying an array of concept vehicles, headlined by an autonomous Trailer Drone. It served as a reminder that long-haul shipping can probably be cleaned up better by feeding electricity to big rigs with fuel cells rather than with a charger.

Toyota is preparing its manufacturing complex in Kentucky to make fuel cell modules for heavy trucks in 2023. General Motors has plans to supply Navistar with a fuel cell system for an emission-free long-haul pilot program next year — with commercial production slated for 2024 models. 

The appeal of fuel cells for semis is in skipping the big battery: no heavy brick of rare-earth metals to carry and far less time spent reloading it. The GM pilot aims for more than 500 miles of range with less than 15 minutes spent refueling.

One benefit of fuel cells making inroads with these larger vehicles is the simplicity it brings to establishing a distribution system. Unlike the herculean challenge of building an EV charging network to support potentially 100 million or more EVs, hydrogen stations can serve the nation's trucking fleet simply by locating along interstate highways.

That last paragraph is contradicted by your industry knowledge, but I included it because it appears to be part of the thought process. I also wonder if Japan and Korea in particular support and encourage their OEMs in this area, as perhaps hydrogen might be a specific solution that works for those countries and their specific circumstances.

https://www.autonews.com/editorial/hydrogen-fuel-cells-make-inroads-hyundai-toyota-general-motors

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Seems no matter exactly what you believe, those with some practical experience and knowledge, hydrogen is not likely to be ready in the near term. Here in Illinois, the state has placed a deadline for an end to fossil fuel electricity. I recall some dreary December days with little to no  sunshine and precious little wind. We're gonna need a big ass battery.

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The idea of fuel cell semi truck sounds great until you have to refuel it. 

 

There will be plenty of trucks using hydrogen fuel cell in the future, but they will not be the cross country long haul variety. Those will for sure be battery powered. It just make so much more sense from infrastructure standpoint to go with battery. 

 

Japanese and Korean Govt have different objectives. They are not continental countries that can shift power generation from somewhere else (Korea is cut off from China and Russia because of North Korea) so it's almost impossible to get to carbon neutral without unicorn tears and banking on moonshot hydrogen breakthrough (that won't come). They are nuclear power obsessed with bureaucrats that are still stuck in the 1980s mindset that all it takes is more money in research and they will figure out nuclear fusion. Their thinking is to just buy more time with nuclear fission and imported natural gas reformed into hydrogen until we figured out nuclear fusion. 

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