cult of hydrogen

In a CleanTechnica Article Michael Barnard tries to answer why there is currently is hydrogen cult madness. He concludes there are many reasons but it comes down to the following reasons. He says there are 6 groups

  1. Oil companies wanting to transform oil reserves to H2
  2. Banks and institutions who fund oil companies
  3. Governments who have little science (STEM) and lots of lobbyists and primary and secondary impacts on GDP
  4. People and companies who have invested in H2 and already lost money
  5. Companies who are dead, but still moving around to cash in on Govt handouts
  6. Credulous fans, who are almost entirely devoid of STEM understanding

Or as Barnard says “So, yes, the hydrogen lobby is a many-headed hydra. It’s a self-reinforcing circle of people whose livelihood depends on hydrogen for energy replacing fossil fuels. There’s some tribalism going on. There are a bunch of obvious cognitive biases that are keeping them from accepting reality, with the prospect theory being key among them. “

hydrogen cult madness from Dalle-E

It will take until 2030 for the hype to die down, because that’s how long it takes to deprogram a cult.

Paul Martin Hydrogen Science Coalition

Critics of the Hydrogen Cult Madness Define H2 Ladder

hydrogen cult madness explained by Hydrogen ladder by Michael Liebriech
Hydrogen Ladder by Michael Liebriech – LinkedIN Licensed under CC

Barnard has a projection of hydrogen demand through 2100. He comes to the same conclusion as BNEF founder Michael Liebreich with his excellent hydrogen ladder as shown above.

hydrogen cult madness shows hydrogen demand reduces by 2100
Projection of H2 Demand to 2100 by Michael Barnard in 2021

Paul Martin and Hydrogen Science Coalition

Chemical engineer and co-founder of the Hydrogen Science Coalition Paul Martin provides many explainers on the science and reality of hydrogen. Hydrogen is being sold as if it were the “Swiss Army knife” of the energy transition. Useful for every energy purpose under the sun. Sadly, hydrogen is rather like THIS Swiss Army knife, the Wenger 16999 Giant. It costs $1400, weighs 7 pounds, and is a suboptimal tool for just about every purpose!

Swiss army knife for hydrogen cult madness by Paul Martin and Michael Liebreich
#Hopium or hydrogen by Paul Martin
  • Use 120 million tons of it annually in the industry
  • About 30% is used in oil refining and production. Other uses include methanol produced from methane gas
  • 90 million tons of pure hydrogen
  • 30 million tons of hydrogen in synthetic gases.
  • Essential industrial feedstock
  • Major climate change problem due to high emissions manufacture
  • Have to manufacture low-carbon hydrogen for those purposes.
  • Need to make ammonia-based fertilizers a lot greener by replacing black and gray hydrogen with green hydrogen.

But Barnard, Liebriench and Martin all say H2 is nonsense to use in transportation. (see 10 reasons H2 cars are dead in Change Discussion)

Michael Liebriech Presentations

Liebriech’s presentation at the World Hydrogen Congress in Rotterdam in 2022 detailed some of these issues.

 94 million tonnes of grey and black hydrogen made from unabated natural gas and coal — the “bad stuff”, were produced each year, emitting 830 million tonnes of carbon, and these figures were still rising.

“Before we position hydrogen as the solution to climate change, we first have to deal with hydrogen as a problem in climate change,” he explained.

Just replacing this dirty hydrogen — used mainly in chemicals production and oil refining — with green H2 made from renewable energy would require 143% of all the wind and solar installed globally to date, Liebreich said.

Further Reading

Comments are closed.