Cars Toyota Mirai FCEV

Published on April 13th, 2015 | by Tina Casey

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New Project Makes Hydrogen For Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles, Without The Natural Gas Baggage

April 13th, 2015 by  

Among the reasons why zero emission fuel cell electric vehicles get the stinkeye from CleanTechnica, the natural gas issue is probably the one we can all agree on. As with other EVs, the “zero emission” thing refers to the tailpipe. As long as fuel cells are powered by hydrogen, and as long as almost all hydrogen comes from natural gas, then fuel cell EVs are far from a clean solution to personal mobility.

However, a brand new demonstration hydrogen project is about to stand the whole hydrogen source issue on its head.

Toyota Mirai FCEV

How Natural Gas Can Benefit Fuel Cell EVs, Without The Baggage

For those of you new to the issue, natural gas has the edge over coal as a “clean” fuel because there are lower emissions at the burn point. However, there are a host of other problems up and down the supply chain.

The problem with natural gas is partly due to the drilling method known as fracking, short for hydrofracturing. Fracking has been linked to water contamination and earthquakes, as well as numerous problems with wastewater disposal.

Here in the US, fracking was once confined to thinly populated areas, but the relatively recent discovery of shale formations in more heavily populated areas has touched off new waves of local opposition.

Fracking or not, natural gas is also coming under increased scrutiny for the amount of fugitive methane emissions from drilling sites, transmission lines, and storage facilities.

That’s a whole lot of baggage for fuel cell EVs to carry around.

To be fair, if you charge up your EV battery from a grid mix that includes coal and natural gas, you’re also carrying a lot of greenhouse gas freight.

On the other hand, EV owners can escape the greenhouse trap by charging up with electricity generated by renewable energy — and in the sparkling green future, a similar option could be available to fuel cell EV owners.



The SoCalGas Power-To-Gas Renewable Hydrogen System

That brings us to this renewable hydrogen demonstration project, just announced today by Southern California Gas Company. A division of the energy company Sempra, SoCalGas has teamed up with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California–Irvine for the project.

The idea is to split hydrogen gas from water, using solar-generated or wind-generated electricity to power the process.

We’ve covered a number of small-scale interpretations of the renewable hydrogen concept, but the new demonstration project is the first we’ve seen to launch the technology into showtime, at least in the US (you can check out Germany for another large-scale renewable hydrogen project).

Standing The Natural Gas Baggage On Its Head

Renewable hydrogen levels the playing field between fuel cell EVs and battery EVs, at least in regard to low- or zero-emission sourcing.

In terms of energy storage, all else being equal according to Sempra, fuel cells have the advantage in scale, capacity, and duration. Those advantages most obviously apply to large-scale, stationary energy storage, but according to our trickle-down theory of energy storage technology, there could also be some application to fuel cell EVs.

Fuel cells could also have another advantage in the US and other developed countries: the existence of an existing gas transmission and storage structure. Here’s the money quote from Sempra, regarding the commercialization of renewable hydrogen:

Such a commercial system could enable natural gas utilities across North America to use their existing pipeline infrastructure as essentially a large, cost-effective “battery” to store and deliver clean, renewable energy on demand.

That’s exactly what the new demonstration will set out to explore: the “feasibility and potential benefits of using the natural gas pipeline system to store photovoltaic and wind-produced energy.”

That’s the real head-standing angle — ditching the greenhouse gas liability of natural gas, and while retaining the advantages of an extensive natural gas infrastructure.

Sempra’s SoCalGas is the biggest natural gas utility in the US (21.4 million consumers through 5.9 million meters, that’s how big), so its interest in the technology is obvious. As things stand now, in some regions, the renewable generating capacity is outrunning demand, and SoCalGas may be looking at a future in which more customers choose distributed wind and solar over gas. Rather than holding the bag in terms of stranded assets, renewable hydrogen could enable the utility to squeeze more use out of its existing infrastructure, while providing a form of long-term storage for renewable energy.

SoCalGas expects results from the demo project to be in hand before the end of this year, so stay tuned.

Renewable Hydrogen For Fuel Cell EVs

The Energy Department is actually looking at a whole host of renewable technologies for generating hydrogen, as illustrated by this handy chart:

NREL renewable hydrogen for fuel cell EVs

For more information on electrolysis, pay a visit to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and tell them CleanTechnica sent you.

Follow me on Twitter and Google+.

Image Credits: (top, screenshot) Toyota Mirai fuel cell EV courtesy of Toyota; (bottom) courtesy of NREL.





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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



  • GraceAdams830

    How about (in sunny areas) using solar panel as top of a Battery Electric Vehicle and having car top off its battery when it is parked in sun? Would NOT help with long distance highway driving, but might be good for short distance errands around town driving. If rechargeable from house current at service stations same car could be used for longer distances if charged while driver and any passengers stop for bathroom/rest breaks or meals.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I think the math works out to something like 0.6 miles after sitting all day in sunshine.

      • GraceAdams830

        So I guess anyone who wants solar power for their electric car needs to cover entire garage roof with solar panels not just the top of the car.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Depends on how large their garage roof is… ;o)

          Figure 0.3 kWh per miles. Average miles driven = 13,000. Average solar hours per day = 4.5 (middle of the US).

          13,000 * 0.3 = 3,900 kWh per year. 10.7 kWh per day.

          10.7 kWh / 4.5 solar hours = 2.4 kW in panels.

          Using dimensions of a commonly sold panel, 2.4 kW of panels would need about 175 square feet.

          Thing is, your garage roof would be out in the sunshine all day long. Not parked under a tree, on the shady side of a tall building or in a parking garage.

          • GraceAdams830

            It would take a fairly large garage with a favorably located and oriented roof–maybe about 13 x 14 feet then. On my budget I gave up driving some time ago, mostly walk for transportation, sometimes manage to bum rides.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Between house and garage most single family residences have enough space for a solar array large enough to power house and car. East and west facing roof slopes work almost as well as south facing roofs (80% to 90% as well).

            Most EV charging in the US is likely to be done with wind-generated electricity. Cars will be plugged in mainly at night. Onshore wind tends to blow harder at night. And demand is low.

          • GraceAdams830

            Most of Connecticut is suburban if not urban with enough NIMBY from some who can’t stand sound of wind turbines that most renewable energy here is rooftop solar. Politically it is best a home owner in Connecticut can do. So far we have net metering. It will have to change to time of day pricing with a higher price of energy bought from utility than for energy sold to utility before our utility will calm down and stop trying to kill it. State will not let them generate their own, only broker electricity generated by others in the day ahead market.

