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posted by janrinok on Monday November 22, @07:03PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Blue-Green-As-Long-As-It-Heats-the-Place dept.

Most of the readers here are probably aware that the European Union is betting heavily on hydrogen as a clean energy carrier. Related to that, Martin Sandbu wrote an interesting article in the Financial Times, titled The Gordian Knot of Europe's gas dependence.

In essence, his thesis in the article was that the best way forward for the EU, from an energy perspective, is to keep investing into its gas fields, combined with conversion of that gas into so-called blue hydrogen, combined with carbon capture. The problem was though, he argued, that all of these three things need to happen together: if there's no market for either, the whole system will be caught in a catch-22 situation.

Gas producers will not invest in new fields if there are no takers to convert the gas into hydrogen, and mass market realisation of hydrogen technologies will not take off if there is no ample supply. Carbon capture, of course, is needed so the conversion of gas into hydrogen does not cause further climate change, and the EU can reach its carbon emission targets.

What is interesting, though, is a reader's letter in reaction to that article. The writer of that letter is the Chief Executive of Snam, Europe's largest gas network operator. When you read the following quotes, keep in mind that many commercial boilers can already take a 20 percent hydrogen blend, and that RWE (the 2nd largest offshore wind power generator in the world) and Shell have already teamed up to produce green hydrogen, on a gigawatt scale:

One little-known but crucial fact is that the grade of steel usually used for natural gas pipelines in Europe is compatible with hydrogen, at blends up to 100 per cent.

That our grids are already "hydrogen ready" means two things for Sandbu's conundrum. First, any investment required by the transport network to keep gas flowing and competitive over the next couple of decades needn't result in stranded assets when the time comes to switch to hydrogen.

Second, the pipelines themselves can provide an instant home for hydrogen -- decoupling production and consumption.

Early-stage hydrogen producers could simply blend their green fuel into the gas network, scaling up facilities and reducing costs. As the "green premium" narrows, consumers would be encouraged to jump in larger numbers, and the infrastructure could then be switched to carry pure hydrogen. Blending is neither an endgame nor a market. It is a way to give green hydrogen a leg-up.

What to make of Sandbu's preferred solution, which is to encourage the development of blue hydrogen, where the carbon from natural gas is captured? My take is that green is likely to be competitive relative early on, especially if we can scale it up.

(Letter to the Financial Times, Thu Nov 18, "Let markets determine if hydrogen is blue or green", from Marco Alvèra, Chief Executive, Snam, Milan, Italy.)

Could green hydrogen be heating your home in the coming decade?


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  • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Monday November 22, @08:24PM (6 children)

    by fustakrakich (6150) on Monday November 22, @08:24PM (#1198668) Journal

    Are we going to let the ghost of Rube Goldberg design our infrastructure?

    --
    Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday November 22, @08:48PM (5 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 22, @08:48PM (#1198677) Journal

      How about Green portable gasoline powered generators? Just to Home Depot, then in the search box: Green Portable Gas Generator [homedepot.com]

      You will see that they have lots of green portable gas generators.

      I'm not sure if these generators are as clean as clean coal. [youtube.com]

      --
      This Christmas season is the most likely to see Missile Tow instead of large artillery pieces being toed.
      • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Monday November 22, @09:05PM

        by fustakrakich (6150) on Monday November 22, @09:05PM (#1198681) Journal

        Oh man... we did that gag already [soylentnews.org]

        --
        Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
      • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday November 23, @07:31PM (3 children)

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday November 23, @07:31PM (#1198989) Journal

        That better engine designs can have lower emissions is not exactly rocket science....

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday November 23, @08:56PM (2 children)

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 23, @08:56PM (#1199012) Journal

          I think these portable green generators are simply available in the color green, as well as red, yellow and blue.

          --
          This Christmas season is the most likely to see Missile Tow instead of large artillery pieces being toed.
          • (Score: 3, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday November 23, @09:03PM (1 child)

            by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday November 23, @09:03PM (#1199016) Journal

            2-cycle engines are incredibly polluting. Replacing those with 4-cycle engines like the ones listed on that page does reduce emissions.

            • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday November 23, @09:06PM

              by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 23, @09:06PM (#1199023) Journal

              That is good to know.

              --
              This Christmas season is the most likely to see Missile Tow instead of large artillery pieces being toed.
  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by DannyB on Monday November 22, @08:38PM (2 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 22, @08:38PM (#1198673) Journal

    It MUST be true because I remember videos[1] [youtube.com][2] [youtube.com] on the intarweb tubes a few years back.

    --
    This Christmas season is the most likely to see Missile Tow instead of large artillery pieces being toed.
    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday November 23, @04:17PM (1 child)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 23, @04:17PM (#1198931) Journal

      I am puzzled how the inefficiency of Hydrogen vehicles are irrelevant to hydrogen infrastructure.

