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The rise of green hydrogen in a global and Irish context



  • Registered Users Posts: 16,018 ✭✭✭✭ cnocbui

    That's rambling.

    Steel Rebar is €667 a tonne. To make it using H2 and wind turbines, the price would have to rise 37.5%

    Here's a doozy - those lovely wind farms are made using steel towers imported from coal powered China.

    Mandating H2 made steel and other serious zero CO2 measures, is going to require a dismantling of the WTO and the very idea of free trade and gloablisation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 926 ✭✭✭ bob mcbob

    Perhaps you should look at Chinese trade policies (Australia, Taiwan, Lithuania, Slovenia). They laugh at the WTO rules so who cares if they get a taste of their own medicine.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 88,912 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight

    Please read the article I posted again. There are many possible ways to reduce the carbon impact of steel.

    You could use solar instead of wind to reduce generating costs, so the €250/tonne isn't even the upper limit today. And it's certainly not the cost with future technology or infrastructure. Hydrogen is transportable by pipeline and storable in caverns.

    If the cost per tonne of steel goes up then it may make sense to use stronger steels or aluminium (or even titanium like the roof of Taipei 101) depending on the use case. Conversely carbon taxes should reduce the amount of single use plastics so they may not be replacing steel. Similar levels of carbon tax on cement would make overall costs higher than switching to using more steel. While for an electric car the added cost is about 1% of the cost of a battery.

    All those lovely steel towers from China now have EU tariffs. Carbon taxes are another route to a level playing field.

    The WTO wasn't dismantled when the USA slapped massive tariffs on Canadian, EU and Chinese steel and aluminium despite your scaremongering. Also EU is backing Lithuania over China.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,597 ✭✭✭ Markcheese

    If the complexities of shipping and storing the oxygen as well as the hydrogen are too high ,then it may make more sense to transmit the electricity to steel work ,( yes that would be huge and long cables ) , and produce and store the hydrogen and oxygen on site -

    Slava ukraini 🇺🇦

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,257 ✭✭✭ DaCor

    A big wind/solar/green hydrogen facility is due to start construction next year in Spain.

    5GW wind/solar with a 2GW green hydrogen production facility will see 30% of Spains current hydrogen demands being met.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,257 ✭✭✭ DaCor

    EU plans for 40GW of green hydrogen by 2030. Plus another 40GW in neighbouring countries. They expect to easily surpass both of these figures

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,440 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    i was thinking the same; there are three locations you need and they don't all necessarily need to be on top of each other - the site of wind generation, site for electrolysis and generation, and the site for consumption.

    feed the wind power into the grid at night when there's an excess, feed the excess into electrolysis and build up storage, and burn the H2 and O2 when required to feed into the grid, without a need to transport it?

    i know not much on the topic, so that is probably hopelessly simplistic?

    Post edited by magicbastarder on

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,018 ✭✭✭✭ cnocbui

    That is basically the idea, but the costs of generating, storing, transporting and getting power back out of hydrogen don't look to be low.

    The estimated cost of a 1GW electrolyser and it's roughly €1 B, so that 40 GW is going to cost €40 B in electrolysers alone. Then you need pumps that can compress hydrogen and places to store it and pipes and if you need to transport it, you need large quantities of electricity and expensive cryogenic refrigeration facilities to liquify it anything that transports it needs cryogenic refrigeration to keep it cold and liquid, a source of energy to keep it running and vacuum walled storage vessels to hold it and so on and so on.

    The reason there is so much talk about ammonia is because moving H2 is an expensive bear, but ammonia is great for making fertiliser but not what you want for energy storage.

    H2 burns about 500° hotter than NG, so using turbines to generate electricity is a problem if you are using air as it will produce large quantities of NOX. H is only clean if you burn it with pure oxygen or use a fuel cell. Fuel cells are expensive and capturing and storing oxygen from the elctrolyser stage means doubling your handling and storage infrastructure costs.

    I wouldn't want to be the crew on a ship transporting liquid hydrogen that suffers a major engine or electrical problem a long way from land and has to try and vent the cargo. One spark and you have your very own hydrogen bomb - without the radiation.

    The technical problems and hazards associated with cryogenic storage and transport of hydrogen are severe:

    Hydrogen is very easy to say, but very difficult to do. Difficult and expensive are interchangeable terms.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,440 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    again though, the point is that you don't need to transport it; if it's electrolysed on the same site where it's used later for generation, it can be stored on the same site?

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,257 ✭✭✭ DaCor

    There is also the case that where it does need to be transported this can be done in a controlled manner.