  • Ken

    This is just more ridiculous pro-fuel cell misleading nonsense from Tina.

    Tina conveniently leaves out the fact that any renewable hydrogen source costs about 5 times as much as hydrogen sourced form natural gas.

    In other words it is economically unsound and, because of this, renewable H2 sources will not be built in any meaningful numbers in the foreseeable future and, according to most competent scientists and engineers – ever.

    For the foreseeable future, H2 will continue to come from the dirty fossil fuel, natural gas which will come from 70% fracking which is environmentally devastating. This means fuel cell EVs are not green in any way.

    The fossil fuel car companies are trying to do everything they can to hide these simple facts and convince people these cars are green when they are not.

    This technology needs to be banned until it is actually green – which may never happen.

    I know there is the claim that Tina’s views are her own but her repeated omission of simple key facts sure makes her sound a lot like a mouth piece for fossil fuel and fossil fuel car companies.

  • Peter Gravlin

    Why could the excess heat not be converted into regenerative electricity fed into the battery making a positive feedback loop in FCEV’s?

    • Bob_Wallace

      What mechanism would you suggest for heat -> electricity?

  • Joe

    Show me the data. What’s the energy conversion efficiency well to wheel for this?

  • Joe Viocoe

    California currently has a mandate for Hydrogen to be sourced 30% from renewables.
    This is the result of that mandate.

    But before you get too excited…. you have to understand the economics of all this complexity and infrastructure.

    THIS is what makes H2 over $14 / kg.

    So when enough people buy into the “Hydrogen Economy”, and buy FCVs that lock them into the same old paradigm…. that is when they will start showing the true expense of Hydrogen, and begin to lobby the CA government to reduce the mandate to bring “cheap Hydrogen on the market” (A.K.A. Natural Gas sourced)

    • Bob_Wallace

      ​Can you flesh that out?

      $/kg for 100% NG H2

      $14/kg for 70% NS/30% ‘water’ H2.

      $ per mile for each.​

      • Joe Viocoe

        Kinda hard to really get handle on prices per kg.

        This is because they intentionally obscure the costs. (kinda like the complexity of the Tax Code is really “a feature not a bug”).

        Only preselected FCV lessees who contracted to be one of the chosen few here in CA really know. And they are technically part of a “fleet” and pay a price according to contract.
        Even now, the automakers and H2 producers do not Dare reveal the actual cost.

        I have seen $14/kg tossed around last time I was at the AltCar Expo which had test rides of several FCVs. It was held right near the Emeryville station.

        • eveee

          It would be even nicer to know if they signed a non disclosure about H2 filling costs. That would be more revealing than anything. Next up, how much did the states sew into H2 refilling station subsidies.

    • Ken

      You are right Joe but it is even worse than what you are saying. That ‘mandate’ has absolutely no meaning at the present time.

      It doesn’t even go into effect until there are about 15,000 FCVs on the road which gives the fossil fuel car companies plenty of time to lobby it out of existence or, at least, into more of a toothless nothing than it already is.

      The simple fact is this: For the foreseeable future – the only time that counts because of our CO2 crisis – fuel cell vehicles will be powered by 95% natural gas which will mostly come from the environmentally devastating practice of fracking.

      Fuel cell vehicles are not green in any way and the fossil fuel car companies are purposely misleading people and trying to cover up this fact.

      • Joe Viocoe

        “It doesn’t even go into effect until there are about 15,000 FCVs ”

        I did not know that… where did you get this info? Thanks.

  • Ben Helton

    Of course, power-to-gas tech has been known about for a while; but nice to see one of these super BEV websites with a more rationale article on the topic.

    Cheers to better journalism.

    • Joseph Dubeau

      Accept the blue in the diagram above “infrastructure” does not exist.
      “Sempra’s SoCalGas is the biggest natural gas utility”
      They make their money selling natural gas.

      Toyota Mirai fuel cell uses hydrogen NOT methane.

      • Bob_Wallace

        The Toyota Mirai will use methane reformed into hydrogen.

        There is almost no H2 from water available to purchase. Reformed methane is just too cheap compared to extracted hydrogen.

        • Ken

          Bob, you have so many good points.

          You should be writing the article about FCVs.

          You have a great headline. “The Toyota Mirai is a fracking car and is not green in any way.”

          Something like that from this publication will go viral and get the very important truth out there.

          It continues to confuse me that Tina has now written multiple misleading articles about this tech that omits the simple fact that it is not green and actually environmentally devastating. It seems completely wrong for Clean Technica to publish such nonsense.

          Think of the poor guy that reads these articles and spends $60,000 because he thinks he is doing good when he is not because he has basically been lied to.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Tina writes article that I find interesting. I dont’ see her pushing for sales of FCEVs.

            There are those who advocate for FCEVs but fail to point out the problems of widespread adoption. I am unable to see how “clean” hydrogen FCEVs would ever be accepted by the market. People will find the fuel too expensive and stick with gasoline and diesel.

            The only way (short of very heavy-handed government action) to get people to give up petroleum is to offer them a less expensive alternative.

          • Ken

            You wrote: I don’t see her pushing for sales of FCEVs.

            You are not looking very carefully. Here is the headline:

            “New Project Makes Hydrogen For Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles, Without The Natural Gas Baggage”

            This is followed closely by a picture of the new Toyota.

            It looks like it was bought and paid for by them. “Look at the good we’re doing!”

            The article gives the very false impression that this is (or will very soon be) a clean green vehicle when it is not. That all these green solutions for this car are right around the corner when, in fact, they are not and, according to most scientists and engineers, will never be.

            Every article written about this tech needs that fact in it. Not just in the comments section.

            There will never be any significant amount of clean fuel available for this car in exactly the way you are rightfully pointing out it is not available now. This article purposely leaves that fact out and implies it is all heading toward getting better when it is not. It is misleading and irresponsible to imply there is anything meaningful in this ‘demo’ plant. The real story is the ‘demo’ plant is a PR distraction that will make no difference to the environmentally devastating nature of this tech.

            Why not do an article that tells the truth in a headline:

            “The Toyota Fuel Cell car is a fracking car and that is all it will most likely ever be”?

          • Mopey

            There are those who advocate for BEVs but fail to point out the problems of widespread adoption for long range travel, public transportation, medium and heavy duty transportation, recharging infrastructure. People will find the cars/trucks/buses too expensive and stick with gasoline and diesel.

