The Ergosphere
Saturday, March 14, 2020
 

One for Pi Day: an analysis of hypedrogen from its proponents claims

Hypedrogen has been the holy grail of the renewablistas since the 1970's, when it was also one of the magic bullets that was going to solve air pollution from cars.  Here we are 50 years later and we're still burning gasoline (and the oilcos have laughed all the way to the bank).  The talk seems to be getting more serious recently.  But is it realistic?

Power Engineering magazine has a piece on converting a turbine fired by natural gas to hydrogen fuel.  Apparently the only changes involve the burner design and the need to feed a much greater volume of fuel.  So far, so good.

But the really interesting part of that article comes down at the very end:
MHPS and Magnum Development have partnered on the idea of building an electrolysis facility near the Intermountain Power Plant around Delta, Utah. The electrolysis–which uses electricity to separate water into its hydrogen and oxygen molecules–would be powered by renewable energy, such as western U.S. solar, wind and hydro. The resulting hydrogen would be stored in underground salt caverns deep beneath the Utah rocky soils.

Ducker estimated that each of those salt caverns potentially could store 150,000 to 200,000 MWh of hydrogen capacity. The area could offer dozens of those caverns, all impermeable and yielding no energy loss.

“Think of it as a really really big battery,” he said.
A really really big, if rather lossy, battery.  I note that storage in salt domes avoids any issues of sulfate minerals which hydrogen could react with and be lost as hydrogen sulfide and water.  You'd likely have that trouble if you tried to use old gas wells to store hydrogen.  Methane is an extraordinarily stable molecule; hydrogen is not.

Let's assume, out of charity, that those numbers are the energy you could get out of the hydrogen power plant rather than the 56% larger requirement for stored energy, or the even greater figure for energy input to make it in the first place.  150,000 to 200,000 MWh of energy sure sounds like a lot if you're not familiar with the field, but it's roughly 1 week of generation from a 1000 MW power plant... of which the USA has the equivalent of about 460 running flat out on average.  A reserve of 90 days of energy (what the Trump administration wants at least some plants to hold in case of fuel supply disruptions) is roughly 13 weeks, or about 1 dozen such reservoirs to supply just one 1000 MW plant.  "Dozens" of reservoirs translates to just a handful of plants being able to ride through a sustained period of energy famine... such as the most populated parts of the USA endure every winter when the sun heads south.  To supply the electric grid reliably you'd need close to 10,000 of them.  And that wouldn't supply the requirements for heating fuel, for vehicle fuel, for industrial heat and chemical feedstock.

You'd need probably 20,000 such reservoirs just to have 90 days of energy security.  The area has "dozens".  The inadequacy of the resource to the task is obvious once you know where to look.  And that's just one of the problems you'll face if you try to power any industrial economy on "renewables".

It's time to face facts.  The "environmentalists" are demonstrably not doing the arithmetic (and it's arithmetic, not even algebra) to properly understand the magnitude of the gap between their proposals and reality.  It's likely that they have been forbidden to do the arithmetic by the people who finance their organizations.  Who would benefit from such betrayal?  Fossil fuel interests.

Save for a few dissident organizations like Environmental Progress and the Breakthrough Institute, the environmental movement has become a front for fossil fuel interests.  They've been corrupted by donor money.  Do not trust them.  Do not listen to them.  And when their activists come to plug "renewables", call them the liars they are.

 
Comments:
Hydrogen has a very large difference in HHV vs LHV, so any scheme using hydrogen would have to be a condensing application. Single cycle gas turbines would be terribly inefficient. It would have to be a combined cycle with condensate and feedwater heat recovery to well below 100degC in order to be efficient.

After many decades of development, hydrogen is used only for marginal energy applications (some forklifts, some fuel cell busses, some cars in California). And there's no anti-hydrogen movement like there is for nuclear, or anti-proliferation politics, to explain why expansion is held back. There have been many generous research grants, and so on.

Clearly it's time to face facts, these schemes don't work. Hydrogen is too inefficient in its entire cycle to compete economically for bulk energy applications, compounded by its low volumetric energy density, lossy transmission, leak-proneness and explosiveness this has ensured it has gone almost nowhere.

Hydrogen, and solar panels, have got the looks in favor. It's popular, sexy. It's easy to fall in love with these schemes. And when you're in love, you're not thinking anymore. Nuclear is the opposite: it is easy to hate, since we have been hammered by everyone and their grandmother that it's dangerous, has waste problems, and leads to nuclear weapons proliferation. None of these things are actually true, but when you hate, you're not thinking either.
 
Post a Comment



<< Home
Talk largely about energy and work, but also politics and other random thoughts


Mail Engineer-Poet

(If you're mailing a question, is it already in the FAQ?)

Important links

The FAQ
Glossary
The Reference Library

Blogchild of

Armed and Dangerous

Blogparent of

R-Squared




The best prospect for our energy future:
Flibe Energy

ARCHIVES
January 1990 / February 2004 / March 2004 / June 2004 / July 2004 / August 2004 / September 2004 / October 2004 / November 2004 / December 2004 / January 2005 / February 2005 / March 2005 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / August 2008 / October 2008 / November 2008 / December 2008 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 / July 2009 / August 2009 / September 2009 / October 2009 / November 2009 / December 2009 / January 2010 / April 2010 / May 2010 / June 2010 / July 2010 / August 2010 / September 2010 / October 2010 / November 2010 / December 2010 / January 2011 / February 2011 / March 2011 / April 2011 / May 2011 / July 2011 / August 2011 / September 2011 / October 2011 / April 2013 / November 2013 / December 2013 / January 2014 / February 2014 / March 2014 / April 2014 / July 2014 / August 2014 / September 2014 / October 2014 / November 2014 / February 2015 / April 2015 / October 2015 / March 2016 / April 2016 / May 2016 / June 2016 / July 2016 / November 2016 / December 2016 / February 2017 / May 2017 / June 2017 / September 2017 / October 2017 / November 2017 / March 2018 / May 2018 / June 2018 / October 2018 / December 2018 / January 2019 / March 2019 / June 2019 / October 2019 / November 2019 / March 2020 / June 2020 /


Powered by Blogger

RSS feed

Visits since 2006/05/11: