The fantasy that the world economy is going to switch seamlessly to hydrogen energy keeps recurring. The latest iteration is ‘white hydrogen.’
The late Eric Sevareid, a CBS reporter and commentator, coined what is now known as Sevareid’s law: The chief cause of problems is solutions.
On this episode, chemical engineer Paul Martin joins The Great Simplification to talk about all things hydrogen. There are many ‘Fuels of the Future’ about which the media likes to create hopeful and seamless narratives, one of the currently popular of these being hydrogen.
Thinking of hydrogen on a grand scale as supporting a society as complex and wasteful as ours is simply a dream. Nevertheless, hydrogen remains popular nowadays just because of this impossible promise…
This is part two of our three-hour interview with Dr. Simon Evans of Carbon Brief about their extensive survey of the developing hydrogen economy.
In this episode, we present part one of a two-part, three-hour interview with Dr. Simon Evans, the deputy editor and policy editor for Carbon Brief, in which he shares their findings from dozens of interviews they conducted with experts who are knowledgeable about hydrogen’s potential, as well as from dozens of research reports and other resources.
Hydrogen produced using renewable electricity is “already cost competitive” in niche applications, a new paper says, adding that it is likely to match industrial-scale alternatives in about a decade.
So what has changed to finally bring hydrogen to the forefront of global energy plans? Jenny Hayward, senior research scientist at CSIRO and co-author of its 2018 National Hydrogen Roadmap, says more favorable economics have played a significant part.
Because of the relatively low population density and the abundant natural resources, Hawaii has the potential to do something that will prove to be much more challenging elsewhere: Derive most or all of its energy from renewable sources.
All this new technology seems to say there may be some hope for life after oil. For now the two biggies seem to be cold fusion and cheap hydrogen, but neither of these are as yet sure for the immediate future. It seems likely we are going to have much more efficient motor vehicle within the next 10 years and probably longer range electric vehicles. There might even be enough biofuels to run our airplanes.
Cesare Marchetti proposed hydrogen (H2) as a large-scale energy vector almost fifty years ago. The main concern then was to find a simple way to feed transport systems with what seemed to be a fountain of energy about to come from the expanding nuclear park. The nuclear dream is largely gone, but hydrogen lives on. Is this dream about to come true as a piece in the transition puzzle to a post-fossil fuel world? That’s what I was expecting to find out at a renewable energy / efficiency conference the University of Lorrain.
“Imagining a world without oil” describes in stark detail what might happen if one day the world decided to decommission all its oil tankers, rigs, pipelines and strategic reserves. The authors, environmental scientist Steve Hallett and journalist John Wright, expect that we’d initially see sky-high prices and long lines at pumps. After a few weeks, fuel wouldn’t be had at any price and even first-world citizens would struggle to stay fed and out of the elements. This is no Hollywood doomsday scenario—it’s a levelheaded extrapolation from current trends in the fast deteriorating world energy situation. [An essay prefiguring the book originally appeared in The Washington Post.]