As I reported in my last post, the use of hydrogen has been talked up strongly recently, but it has also been opposed quite strongly. Indeed BNEFs Michael Liebreich says ‘forget hydrogen’ for many things – it will be too expensive to replace fossil gas for some end uses and is not very efficient as an energy vector. In a new review he claims that ‘as an energy storage medium, it has only a 50% round-trip efficiency – far worse than batteries. As a source of work, fuel cells, turbines and engines are only 60% efficient – far worse than electric motors – and far more complex. As a source of heat, hydrogen costs four times as much as natural gas. As a way of transporting energy, hydrogen pipelines cost three times as much as power lines, and ships and trucks are even worse’. Lierbreich’s analysis may seem at odds with the very positive projections in BNEFs latest New Energy Outlook 2020: green hydrogen provides just under a quarter of total final energy in 2050 under its Climate Scenario. But he may be right to point to some limitations, for example, when talking about the high efficiency of using electricity in heat pumps compared to using it to make hydrogen for heating.
Renew Extra 21st Nov 2020 read more »