            I am unable to see how BEVs would ever be accepted
            by the goods movement/transit/heavy duty transportation market. People will find the range too short, recharging time too long and stick with
            gasoline and diesel.

            These are all valid points. Both technologies can be green, and serve quite different transportation sectors.

            Unless Tesla is going to build 18 wheeler trucks any time soon. Kinda don’t see that happening, and supercharger stations may be busy for a while with those big ones…

          • Bob_Wallace

            EVs run off renewable energy will be CO2 free.

            FCEVs run off reformed methane will have a large CO2 footprint.

            Understand?

            We are not yet at the endpoint. We’re working our way there.

            FCEVs run off hydrogen created by splitting water using renewable energy would have a zero CO2 footprint, but the cost of H2 would be too expensive for the market to accept.

            Understand?

            There are already battery powered buses and trucks on the road. There are already freight and passenger trains running on electricity.

            With electricity and batteries we see a route forward. It’s now only a matter of scaling up. With hydrogen and fuel cells there are economic barriers and no known ways around those barriers.

            We will eliminate fossil fuels only by giving people more affordable alternatives. People will not spend appreciably more to save the planet from extreme climate change, regardless of how much sense that makes.

    • Ken

      The article is brain-dead as proven above. A lot like you.

      • Ben Helton

        Ken wrote:
        “The article is brain-dead. A lot like you”

        Come on, don’t be a coward about your insults. Take pride in your maturity!

        • Ken

          Yes, it’s real mature to be a liar like you.

          You are the true coward.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Tone it down, please. No name-calling.

          • Ken

            Okay, then I’ll put it the way you put it.

            Ben H. lies all the time.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I am not a good model of proper behavior….

          • Ken

            I totally understand your frustration with people like this, Bob!

          • Mopey

            Lol…. Frustration: the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.

            Sounds about right.

          • Ken

            Yep. People who lie have a tendency to just keep lying.

            But pointing that out does destroy their credibility.

          • Ben Helton

            Please; fill me (and everybody else) as to what you think I lied about.

            Your accusations have no merit as far as anybody (intelligent) is concerned.

            Also; do you understand the definition of a coward? I have not run from my own comments like you have.

          • Ken

            You just lied again since my accusations have total merit.

            It is ridiculously easy to prove you lie – a lot.

            You wrote: “Considering all the press they (Tesla) get, the fever for this company, sales are rather weak.”

            That is a lie since Tesla outsold all cars in its class while being supply constrained and always has a waiting list. Being #1 in your class with a waiting is the very opposite of ‘weak sales’.

            I just proved you lied.

            You also wrote: “I would make even more money if all the cars on the roads were these (Tesla) pieces of junk.”

            Tesla is the #1 recommended car by Consumer Reports and received its highest overall quality rating in history, 2 years in a row. It also received the highest Customer Satisfaction rating in Consumer Reports history and has the best real world safety record of any car company on the planet.

            To call a car with those qualifications ‘junk’ is a lie.

            I just proved you lied – again.

            You also wrote: “their (Tesla’s) hiring process is so awful (for lack of a better word) that even if they manage to actually get good technicians, the corporate culture of the company causes most smart people to think twice.”

            Tesla has the highest service ratings from Consumer Reports of any car company in the US, not only beating all dealerships but independents as well. This proves their hiring process is vastly superior to the other companies.

            To say it is ‘so awful’ is another lie.

            I just proved you a liar – again.

            I could go on and on but the point as been clearly made as far as anybody intelligent is concerned.

            Ben H lies – a lot.

          • Ben Helton

            “Considering all the press they (Tesla) get, the fever for this company, sales are rather weak.”

            – 71,150,000 vehicles sold worldwide in 2014, of those, 31,655 of those were made by Tesla.

            That’s 0.04% of all sales in the industry. Big woopty doo-dah.

            “Tesla is the #1 recommended car by Consumer Reports and received its highest overall quality rating in history 2 years in a row. It also received the highest Customer Satisfaction rating in Consumer Reports history and has the best real world safety record of any car company on the planet.

            To call a car with those qualifications ‘junk’ is a lie.”

            Actually, it’s an opinion; in which I am entitled to. You are mistaking fact and opinion (typical problem you have, especially when you go by Peter, Paul, or Phil).

            You should be honest with yourself and everybody; as far as consumer reports goes, the “Reliability” is “AVERAGE”

            That means – yes, they do break down, and leave people stranded on the side of the road. “The word of mouth on the car sucked,” -Elon Musk says

            It wasn’t me that convinced Musk to say these words; it was just the ‘word of mouth’ of the car.

            As far as the people right now who are being told their MILLING sound is NORMAL; they are probably feeling the same way. If they are un-happy with their un-reliable car, does that make them a LIAR?

          • Ken

            You just lied again, multiple times, you reply.

            All cars that sell for over $100,000 sell in relatively small numbers compared to mass market priced cars. It is meaningless to compare those sales numbers. Tesla has outsold all cars in its class in the US which is strong – not weak – sales.

            I just proved you lied – again.

            Consumer Reports reports objective facts. To call a car with their highest overall quality rating ‘junk’ is not an opinion, it is a lie.

            I just proved you lied – again.

            Car with the best reliability rating break down and leave people stranded.

            Cars with average reliability are not ‘junk’. The fact is the average reliability of cars is quite good these days. Average reliability rated cars include Audi, BMW and Porsche. It is a fact that they are not ‘junk’ either.

            I just proved you lied again.

            The milling issues were fixed quickly and a long time ago so there is no ‘right now’ in terms of any trend.

            I just proved you lied – again.

            A car with average reliability is not ‘unreliable’. To say it is is another lie.

            I just proved you lied – again.

            Research has proved that Tesla’s hiring practices resulted in the highest rated service in the entire US. That shows their hiring practices are excellent – not awful.

            I just proved you lied – again.

            You are entitled to your own opinions, not your own facts.

            You have lied many times.

            Maybe a different way to put this is that you are unable to coherently process proven facts?

          • Ben Helton

            Oh come on; where are your typical sloshes of trash? I miss being called “droolingly stupid” “Village Idiot”, etc, etc. Why did you dumb down your insults. You cannot possibly think people will be convinced by your dull, weak arguments. They need good old classic American trash. Fling it monkey; from where the sun don’t shine!

          • Ken

            I’m sure you have been called all those things my many people many times. They do sound right.