      --
      This Christmas season is the most likely to see Missile Tow instead of large artillery pieces being toed.
      • (Score: 2) by quietus on Tuesday November 23, @04:30PM

        by quietus (6328) on Tuesday November 23, @04:30PM (#1198942) Journal

        What inefficiency are you talking about? Have the laws of thermodynamics gone out of the window because of your TSLA stock holdings?

  • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Monday November 22, @09:06PM (4 children)

    by HiThere (866) on Monday November 22, @09:06PM (#1198682) Journal

    What we need to do it limit the amount of released carbon, with going negative being a strong preference. Blue hydrogen, at the MOST optomistic, is neutral. And it won't be, because there will be massive slipups. And carbon sequestration is fallible.

    So blue hydrogen is a bad idea. I'm not sure about green hydorgen, but I have my doubts. I suspect that nuclear is a better option than hydrogen, though I prefer using solar and wind to the extent feasible.

    --
    Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, @11:32PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, @11:32PM (#1198743)

      Green hydrogen's basic argument is rather like having a battery charging station at every solar/wind power station. You can use hydrogen as a store of energy, and you can transport it.

      It just happens to be a pain to store and transport.

    • (Score: 2) by quietus on Tuesday November 23, @04:27PM

      by quietus (6328) on Tuesday November 23, @04:27PM (#1198941) Journal

      You confuse energy source and energy carrier (or battery, if you like). The interesting part of the quote is that you can use the whole natural gas pipeline and storage system as storage for hydrogen (whether it be blue or green). Instead of having to sell your green electricity (generated by wind power) at ultra-cheap prices during the night, you can convert it into hydrogen, and reconvert it back to electricity during the day. This will increase the profitability of renewables even further, which will cause even more investment into renewable energy; before you know it, you end up with a virtuous circle.

      In other words: the so-called [economic] 'unpredictability' of renewables is a false argument, once you add hydrogen [conversion] to the equation.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @01:00AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @01:00AM (#1198766)

    Is anyone else getting tired of the color Green to represent the good guys?
    Green Green Green
    all the way fucking down.

    Ya we got it already.
    Do something to try to fuck over the Public and then add the word Green.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @01:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @01:43AM (#1198776)

      Yeah, just like all those "Green" Republicans. Or are they just green with envy because their orange leader turned out to be a loser.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @01:32AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @01:32AM (#1198775)

    "steel usually used for natural gas pipelines in Europe is compatible with hydrogen, at blends up to 100 per cent"

    So the steel is good...got it.

    What about everything the steel JOINS with?

    Cause Hydrogen being first on the Periodic Table means its the smallest atom.
    Ergo, you expect the Public to just accept that leaks will be the same with Oil?
    And the high combustibility won't be a safety issue?
    And the costs will be easy peasy?
    As long as we kill the climate just a little more till we get to a demand phase?

    [ on the floor laughing ]

    • (Score: 2) by quietus on Tuesday November 23, @04:32PM

      by quietus (6328) on Tuesday November 23, @04:32PM (#1198944) Journal

      One presumes that the steel quality wasn't chosen on a whim and neither, presumably, will be the connecting components.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @12:46PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @12:46PM (#1198866)

    look, this all fine and dandy. especially emphasizing that hydrogen is a energy "carrier" not a energy "source". energy goes into making hydrogen (which can be liberated again).
    now if it's renewable energy that goes into making hydrogen, i don't see why we have to ship it around. unless you live in a cave, the infinitly available sunlight shines everywhere. so just make it " on site".
    that's like having to pay tesla to come pick up your battery, bring it to their charging station to charge, and then bring back the recharged battery ...
    naw, hydrogen "pumping around" is to keep singular source "energy barons" relevant.
    thank you very much, i think i will make my own.
    -
    yours truely, the steel plant sitting beside the river/lake with 30 MWatt self-made solar field.

  • (Score: 2) by Lester on Tuesday November 23, @06:19PM (1 child)

    by Lester (6231) on Tuesday November 23, @06:19PM (#1198971) Journal

    A leak of gas or crude is dangerous for environment and may explode with a spark.

    A leak of hydrogen, as soon as it touch oxygen of open air... flames and boom. (Do you remember Hindenburg zeppelin? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LZ_129_Hindenburg) [wikipedia.org]

    When I think of hydrogen and energy, I thing of bottles, Fuel cell... but not kilometers of pipes full of hydrogen running under my feet.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by hendrikboom on Tuesday November 23, @11:09PM

      by hendrikboom (1125) on Tuesday November 23, @11:09PM (#1199080) Homepage Journal

      On the Hindenberg is was the lacquer used to seal the gas bag that was really what caught fire.
      And hydrogen doesn't burn just because of contact with air. It still needs a spark.

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