    Every single day of the week hazardous materials are transported all over the world. The hazard does not prevent transportation, it dictates what measures need to be taken to ensure safe transportation.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,018 ✭✭✭✭ cnocbui

    That 40GW plan linked above includes the transport of large quantites of liquid hydrogen from Africa and South America.

    "Timmermans did not specify which non-EU countries would host the electrolysers, but separately referred to possible partnerships with Africa and Latin America."

    Grid scale storage would involve utilising subterranian geological features which in many cases might be some distance away.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,018 ✭✭✭✭ cnocbui

    Would you like a list of just ammonium nitrate explosion accident deaths in the past century or so? Do you remember the recent one in Beirut? The deaths are many thousands of times higher than the near zero deaths in the nuclear industry. The sheer scale and quantity of what is being proposed for hydrogen is simply off the charts compared to normal transport of hazardous materials:

    "At this time, LH2 in bulk quantity presents extremely hazardous properties as a medium for energy storage in the public domain. Any effort to store and/or ship bulk liquid hydrogen is unsafe, and should be terminated immediately, before any serious explosive accidents occur. The collective hazards present such a high risk that a minor spill could easily escalate into a major catastrophe, with many casualties and loss of the ship. - Dr. R.G. Scurlock, Emeritus Professor of Cryogenic Engineering, University of Southampton,"

    The nature of hydrogen - being a volatile gas - makes it simply inevitable that there will be some accidents with likely considerable loss of life. One of the largest yielding munitions in the US arsenal is a fuel air bomb, which is pretty much what a significant hydrogen release with ignition would be like.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,440 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    what's the energy density of compressed helium?

    i.e. what's the MW throughput of a pipeline or trucking the cylinders?

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,257 ✭✭✭ DaCor

    Yeah, like I said, "The hazard does not prevent transportation, it dictates what measures need to be taken to ensure safe transportation."

    Its no different to the transport of oil, gas, etc. Appropriate measures need to be taken to ensure safe transportation.

    You are pointing out times when appropriate measures were not taken, umm, yeah, bad stuff happens when you don't handle dangerous stuff safely.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,018 ✭✭✭✭ cnocbui

    The airline industry takes safety seriously, appropriate measures are taken scrupulously, and accidents still happen resulting in considerable loss of life.

    I'll take the opinion of a professor who's an expert on the topic over your trivialisation.

    You are claiming regularized transport of liquid hydrogen at scale, can take place with there never being a serious accident if enough care is taken. This is utter BS. A Somali pirate puts an RPG into a large liquid hydrogen carrier, and the vela satellite network will be informing NORAD WW3 has started.

    Recently, a lightning bolt was seen that jumped a distance of 768km and the flash lasted 17 seconds. It spanned 3 states in the US.

    There are no measures you can take if something like that hits. I'm sure it was cloud top to cloud top, but the next might not be. The 737 Max incidents just prove that your 'appropriate measures' are a fantasy concocted to support a fallacious argument.

    Post edited by cnocbui on

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,257 ✭✭✭ DaCor

    One wonders about your ardent support for nuke power in other threads given your dismissal of safety controls. Its hard to square that circle to be honest.

    As for the rest, its hard to debate you with any seriousness when you manage to cram a Somali pirate, World War 3, big lightening strikes and airplane crashes into one post, and think that its got anything to do with anything.

    I've laid it out clearly several times now and given that hydrogen is already transported through pipelines and using shipping, the controls already exist. All we are talking about in terms of difference, is scale.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 88,912 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight

    And at the end of the day hydrogen is an option. It's probably not the cheapest. But it's long history of generation, usage and storage on grid scales means it's totally doable. Combined with the cost of renewables you get an upper limit on the costs of alternatives.

    There's different types of electorlysers and prices should should come down in volume production. But you have to add another €1/watt to pay for the wind or solar to power them. Or maybe not since it's be running off surplus power. Either way it's peanuts compared to some inflexible non-dispatchable power sources.

    I don't think cryogenic hydrogen by ship will compete with hydrogen by pipeline anytime soon. I must say you are pushing hard on the NOX issue but which gas modern turbine installations produce high levels these days ?

    Gas turbines are more efficient at higher temperatures so there's that but worst case scenario you add some water to dilute the gases.

    Ammonia is great for energy storage although it takes a lot of energy to make. It's dead easy to liquefy, it burns well once it gets going, IMHO it's not a bad fit for short haul aviation. And you can extract hydrogen from it very easily. And we have to make it anyway for fertilizer and nitric acid production.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,486 ✭✭✭ correct horse battery staple

    Let’s ignore the NOX elephant in the room when burning hydrogen

    last time we heard so much preaching it was about diesel (also pushed by German carmakers like hydrogen is now)

    look how that turned out… …oh what’s that I hear? Don’t mention the green diesel greenwashing?