            You have completely failed to disprove any facts – as usual.

            I have clearly shown that you have no credibility with any thinking person.

  • Rick

    Seriously, why not just use the God given and extraordinary abundant amount of Natural Gas derived from fracking. Has anyone looked at the amount of Natural Gas reserves are available in the Mercalles and Utica fields? Why does this have to be Hydrogen, it is very expensive to create by electrolysis or otherwise, difficult to store, expensive to compress and distribute. We already have a US distribution pipeline. — For that matter why not just simply run our vehicles off of Natural Gas.. as the net energy to use our existing resource is significantly lower and less expensive than hydrogen based vehicles. Oh I know why the US Government has grants for hydrogen based economy, not so much for fracking. One more reason we should have a small government. —

    • Bob_Wallace

      Why not use NG?

      Climate change.

      • Rick

        Climate change, what climate change? If climate change even exists, it is simple math to say the most efficient manner to provide for our transportation is also the most “earth friendly”. The inefficiencies of solar power and/ or wind power to create Natural gas is significantly higher than to use the Natural gas mined from fracking or otherwise. Reforming Natural gas to hydrogen (regardless if derived from mining, wind, or solar is very inefficient ) From a systems perspective burn natural gas to fuel our vehicles is much more efficient than to reform it and then use fuel cells. –I will note, Fuel cells do have their applications, but IMHO not for mass transit.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Rick, we are not a place for those who are living a life of denial. If you are one of those few people who think you’re smarter than the tens of thousands of people who do climate research and the hundreds of scientific organizations that accept climate change facts then you need to go elsewhere.

          Now, let’s look at ” the most efficient manner to provide for our transportation is also the most “earth friendly”.

          ICEVs are about 20% efficient. Roughly 80% of the energy in the NG used in a vehicle is simply discarded as waste heat.

          Starting with the electricity coming from solar panels, wind turbines or other renewable sources we would lose about 4% in distribution, 10% in battery charging and about 10% in EV inefficiency. We start with 100 kWh of electricity, lose 4 to distribution (96 kWh left), 10% to battery charging (86.4 left), 10% to EV inefficiency (77.8) left.

          With NG we lose 80%. With EVs we lose about 22%. It’s not even close.
          In all that process wind and solar have released no CO2. You are correct. The most efficient (wind/solar in EVs) are the most Earth-friendly.

          • Rick

            Bob, you missed a step and are comparing apples and oranges. To use electricity in an EV you need to reform the NG, that is quite inefficient, and extremely expensive. Many strategies have been tried, and failed. My point again is that it is much more efficient from a systems standpoint to burn the natural gas in an engine than to generate NG from solar or wind, create synthesized NG, then transport it then reform it then use it it an EV. Not only is the reformation of the NG inefficient, it requires burning of Natural gas to accomplish. the output of the reformer has considerable CO2. I also question your “distribution losses ” of electricity of 4% the Power grid loss is around 6%, and battery charging losses are much higher and have a limited number of recharge cycles. The total system cost not even close to the energy cost of delivered Natural gas to my house, compressing it and then burning it.. Do your math, tell me system cost in dollars per mile driven and then we will talk. Please factor in the cost of platinum for both the reformer and fuel cell average life span of equipment, etc., off hand i would say it is at least 5x more expensive per mile, perhaps much, much more. It’s simple math, ill drive my clean diesel and convert to natural gas at some point in the near future.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here’s what you said –

            ” From a systems perspective burn natural gas to fuel our vehicles is much more efficient than to reform it and then use fuel cells…”

            I showed you that running EVs from wind/solar is much more efficient than burning NG in internal combustion engines. You already understood that reforming NG to H2 made no sense.

            ” I also question your “distribution losses ” of electricity of 4% the Power grid loss is around 6%”

            That’s both transmission and distribution losses combined.

            ” tell me system cost in dollars per mile driven and then we will talk”

            The system cost of what? Tell me exactly what you want compared. You want a pennies per mile cost for which routes?

            I’ll give you some and you can tell me what you want added.

            EVs. 0.3 kWh at 12 cents per kWh or less. 3.6 cents per mile. (EVs will likely get lower than average retail prices for charging.)

            Diesel. 2015 VW Golf diesel – 36 MPG combined. $3/gallon (today’s US average). 8 cents per mile.

            FCEV. Toyota Mirai running on reformed NG. 17 cents per mile. (Toyota’s price)

          • Shane 2

            ***Toyota Mirai running on reformed NG. 17 cents per mile***
            Ouch. That has to hurt.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Toyota and Hyundai are giving early adopters free fuel. A great way to hide the cost of fuel.

          • Bob_Wallace

            From a Reuters piece on FCEV fuel stations in Japan –

            “So far, the only commercial fuel-cell car on the road is the Mirai, launched in December. Toyota has said it would limit production to three a day for the first year, ramping that up to about 3,000 in 2017. Honda Motor Co is also due to begin selling a fuel-cell car by next March but has not disclosed a sales target.

            Hydrogen stations cost about $5 million to build, and the government’s subsidy for one location is capped at around half that. Even with the generous handouts, the stations are seen making a loss for at least the first decade, industry officials say.”

            http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/14/japan-hydrogen-idUSL4N0XB25F20150414

        • Epicurus

          “Climate change, what climate change? If climate change even exists . . . . ”

          Let me guess. Evolution is just a “theory” and the earth is only 6000 years old too, right?

        • Ken

          You’ve just proven yourself extremely dim if you can’t understand climate change.

          You also don’t seem smart enough to understand how fracking devastates the environment.

          This is a site for thinking people. You may need to go elsewhere.

  • lebobo

    all the pipelines can be relined with existing technology

    • eveee

      Do you have any references to this relining process?

  • Andre Needham

    Some of the paths on that chart above seem to involve a lot of energy loss. Take solar/wind power, and use electrolysis to produce hydrogen. Apparently that’s 50-75% efficient. Now react the hydrogen with CO2 to create natural gas. Wikipedia says that’s 80% efficient. Now compress the natural gas. Some single-digit energy loss there (anyone have a good value for this?). Then burn it in a CNG vehicle. That’s apparently 35-45% efficient. Overall, at best .75*.8*.45 = 27% of the original electricity actually propelled a car. Or we could put the electricity directly into a battery-electric car instead. The number I see for that (Tony Seba’s site) is roughly 69% efficiency.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The above graph with efficiency numbers and/or an update of the below graphic would be helpful.

