Electrolytic production of hydrogen

Is the proposed 'Hydrogen Economy' going to save the human race or is it all an energy sink that provides no viable answer?

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Mark
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Electrolytic production of hydrogen

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New EU Project aims to make ‘Green Hydrogen’ more affordable:
https://www.chemengonline.com/new-e-u-p ... ffordable/

Evonik's novel anion exchange membrane may be a 'game changer' ?
https://corporate.evonik.com/en/-135430.html
Little John
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Post by Little John »

You come up with these "new way found to make hydrogen" or similar posts every few months I note

Want to know what else I note?

Hydrogen harvesting has a negative EROEI. It did yesterday and it will tomorrow.
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adam2
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Post by adam2 »

Indeed, hydrogen power might well have some applications, but hydrogen produced from electricity will ALLWAYS contain less energy than the electricity used to produce it.
If the hydrogen is to be used in vehicles then it must be either compressed or liquified. Either process is very energy intensive.
If the hydrogen is to be distributed through gas mains for domestic or similar use then loss by leakage and energy used for pumping must be considered.
In most cases it would be better to use the electricity directly.

I also have a cynical suspicion that calls for more research into hydrogen is a way of avoiding doing anything much here and now.

Electrify railways ? "well minister that is expensive, and it all went a bit wrong last time. Perhaps the minister might wish to call for more research into hydrogen trains"

Ban gas heating in new homes ? "Well minister, that might not be popular with housebuilders or home buyers. People seem to expect a gas boiler.
Perhaps instead the minister could call for research into adding hydrogen to the existing gas network ? And then gas boilers could still be allowed if marked hydrogen ready"
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Post by Mark »

Hydrogen can be considered sustainable if it is produced from water.
Renewable energy can be used to power electrolyzers to produce the hydrogen from water.
Using renewable energy provides a sustainable system that is independent of petroleum products and is nonpolluting.
After the hydrogen is produced in an electrolyzer it can be used in a fuel cell to produce electricity.
The by-products of the fuel cell process are water and heat.
If fuel cells operate at high temperatures the system can be set up as a co-generator, with the waste energy used for heating.

A long way to go, but what's not to like ?
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Mark
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Post by Mark »

If the concept is so 'left field', why is there a folder on the Forum entitled 'Hydrogen' ?
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

Mark wrote:............A long way to go, but what's not to like ?
All the extra renewables and materials that would have to be mined, manufactured, installed and maintained to produce all that hydrogen.

If hydrogen is used as a store for excess renewable energy to provide overnight or low wind cover that is OK and probably a good use as long as the hydrogen isn't being pumped around the country in leaky gas mains. A gas main that holds methane won't necessarily hold hydrogen as the molecule size of hydrogen is much smaller and the gas is thus leakier.

A localized, specially built facility to generate hydrogen from excess renewable electricity and then generate electricity at times of low supply could be built to be more leak proof but pumping hydrogen around the country for a few users here and there would mean building more renewables than is strictly necessary all for a few people who "prefer to have a gas boiler."

We all need to start thinking holistically so that we can provide maximum power for minimum input, both financially and in carbon terms. Part of this is to not push our favourite technology because it "could" be used but to only push it where it "should" be used to minimise energy use or to make the best use of some other form of energy generation.
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Mark
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Post by Mark »

kenneal - lagger wrote:We all need to start thinking holistically so that we can provide maximum power for minimum input, both financially and in carbon terms. Part of this is to not push our favourite technology because it "could" be used but to only push it where it "should" be used to minimise energy use or to make the best use of some other form of energy generation.
Totally agree.
I don't think that Hydrogen by any means solves all our problems, but it's a promising alternative for some applications and well worth investigating, particularly if generated from renewables.
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Post by adam2 »

Yes, hydrogen storage at the point of production, and later use to generate electricity might be worthwhile.

I suspect however that battery storage might be more worthwhile. We already have 0.5 Gw of battery capacity, and another 4 Gw is planned. Battery storage is much quicker acting and therefore preferable for emergencies to avoid frequency collapse.

Hydrogen fuel cells may yet prove better for bulk energy storage. Consider the following illustrative example.

A lithium battery bank with a capacity of 1 Gwh and a discharge rate of 2 Gw, for 30 minutes. Almost instant response if something breaks.
If one wants to increase the run time to an hour and a half, for example to supply 2Gw for the peak hour, and leave 30 minutes in reserve for emergencies, that will need three times the battery capacity. Entirely doable, but expensive.

