Hydrogen distraction risks a clean energy transition
The Hydrogen distraction may risk undermining the clean energy transition.
Colin Roche exposes the parties behind the distraction, the superficial appeal and the explains why the hydrogen bubble must burst, sooner or later: Hydrogen Bubble due to burst.
We recommend you read the brief article in full.
For those short on time the key quotes are:
- The speed of this sudden hype, and the breathlessness of the promises, should make us pause for thought.
- 99.9% of Europe's hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels, made by splitting methane gas into carbon and hydrogen.
- the big oil and gas players have a big stake in the hydrogen game.
- It is important to understand that hydrogen is not a clean or a dirty source of energy: it is simply a vector to store and move energy around
- The fossil fuel industry claims that it can in future capture and store the carbon. In reality, the large-scale and secure storage of carbon remains unproven and uneconomic.
- Five times more wind or solar farms would be needed to heat our homes with hydrogen than if we were to heat them directly with electricity using a heat pump. It is a similar story with hydrogen cars versus electric cars.
- Despite clear data on the inefficiency and the higher costs of hydrogen compared to direct electrification, decision makers appear to be more than willing to fall for the hype. The inescapable conclusion is that European governments are heavily invested in continuing to pump and to pipe fossil gas. It is far easier to buy the fairy-tale that hydrogen can substitute fossil gas, than to phase out gas boilers, downsize gas grids and cut oil and gas production.
- Perhaps the most maddening part of this hydrogen bubble is how much it draws oxygen away from important conversations on how to implement the solutions needed for Europe's energy transformation. Energy efficiency, replacing fossil fuels in the power, heating and transport sectors with renewable alternatives, and electrifying as much of our heating and transport as possible. Meanwhile, just like the hydrogen airship Hindenburg, don't be surprised if this hydrogen bubble bursts in our faces.