When Ahmed Sheikh Yamani, Saudi oil minister during the oil shocks of the 1970s and 80s, famously said that “the Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil”, he was not thinking of renewable energy and electric vehicles, he was thinking of hydrogen. On the surface, the most common element in the universe seems like the answer to every energy question. It can be produced anywhere you have electricity and water. It can generate either heat or electricity. It can be produced, stored, transported and used without toxic pollution or CO2 emissions. It carries three times as much energy per unit weight as petrol, diesel or jet fuel. It can deliver power at 60% efficiency via a fuel cell which can also run in reverse. It can be pumped at similar transfer rates to liquid hydrocarbons. And it burns at a similar temperature to natural gas. Sadly, hydrogen displays an equally impressive list of disadvantages. Despite these obvious disadvantages, hydrogen holds a vice-like grip over the imaginations of techno-optimists. The very idea of using surplus renewable energy to generate hydrogen will turn out to be, on the whole, a mirage. It might make sense for an island grid, but not when it comes to a highly connected, continent-scale energy system. Here, the only thing that matters is to produce the cheapest green hydrogen possible, or you will be outcompeted by producers using the lowest-cost renewable electricity at high capacity factors, delivering via pipeline.
Bloomberg NEF 8th Oct 2020 read more »
Birmingham City Council has bought 20 new hydrogen double decker buses as part of its Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot. The buses, which are made by Wrightbus and are the world’s first zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell double deckers, will be introduced with National Express West Midlands from April 2021. The council has also collaborated with ITM, which will be producing and dispensing the hydrogen fuel from the new re-fuelling hub at Tyseley Energy Park.
Business Desk 5th Oct 2020 read more »