      • Hazel

        Thanks Bob. I’ve been trying to piece this together for a few weeks now, it seems someone did it for us more than eight years ago!

        • Bob_Wallace

          It does need updating. I believe fuel cells have become more efficient. The problems further up continue.

          Even before H2 gets to the fuel cell H2 is already behind. (42%/51% to 69%)

  • No way

    We should be open to all solutions and it’s great to do studies and some test projects to see the potential, seek improvements and see the faults of such an implementation.
    But I have yet to encounter someone making a remotely compelling argument for hydrogen and hydrogen solutions that couldn’t be easier solved with other solutions with less cost, more efficiecy and more benefits for the environment.

    • Michael G

      Making an argument isn’t necessary. FC storage is already $Billion business around the world with major cos. like Verizon using it to keep their sites running. They wouldn’t be doing it if it weren’t cheaper than batteries in some applications.

      FCs have also replaced batteries in many large material handling depots for forklifts. That is based purely on cost by cos. like Walmart and BMW.

      There are also areas where cost isn’t as important a consideration as weight or size as in submarine power or a soldier carrying power for electronic equipment.

      The trick is making it green. That is still expensive.

      • juxx0r

        The fuel cells your referring to are natural gas cells, not hydrogen, for the likes of verizon.

        What fuel cell forklifts are walmart and BMW using? Hydrogen or LPG? And what’s the cost basis? Capex, Opex, Uptime? Seems strange that a fuel cell can beat a lead acid forklift on anything but uptime.

        • Michael G

          The original question I was responding to was FCs vs batteries, not what type of FCs they are. The tenor of some discussion here suggests that some (by no means all) think FCs are purely a theoretical development. In terms of “green” FCs and FCVs that is mostly true.

          I was just ensuring people understand that there are applications where FCs are being used now in profit-making enterprises on a commercial basis (as opposed to prototyping) by cos. who do their financials very well. I.e., if Walmart is using them, they must make financial sense. This includes the cost to cos. of putting in dozens of refueling stations.

          I believe they are worthwhile on the basis of uptime. These are often large 6-ton forklifts in constant use, not the little things occasionally running around Costco.

          You ask good questions. You might find answers here:
          http://www.fchea.org/ or here http://energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/fuel-cell-technologies-office.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “The tenor of some discussion here suggests that some (by no means all) think FCs are purely a theoretical development.”

            Come on, Michael. You know that is not true. You know that the problem for FCEVs is not whether or not there are fuel cells, but the cost of the fuel. Even reformed methane makes hydrogen too expensive to be competitive.

          • juxx0r

            I’ve got nothing against fuel cells, particularly if you have fuel and a cell and you need power. Bring em together and Bob is your uncle.

            My issue is, where you have say natural gas or electricity and you need motion. A simple energy balance says put that shit in a battery and Fanny is your aunt, Bob in this case is not your uncle, you’d only have half a Bob if you went via a fuel cell.

            So to bottom line it, Fuel cell for really quick recharge, Battery for energy and cost efficiency.

          • Michael G

            Thanks for your reasoned and reasonable reply. My understanding of *current* technology is different. For net energy/liter (= range) FCs win. For cost, acceleration, infrastructure batteries currently win. The two charts below are from the excellent tutorials at http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/net_calorific_value_of_fossil_fuel_and_battery and
            http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/fuel_cell_vehicles

            Dr. Wishart writes the long-term replacement for ICEs would be a “Chevy Volt”-like FCHEV with pure EVs for commuting.
            http://chargedevs.com/features/fuel-cell-vs-battery-electric-vehicles/

            All RE tech is “nascent” at this point and the whole field is developing so fast I don’t rule out any tech.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You actually think replacing the ICE in a PHEV with a fuel cell makes sense?
            Please show your math. Cost per mile and CO2.

          • juxx0r

            I did not know we were running out of room in forklifts or in electric vehicles, what with having two trunks and all. Your chart does show my half a Bob though.

          • Michael G

            Not “running out of room in forklifts”, but the lead acid batteries degrade after about 4-6 hours and have to be replaced which requires a specialist. The extra replacement batteries take up valuable space. The FCs go for 18 hours and are refilled in a few minutes by the operators (since it is like pumping gas). The FCs are exactly the same size and configuration as the batteries they replace so no retrofitting of forklifts is required.

            Walmart Canada uses water-hydrolyzed H2 made in Quebec from hydro-electricity and transported to their Canadian facility by truck so it is “green” energy making the H2. Walmart figures they will save $1 Million over 7 years at that 1 site with just 95 FCs. They have several other much bigger sites in the US with over 2,000 forklifts of varying size and on site H2 generation equipment. I assume if they are saving money with 95 in Canada they are saving even more with 2,000 in the US.

            A few people here seem to think H2 is impossible to store or transport and use *very* involved calculations showing why H2 FCs can never succeed. And yet one of the “cheapest” cos. in the world finds it saves them money. It’s a very long way from a few thousand forklifts to millions of FCV so I’m not going to make projections. Let the markets decide.

            Source: http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53ab1feee4b0bef0179a1563/t/5457be54e4b05567eee32311/1415036500747/2014BusinessCaseforFuelCells.pdf

          • Bob_Wallace

            “A few people here seem to think H2 is impossible to store or transport and use *very* involved calculations showing why H2 FCs can never succeed.”
            Michael G. lies once again…

          • juxx0r

            Mate of mine rocks round in a lead acid forklift that gets about 12 hours per charge. They use them in coolrooms and run about a 16 hour shift, so they charge them at lunch time and overnight and easily get their 16 hours.

            Now if they were to put Lithium iron phosphate batteries in there, they could fit 3 times as many in for the same volume giving 36 hours runtime. This would be three times less running costs. Additionally the waste heat from the fuel cells need to be pulled out of the coolrooms and many are humidity controlled as well so there would be savings there too.

            If Walmart can save $1M over 7 years, then they could save $3M by using battery forklifts just on the electricity difference. Surely this would cover having a couple of spare forks parked up on charge. Around these parts that would save having to inspect the registered pressure tanks every year too.

          • Michael G

            Be sure to tell Walmart (274 FC FLs in 2007, 2600 now) about your friend. Also BMW (100 in 2010, another 174 in 2012), Sysco, Ace Hardware, Kroger (Grocers) and some others. I’m sure they will be embarrassed not to have researched it better, but still glad to know what a huge mistake they have been making.