No consider a hydrogen storage plant with an output of 2GW and enough storage to supply this 2Gw for 8 hours.
To treble the run time to 24 hours only requires a larger hydrogen tank, which is relatively cheap.
Hydrogen fuel cells are not instant starting, and might perhaps be replacements for CCGT plant.

Lithium batteries give almost instant response, much quicker than OCGT plant and probably quicker than pumped storage.

All rather academic at present as we don't have any surplus renewably generated electricity with which to make the hydrogen.
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

The problem with lithium batteries will probably be the cost of lithium and its availability once the whole world goes down the renewables and electric car route. Another possibility for static use is flow batteries using various, more abundant and therefore cheap, chemicals which could give an almost instant response without the overhead of high pressure storage required by hydrogen.

If a technology had a slow response time it could be combined with a lithium battery bank to give very short term instant response before the other slower technology kicked in and took over. This would give a much more economic use of lithium and leave it for mobile uses where its light weight is an advantage.

We do need to plan for the time when we do have enough renewables to generate a surplus for storage but the time for storage will probably come before we have entirely renewable electricity generation.
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Re: Electrolytic production of hydrogen

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Making clean hydrogen is hard, but researchers just solved a major hurdle:
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-hydrogen- ... urdle.html
For decades, researchers around the world have searched for ways to use solar power to generate the key reaction for producing hydrogen as a clean energy source—splitting water molecules to form hydrogen and oxygen. However, such efforts have mostly failed because doing it well was too costly, and trying to do it at a low cost led to poor performance. Now, researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have found a low-cost way to solve one half of the equation, using sunlight to efficiently split off oxygen molecules from water. The finding, published recently in Nature Communications, represents a step forward toward greater adoption of hydrogen as a key part of our energy infrastructure.

As early as the 1970s, researchers were investigating the possibility of using solar energy to generate hydrogen. But the inability to find materials with the combination of properties needed for a device that can perform the key chemical reactions efficiently has kept it from becoming a mainstream method. "You need materials that are good at absorbing sunlight and, at the same time, don't degrade while the water-splitting reactions take place," said Edward Yu, a professor in the Cockrell School's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "It turns out materials that are good at absorbing sunlight tend to be unstable under the conditions required for the water-splitting reaction, while the materials that are stable tend to be poor absorbers of sunlight. These conflicting requirements drive you toward a seemingly inevitable tradeoff, but by combining multiple materials—one that efficiently absorbs sunlight, such as silicon, and another that provides good stability, such as silicon dioxide—into a single device, this conflict can be resolved."
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Re: Electrolytic production of hydrogen

Post by kenneal - lagger »

Two interesting articles which rubbish the general use of hydrogen in place of electricity for home heating and cars and say how it is fossil fuel companies trying to delay the onset of widespread electricity use for transport and heating.

https://www.rechargenews.com/energy-tra ... -1-1039690

https://www.rechargenews.com/energy-tra ... -1-1033226
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Re: Electrolytic production of hydrogen

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BP study confirms feasibility of large-scale production of green hydrogen and green ammonia using renewable energy in Australia:
https://www.bp.com/en_au/australia/home ... monia.html

GERI Renewable Hydrogen and Ammonia Feasibility Study:
https://arena.gov.au/knowledge-bank/ger ... ity-study/
* Study finds production of green hydrogen and ammonia using renewable energy is technically feasible at scale in Australia
* Findings also support BP’s conviction that West Australia is ideally positioned for green hydrogen and green ammonia production
* Development will require significant infrastructure investment in ports, water and electricity networks and distribution
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Re: Electrolytic production of hydrogen

Post by kenneal - lagger »

Mark wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 2:02 pm BP study confirms feasibility of large-scale production of green hydrogen and green ammonia using renewable energy in Australia:
https://www.bp.com/en_au/australia/home ... monia.html
.....................
No shit Sherlock!! With the sun levels in most of Australia I would have thought that with a bit of storage they could run most of the country on PV for most of the time. Given an extra bit of electricity from wind in the south off the Southern Ocean and the amount of storage required should plummet.
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Re: Electrolytic production of hydrogen

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kenneal - lagger wrote: Tue Aug 24, 2021 3:05 pm No shit Sherlock!!
Take your point, but good news that the ball is finally rolling....
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Re: Electrolytic production of hydrogen

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‘World’s first fossil-free steel’ produced in Sweden and delivered to Volvo:
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/19/first-f ... volvo.html

Another small step.....
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