The Expensive Impossibility of Green Hydrogen From Part-Time Wind and Solar

Originally published on Real Clear Energy

There has been some new thinking from the anti-CO2 religionists. The fact that the world is desperately short of lithium and cobalt for electric vehicle batteries, at the scale they want to force, is dawning on them. There isn’t enough and likely will not be enough in the coming decades to meet the electric batteries demand. Certainly not enough for grid scale electric batteries too.

The climate alarmists haven’t let the facts get in the way of their unrealistic green fantasy of averting climate doom with part-time wind and solar. That it could somehow replace all the coal, oil, and natural gas we use, which provide us with 80% of our energy.

Except one huge, huge problem. Wind and solar produce little or no energy 70% of the time.

Reliable, full-time, on demand electricity keeps the heat going and the lights on when it is dark, and the wind is not blowing. The new expensive, impractical, and impossible federal $9.5 billion hydrogen subsidies talking point is wasted spending.

Green hydrogen made from wind and solar is not practical and is a very expensive form of energy storage and transport.

Hydrogen is not a fuel. Hydrogen must be created; it must be made from another energy source, just as electricity must be made from other energy.

No one is making green hydrogen at scale because it is difficult, expensive and requires major factories. Spoiler alert, there isn’t excess “green” energy – wind and solar – to make hydrogen with.

Green hydrogen requires 13 times more water than hydrogen produced. Sea water must be desalinated first for an added cost. More water is needed for cooling. So, it is a good idea to locate hydrogen facilities near abundant water, not in the chronically short of water western U.S.

Then the water must be heated to 2,000 degrees and electrocuted. Then the hydrogen must be super chilled to near absolute zero. Then it’s compressed to 10,000 psi, three times the psi of an average scuba tank. Then you have usable hydrogen- liquid, super- cold, compressed hydrogen. This is an expensive energy-intensive process.

The insurmountable problem with this process is that it cannot be turned on an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset when solar panels provide the electricity. Or turned on when the wind blows and turned off when the wind stops.

Without some other energy storage device to store the “over-produced” wind and solar electricity, making green hydrogen is impossible. The costs of over-building wind and solar, then adding batteries to provide a steady stream of 24/7 electricity to make “green” hydrogen is astronomical. And in 25 years when the wind towers and solar panels wear out, or when the batteries need to be replaced every 10 years, you need to essentially start over.

Green hydrogen sounds good. And there is a well-funded industry of selling it and obscuring the truth. They have to cover up the facts and mislead people in order for the government and investor gravy train to keep them in business.

Don’t fall for the green or the pink hydrogen hype. It just doesn’t make sense. Apply a little common sense and critical thinking and you will join me in opposing this waste of money.

The hydrogen lobby duped congress to provide $9.5 billion for hydrogen hubs. Even red states who know this is a boondoggle are attempting to land this federal largesse.

Because it will create jobs with borrowed taxpayer money. I remind you that the US is $31 trillion in debt, with estimates it will balloon to over $50 trillion over the next decade.

These hydrogen jobs will last only as long as the subsidies do. Then like the Obama U.S. solar revolution, they will go bankrupt.

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Frank Lasee served Wisconsinites as a State Senator and in Governor Scott Walker’s administration. The district he represented had a lot of electricity generation, coal, natural gas, 2 nuclear plants, biogas, biodigesters, wind towers, and now a solar plant. Frank is an expert on energy and environmental issues. His articles have appeared in the Washington Examiner, Washington Post, Real Clear Energy, he has been a guest on TV and radio news. He has spoken to more than 15,000 people in large and small groups. Find more of his work at