            Don’t forget to tell your friend’s co. what a huge mistake they have been making by not using Li-ion batteries. I’m sure they will be grateful.

  • wattleberry

    This is a huge advance for hydrogen, no doubt bringing with it some useful applications, but surely the storage issue must always rule it out as an alternative to batteries in such a vulnerable thing as a motor vehicle?

    • wattleberry

      Could base load back up be one of those applications?

      • Bob_Wallace

        Using H2 as a grid storage technology is under consideration.

        There are a couple of problems. When it comes to fuels, H2 is pretty “un-dense” (see graphic). Storing very large amounts of H2 could be extremely expensive.

        Then from electricity -> H2 -> electricity is very lossy.

  • vensonata

    I am not sure they are talking about 100% hydrogen in the pipelines and storage tanks. In Germany, it seem, they are adding about 5% hydrogen to the natural gas through excess wind power that they hydrolyze into hydrogen. Modest, to say the least. Maybe the industry is using eel wiggling language to make us think suddenly we get “pure, clean, hydrogen and our problems are over, and now we can get back to going to Mars”.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Yes, I am guessing they mean natural gas will be used in fuels cells (already done on a small scale) and that hydrogen will be reacted with CO2 to create methane and that will be shoved in the natural gas pipes. On the diagram above hydrogen cand CO2 enter the bioreactor to produce methane.

      • Joseph Dubeau

        They could add a few pictures on office walls of polar bears and other wildlife. On their office building they could put up Micro Wind Turbines just like the Ford dealership. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/11/13/micro-wind-turbines-huge-deal-ford/

        Lots of American flags would look great.

      • Larmion

        You can blend up to 15% hydrogen into the NG without any issues. Since the extra conversion step to methane reduces efficiency, it’d be better if we started with injecting some hydrogen straight.

        • Ronald Brakels

          I have no idea what they have planned, but according to their dotted lines they may make methane. But direct or not it will be pricey. If they pay 3 cents a kilowatt-hour for electricity for electrolysis at 75% efficiency that comes to about $11 for a gigjoule of hydrogen. Given that natural gas is far cheaper in the US hydrogen might be a tough sell. Might be cheaper to just burn natural gas and then remove the CO2 released from the atmosphere and sequester it.

          • Larmion

            At the moment, it is. In an (admittedly very much hypothetical) future where the amount of variable renewable energy becomes so great that it on rare occasions overwhelms load-shifting and storage capacity and prices turn negative, it just might be profitable.

            If we assume that storage will retain a high fixed cost and that the installations used for this are relatively cheap, it might be a viable way to deal with ‘super peaks’.

            Of course, it might be possible that storage drops in price even faster than predicted. And there are plenty of other storage methods with limited upfront costs, thermal storage for example.

            PS: before anyone points out that negative prices are not hypothetical because Germany and other European countries see them now and then: I’m writing this on the assumption that storage and load shifting technology will keep pace with RE generation in the coming decades, which most analysts now assume.

          • Hazel

            Sure, on a few occasions electric power prices becomes minuscule, and even negative.

            Trouble is, your hydrogen electrolysis equipment built to take advantage of this would have extremely low utilization, and extremely high capital cost.

            In contrast, EV batteries only charge 2-6 hours per day at level 2 charging rates. This is perfect for a grid with a few hours of cheap electricity due to pre-noon high solar production, morning wind, or overnight nuclear.

            If consumers could actually see these wholesale price fluctuations in retail pricing, EV energy cost would be extremely low.

          • GraceAdams830

            If I am not mistaken in US utilities with nuclear power they would rather not ramp down in wee hours of morning used to have negative electric prices around 2 am. It would really make sense for those utilities to get some sort of energy storage to save that negative price electric for the noon to 8 pm peak price time.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You are correct.

            Back when we were building nuclear plants in the 1960s and 1970s we built a lot of pump-up hydro storage just to move unneeded electricity from late night to times of higher demand.

            Right now there isn’t enough surplus late night power to justify adding more storage. Take a look at how little wind is curtailed due to oversupply…

            .

    • Marion Meads

      The Sacramento Municipal Utility District right now is injecting dairy biogas into the existing pipelines that feeds into gas powered electric generators. The biogas is a mixture of hydrogen, methane, carbon dioxide and other gases. The system can tolerate up to 10% of the biogas in the mix without degrading its performance. When the biogas is cleaned up of CO2 using magnesium, the amount can be increased to 90% or more. The limit of nitrogen is between 5%-15% depending on age of pipelines and other factors.

      Here’s NREL’s paper about the topic of hydrogen injection into the current infrastructure. Take note that the upper limit is 15%, so it is very low potential for the future transport and storage.

      http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/51995.pdf

      • Larmion

        If you call 15% ‘very low’, you seriously need to compare NG use to expected new RE capacity. Let’s not forget we’re still very, very far indeed from a world where RE excesses are a frequent occurence.

        Between a smart grid that will be increasingly able to adjust consumption to supply, a large stock of flexible hydropower and an increasing volume of storage, P2H will be a niche. That doesn’t make it less important though.

        • TCFlood

          Actually, curtailment is low level (a few percent) but already common:
          http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy14osti/60983.pdf

        • eveee

          Will P2G be enough to absorb the excess? Will the gas demand absorb it? How can we use P2G that way and reduce nat gas consumption? If we want to or have to stop fracturing, that h2 to ch4 ratio may be difficult to deal with.

          • Larmion

            As Jenny Sommers points out below, the German gas grid could provide all storage Germany needs. And there are good reasons to think the picture in America is even rosier than it is in Germany:

            – The US has a large amount of pumped hydro storage, as well as a lot of
            fully dispatchable hydropower. This means the US can absorb minor renewable
            peaks before any advanced storage or PowerToX scheme has to kick in.

            – Gas is used almost exclusively for heating and process heat in Germany; electricity generation from gas has fallen to a minute share of total generation. Since gas is used for those two purposes as well as for generation almost a third of electricity in the US, the gas grid logically should have a greater per capita capacity.

            PowerToH shouldn’t be designed to ‘absorb the excess’. For frequent peaks, storage (pumped hydro or battery) is more appropriate. However, storage systems need a high usage rate to pay for their high upfront costs. That makes the great for absorbing the small-ish daily/weekly peaks, but not for the exceptional, ‘few times a year’ peaks that happen when weather is exceptionally good.