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,257 ✭✭✭ DaCor

    Just on the nox issue for hydrogen, current tech to address it only works at a small level where there is a small % of hydrogen in the mix with NG.

    The plan to use 100% hydrogen without NG will require nox elimination tech which does not yet exist.

    Personally speaking I'm 100% behind hydrogen, but the nox emissions will have to be addressed otherwise its just a case of swapping out one emission source for another.

    The alternative is to utilise hydrogen through fuel cell tech but I don't think thats feasible for large scale energy generation.

    With all that being said, there is a staggering amount of capital going towards hydrogen at the moment so its very likely that we will be burning H2 and capturing the nox emissions in the decades to come once the tech catches up

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  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 88,912 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight

    The simplest NOX reduction technique is to add water or an excess of air to reduce combustion temperatures.

    Or you could store the oxygen liberated when electrolysing water instead of air. May not be very practical. But it would mean you could condense the exhaust to a liquid like they do for steam turbines and perhaps more efficient with the pressure drop to vacuum.

    Or bypass turbines by using fuel cells when they get cheaper.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 88,912 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight

    Data centre in Groningen will be using a 500KW fuel cell and green hydrogen. Not much but it should provide valuable info.

    I'd imagine it saves the data centre the cost and complexity of having UPS and generators to backup mains power.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,597 ✭✭✭ Markcheese

    Isn't the main interest in hydrogen at the moment from the iron steel and steel industry - they're going to want the oxygen as well - and cooling the combustion down wouldnt really suit when youre running a blast furnace ...

    Slava ukraini 🇺🇦

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 88,912 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight

    You can extract oxygen from the air with molecular sieves or by cooling, Both are a fraction of the price of electrolysis.

    Steel making has been using electric furnaces for ages. The chemical reduction of iron ore to iron is where hydrogen could be used. But if someone figures out a way to use electricity to do that like is done for metals like aluminium and copper then that would probably take less energy than hydrogen.

  • Registered Users Posts: 902 ✭✭✭ gjim

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,597 ✭✭✭ Markcheese

    Can you imagine how big the cables would need to be to run a blast furnace...

    Slava ukraini 🇺🇦

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 88,912 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight

    Hydrogen may not be the future. But for grid scale storage and decarbonisation it's the technology to beat. Which is brilliant because it gives a upper limit to costs for future planning.

    The scaremongering worst case to replace high carbon blast furnaces is 37.5% extra (For an electric car that's 1% of the cost of the battery.) In practice the increase is likely to be far less as renewables get cheaper and technology improves.

    To convert ore to iron you need to remove the oxygen which is easier at higher temperatures. Carbon or Hydrogen can both supply heat and the chemical removal of oxygen. So hydrogen is most likely the way to go if you just want to retrofit existing factories. Proven to work in trials in Japan and elsewhere, costs are known.

    If you can supply the heat from electricity and only use hydrogen to remove the oxygen in iron ore then you may be able to save energy that way. If you've seen how they induction harden knives or use microwaves it's possible to localise heat. It would reduce the amount of thermal energy taken away in blast furnace gas even if they do reuse a lot of it. (Hydrogen would be a replacement for blast furnace gas for places that still use it.)

    Alternatively if you can figure out how to do direct electrolysis of iron ore (or an iron salt) at ambient temperatures hen that replaces the requirement for heat and chemical reduction with a requirement for electricity to do both.

    Another alternative is to reduce the demand for iron by beter design or better steels or aluminium or wood or plastics/composites from renewables. Though I think the demand for iron may increase to reduce the amount of cement production.

    So brave new world for iron. But it was always thus with game changing technologies and foreign competition happening time and time again.

  • Registered Users Posts: 164 ✭✭ specialbyte

    The latest episode of the Redefining Energy podcast is about the future of hydrogen and includes an interview with a UK based manufacturer of electrolysers for green hydrogen production. If you're not familiar with the podcast it's hosted by two knowledgable investors in the renewable energy sector, one of which is an Irishman living in Germany.

    They have both been pretty skeptical of the rise of green hydrogen for the last number of years. Though it sounds like their position softens a little by the end of the episode. Listen (29 mins):

    I recommend subscribing to the podcast, this is only one of many great episodes where they interview people working in the energy sector or the world of sustainable financing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,257 ✭✭✭ DaCor

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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,457 ✭✭✭✭ josip

    100 cubic metres sounds tiny, less than 5m on all sides.

    Is it a proof of concept? What's the energy storage potential there in kWh ?