Is the automotive industry waking up to hydrogen’s potential?
24 May 2021
Production goals There are three types of hydrogen: grey, blue, and green. Grey and blue hydrogen are produced using fossil fuels, but blue-hydrogen production captures the carbon emissions and either stores them or uses them in other industrial processes. Green hydrogen is created using 100% renewable-energy sources. While green hydrogen is the ultimate goal, blue hydrogen is a worthwhile stepping stone. In March, BP announced plans to produce blue hydrogen in the UK. The proposed development, H2Teesside, would be a significant step in developing ″ŽBP’s hydrogen business and contribute to the UK government’s target of developing 5GW of hydrogen production by 2030. The project would capture, and send for storage, up to two million tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to capturing the emissions from the heating of one million UK households. ′Clean hydrogen is an essential complement to electrification on the path to net-zero,’ commented Dev Sanyal, BP’s executive vice president of gas and low-carbon energy. ′Blue hydrogen, integrated with carbon capture and storage, can provide the scale and reliability needed by industrial processes. It can also play an essential role in decarbonising hard-to-electrify industries and driving down the cost of the energy transition.’ Challenges ahead ′I am convinced hydrogen technology will gain traction – and I am committed to making Bavaria a high-tech location for hydrogen technology. This is a constructive way of responding to the climate debate,’ stated Hubert Aiwanger, deputy minister-president of Bavaria and the state’s minister for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy, on a recent visit to a BMW component plant in Landshut, Lower Bavaria. ′The focus now is on building a hydrogen infrastructure at a national and international level, from production to application.’ Aiwanger’s comment about infrastructure is just one of the perceived barriers to adoption for hydrogen propulsion, the others being the aforementioned sustainability of production, and safety. When it comes to infrastructure, the issue is much like that in which EV technology found itself some time ago. It is a ′chicken and egg’ scenario, where vehicle demand drives infrastructure development, but demand cannot grow if there is no infrastructure to support it. However, energy companies are looking at the situation. Alongside BP, Shell is also investigating hydrogen and has on-site production in place at a small number of its refuelling stations around Europe. The safety of hydrogen is also questioned. Like petrol, it is combustible but may be the safer of the two. ′Hydrogen is not toxic, it will dissipate virtually immediately, and if it is to burn, it does so with no radiant heat so it will not set fire to other things around it while burning itself out very quickly,’ commented Jon Hunt, manager of alternative fuels at Toyota GB. ′If you were to have an accident with the vehicle, and hydrogen was to escape, bearing in mind that the tanks themselves are extremely robust, more so than an ordinary fuel tank which would easily spill the fuel, the control systems would release hydrogen in small amounts, in a concentration below flammability levels. ′Even if this were to fail, a tank containing around five kilos of gas would burn itself out in less than a minute. If you were to have the same sort of fire in any fossil-fuel vehicle, the fire would last quite a lot longer, burn with more intensity and would likely set fire to other things as well. For an EV, a battery fire could last days.’ The automotive industry has survived for decades as a two-fuel society. Petrol was seen as the best option for local journeys, while diesel was ideal for longer trips and logistics. As the market moves to a zero-carbon future, there is no reason why it cannot embrace another two-fuel society. Electric propulsion is perfect for those who drive around urban areas and short distances, while hydrogen offers the practicality needed for those motorway miles and long-distance travels.
Das Wasserstoff-Auto ist nachgewiesen NICHT die Klimalösung. Im Verkehr hat sich die Elektrifizierung durchgesetzt. Scheindebatten sind reine Zeitverschwendung. Bitte auf die Wissenschaft hören! @ArminLaschet @OlafScholz @andreasscheuer @ABaerbock https://t.co/LfErDmBs5R″” Herbert Diess (@Herbert_Diess) May 18, 2021