            For that, you’d either need curtailment or a storage system with lower upfront cost. Curtailment could work, but is costly (and a waste of resources). Limited deployment of power to hydrogen just might work, if the technology comes down in price.

            Will it? Not sure. But unlike other PowerToSomething technology, it at least has the advantage of being realistic: there’s no need for entirely new infrastructure (just inject in the gas grid/storage system), the number of conversion steps is limited and the technology is tried and tested.

            For me, that’s enough. Especially since that research wouldn’t be wasted if it fails to be useful for storing excess renewables.

            Many industrial processes already use hydrogen, and many more would if it was cheaper to produce. If (bio)chemical plants had a cheaper way to produce their own hydrogen than steam reforming, it would provide a small but significant (and clean!) boost to an important industrial sector. And it would allow chemical plants to absorb a bit more excess grid electricity than they currently can.

          • eveee

            Yes. Power to gas is good particularly for heating and hydro is better for storing sudden peaks. I have seen some German futures studies using P2G. They are leading in research and application, but its still small for now.
            There are hydrogen vs methane mix issues that limit flexibility somewhat, but electricity to methane is another option.

    • Jenny Sommer

      The German gas grid can store up to 200TWh. All German pumped storage amounts to 0.04TWh.
      For 80% renewable penetration we would neef around 30TWh of storage.
      Stadtgas used to contain up to 30% hydrogen.

  • TCFlood

    Hydrogen for energy storage is very much worth trying. Especially if used in conjunction with wind or solar overcapacity as a means to mitigate intermittency and to curtail curtailment. It would be well suited to point source generation and onsite storage and use.
    Hydrogen in the old gas distribution system is a terrible idea. In addition to Marion’s point, the natural gas pipe system leaks like a sieve. Because hydrogen has such a small molecular weight, it would leak much, much worse. You literally could not keep it in the present pipe system.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Here’s a graphic showing methane leaks in one part of Boston.

      Hydrogen in – hydrogen out everywhere.

    • Larmion

      NREL disagrees:

      ” Though this estimate of gas loss is almost twice the total gas
      loss for systems delivering natural gas only, it is still considered
      economically insignificant. As reference, this theoretical distribution main
      leakage rate (43 million ft3/yr) would be 0.0002% of the 24.13 trillion cubic
      feet of natural gas consumed in 2010 (EIA 2011).

      Furthermore, this calculation likely overestimates actualgas loss because the permeation coefficient taken from the literature is considered larger than those observed in experiments using pipe under actual operating pressures, especially at lower pressures. In general, hydrogen blends would slightly reduce natural gas leakage due to the higher mobility of hydrogen molecules, resulting in a net reduction in the greenhouse gas impact due to leakage.”

      http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/51995.pdf

      Of course, there are a limited number of cases where it would be problematic. Certain areas of the US, mainly on the US East Coast, have much higher than average leakage rates. On a US-wide level, however, the issue seems to be minor.

      • TCFlood

        I wasn’t thinking of the economics of gas loss. As a chemist who worked in the laboratory using H2, nickel carbonyl, PH3, etc. with graduate students for almost 50 years, I would *not* want H2 coming into my neighborhood, let alone my house in the existing NG system.

        Also, I thought the whole point of renewables was to get off of fossil fuels (including NG).

        • Larmion

          I did work with hydrogen too in my time, but that was typically at a concentration significantly higher than the 5 v% proposed here.

          More to the point, there’s something you seem to be forgetting: porosity is a constant. As the NREL study points out, overall gas leakage points does not increase significantly; pores that are now occupied by methane would be clogged up by the smaller hydrogen molecules first.

          You might want to read the safety part of the study. It finds no measurable deterioration in any safety parameter (danger of fire, explosion, undesirable chemical reactions etc) below 20v% and only minor hazards at concentrations of up to 50%.

      • Matt

        Doubling leakage maybe “economically insignificant” but it isn’t environmentally insignificant.

        • eveee

          Or an insignificant safety issue.

        • Larmion

          True. Its environmental benefit certainly isn’t insignificant.

          The study cites experimental studies finding that hydrogen displaces methane in the pores due to its higher mobility. Hence, net methane emissions decrease.

          Given that methane is a very potent GHG whereas hydrogen has an extremely short residence time in our atmosphere, that’s a big win.

        • GraceAdams830

          How about fixing infrastructure to make it stop leaking? We are such slobs that we tend to neglect maintenance and repairs. With methane 30 times as bad a greenhouse gas as CO2, leaks really matter!

          • Bob_Wallace

            Absolutely!

            PG&E, the northern California utility company has been busy fixing their leaks after one of their leaky pipes exploded and killed some people in the San Francisco area. It can be done.

            There are new EPA regulations working their way through the system that should require leaks be found and fixed.

            Here’s a picture of how bad NG leaks are in one part of Boston.

            .

    • Michael G

      FCs have been used for storage for years. That is the dominant use for them right now. They also have a significant share of “material handling” (like 6-ton forklifts) for cos. like BMW (bought 172 last year), and Walmart (1,500 FC forklifts in several sites.) They replace lead-acid batteries in the forklifts. It is still a small industry but growing.

      Making them Green is not a challenge (you can buy a small hydrolyzer on Amazon) so much as getting the cost down. As others pointed out, costs of electricity could go down far enough intermittently to make that practical.

      Commercial FC refueling sites are spread around N. America as seen here:
      https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=z2V7q1oi2b_Q.kHW1nFqlRWI0

      Chart from:
      http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53ab1feee4b0bef0179a1563/t/54638b0fe4b0779fb5aa6ca4/1415809807612/fcto_2013_market_report.pdf:

      • TCFlood

        Yes, we all know the FCs have been in use for quite a while. What has the potential to be new and helpful is laid our it my comment above. Up till now, as you know, essentially all the hydrogen has come from methane steam reformation.

        • GraceAdams830

          Would it be feasible (politically and economically) to make enhanced (bring your own water and frack) geothermal systems a government make work project to keep gas/oil drillers busy and out of mischief harnessing renewable energy rather than aggravating climate change adding to fossil fuel supply?

          • TCFlood

            Hi Grace. My understanding is that EGS is not going so well with regard to drilling in areas where the thermal resource is not particularly close to the surface. They seem to be having trouble drilling the two or three holes they need per site deep enough through the rock they need to penetrate in order to frack and feed water in. In addition, these systems, where they have been deployed, cause the same kind of seismic activity that injection of fracking waste water does.

            I’d be all for having a program that retrained all fossil fuel extraction workers to build and install wind and solar farms. I assume Mitch McConnell is getting right on that.

          • Bob_Wallace

            True. Normal drill bits used for oil wells wear out in the hard rock that needs to be penetrated. It takes a lot of effort to extract and replace the bits when your hole is a mile or two deep. And bits sometimes get stuck in the hard rock.

            So far they’ve tried heating the rock with flames and then blasting it with cold water to fracture it (spallation). They’ve tried laser drills. Not much success to date.

            It may be that wind and solar are going to turn out to be so inexpensive (less than 3 cents per kWh) that it won’t make economic sense to use enhanced geothermal.

          • TCFlood

            Hi Bob. Thanks for the details. Do you have a quick link where I can get that kind of info?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t have links to definitive articles. I’ve followed these technologies via Google alerts over time.

            Google “Potter drilling geothermal” for hot water drilling.

            “Rothenfluh geothermal drilling” for heat and water drilling.

            You should find good general descriptions but note the dates. My alerts have found nothing new on these approaches in a long, long time.

            Here’s one article on Rothenfluh. Note the 2009 date.

            https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090912144809.htm

            One of the oil well drilling companies claimed to have a better bit for geothermal but they soon went silent as well.

            Here’s an article from this site about another approach…

            http://cleantechnica.com/2015/08/13/revolutionizing-geothermal-well-drilling-shooting-projectiles-earth/

            And search for laser drilling with either “laser geothermal drilling” or “Foro”.

          • TCFlood

            Thanks very much.

          • GraceAdams830

            In 2007 MIT published (available on line) Future of Enhanced Geothermal Systems. They were very upbeat and optimistic about it. They thought that with then current technology only enough geothermal to replace 10% of then current electricity demand would be economically feasible. I was hoping that recent technological advances that make oil and gas both cheap and messy, enhanced geothermal systems would also come down in price.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Drilling the holes needed as been a problem. But a company called AltaRock has been able to create fracked (they prefer sheared) fields at three level in an existing geothermal well. They fracked with carbon dioxide rather than the sorts of chemicals used by the fossil fuel industry.

            Fracking creates more rock surface area for the water to come into contact with. More heat per hole.

          • GraceAdams830

            MIT back in 2007 in Future of Enhanced Geothermal Systems mentioned CO2 as fracking fluid as hope for near future. I can’t help thinking that a nice deep geothermal well would be a good place to dispose of used water-based fracking fluid using it once again as fracking fluid, knowing that it will be recirculated many many times over six years or so before the well needs to be drilled down another kilometer and fracked again at the new lower level. I also am well aware of the need for at least two wells for each fracked geothermal field, one in the center to inject fracking fluid and at least one near the edge to bring back injected fracking fluid carrying lots of geothermal heat to run through a heat exchange to heat fluid in secondary loop to run a steam turbine to generate electricity. I read that MIT report cover to cover back in 2010 when I fell in love with geothermal.

          • GraceAdams830

            I guess Congress is in a stingy mood and not interested in subsidizing anything that is not obviously going to pay off in ten to fifteen years. Actually if they use well liners that can stand up to fracking waste, it should be feasible to use fracking waste as the fracking/hydraulic/heat-transfer fluid for geothermal wells. It is usually something radioactive like granite bedrock that they have to drill through to get geothermal resources and even if they used clean water to begin with it would get rather dirty rather quickly being used over and over for the bottom loop of heat-transfer fluid bringing geothermal heat up to where it can be used to generate steam for a steam turbine.

            At best, we could only hope to get somewhere between 15% and 20% of what we generate of electricity now from geothermal. So your idea of retraining oil/gas workers to make and install wind and solar and big energy storage equipment, not only to keep the workers employed, but also to replace most of the energy we now get from oil and gas, ia much needed.

  • Marion Meads

    Hydrogen, compared to natural gas, can make the storage container and pipelines more brittle. It is called hydride embrittlement. Replacing natural gas with hydrogen would destroy the storage and delivery infrastructure. The pipelines right now are brittle from old age, and now they are going to replace it with hydrogen? What were they thinking? More explosions?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_damage

    • Larmion

      Experimental data in Germany and elsewhere suggests limited introduction of hydrogen (in the order of 5 v%) has no discernable effect on the wear and tear of NG burners and transportation infrastructure. For use in CNG vehicles, blends of up to 20% hydrogen have been shown to work well.

      NREL seems to be even more optimistic, suggesting that blends of up to 15% would pose no danger to the natural gas grid (and we all know how bad the shape of America’s grid is). I quote:

      http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/51995.pdf

      We’re going to need a lot of excess renewables to come even remotely close to replacing 5% of current NG consumption.

      Hydrogen embrittlement needs to be seen in its context. Steel is very vunerable during manufacturing, but once the product is finished, you need very long residence times and relatively high concentrations before hydrogen becomes problematic. That would clearly pose an issue in hydrogen cars, but not necessarily in P2G applications.

      • Marion Meads

        I beat you to this way before you posted. You basically copied my reply to others and I used the same reference and you copied it.

        • Larmion

          I only saw your post after I posted mine. We were clearly typing at the same time (it’s a shame timestamps aren’t more accurate on Disqus). Besides, we drew a very different conclusion from the same study.

          “as there are no fuel cell vehicles that accept a mixture of hydrogen gas and natural gas.”

          True. There are however millions upon millions of vehicles that do accept that mixture: CNG cars. Use Google Scholar or Web of Science and look at the first results you get. CNG engines continue to work well with as much as 20% hydrogen in the fuel mix. Performance and efficiency are nearly identical, CO and residual hydrocarbons go down and NOx goes up. And that’s using standard engines; small optimisations to the engine could enable CNG engines to run even better on mixtures.

          Injecting hydrogen into the NG grid is just as expensive as other PowerToX schemes, and currently completely unnecessary. However, it is the most efficient and easiest of those schemes and deserves research attention as a valid way of dealing with infrequent large excesses of electricity on a grid, especially when that (sub)grid is isolated or at best poorly interconnected. Think island nations or remote regions.

          • eveee

            Yes. One reader pointed out that certain pipes desighpned for coal gas are able to handle 59% hydrogen, but those are the exception. In germany, and elsewhere, pipelines would feed heating needs. That would be very useful in german winters.
            This in no way solves the many conundrums of FCEV. But it points toward your conclusion that direct burning my of CNG could be better for transportation. Power to gas might work with methane. Details, details.

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