Hydrogen hyped as a new greenie energy panacea in Australia

In Australia, the greenie official nominated by the government for the title of "chief scientist" is railing against climate change and hailing a new miracle fuel to make Australia green: hydrogen. 

Left unsaid, it seems that last decade's trendy fuel substitutes to replace carbon compounds, such as solar and wind power, weren't the panaceas they had been touted as.  That's an implicit admission of their inefficiency. 

According to The Australian:

Addressing the National Press Club in Canberra, Dr Finkel declared hydrogen could be Australia's "hero" fuel source to help confront the impacts of climate change and build an industry capable of creating thousands of new jobs.

He warned the only way to meet the country's future energy needs without sacrificing standards of living or undermining the economy was an orderly transition to "clean electricity".

"Let's assume that with solar, wind and natural gas, we will achieve a reliable, low emissions electricity supply. Is this enough? Not really," Dr Finkel said.

"We still need a high-density source of transportable fuel for long distance, heavy duty trucks. We still need an alternative chemical feedstock to make the ammonia used to produce fertilisers. We still need a means to carry clean energy from one continent to another. Enter the hero: hydrogen.

"By producing hydrogen from natural gas or coal, using carbon capture and permanent storage, we can add back two more lanes to our energy highway, ensuring we have four primary energy sources to meet the needs of the future — solar, wind, hydrogen from natural gas, and hydrogen from coal."

Here is the problem.

Declaring hydrogen Australia's "hero future fuel source" is nothing but greenie hype renewing itself.

Here are a few facts on hydrogen production in Australia:

Australia has no gas wells producing hydrogen — every bit of hydrogen we use must be generated by electrolysis of water or manufactured from natural gas or coal.  These processes consume energy, some of which could be recovered by using the hydrogen as a fuel to power cars or generate electricity.  We could use solar or wind energy to generate hydrogen, but then they cannot generate electricity for consumers, industry, and the millions of electric cars our political scientist also supports.

Burning hydrogen fuel is not even a zero-sum energy game — it is a negative-sum game, Dr Finkel.  We can never get back the energy used to make the hydrogen.

And as for using hydrogen as a fuel for long-distance trucks, how does he propose to confine this dangerous, elusive, hard-to-handle, explosive gas without a complete replacement of everything in our massive diesel-powered transport industry, including service stations, fuel lines, tanks, and motors?

It will create jobs, but only while the sucker cash lasts.

Hydrogen is the fuel of the sun, but not a net source of energy for Earth.

In Australia, the greenie official nominated by the government for the title of "chief scientist" is railing against climate change and hailing a new miracle fuel to make Australia green: hydrogen. 

Left unsaid, it seems that last decade's trendy fuel substitutes to replace carbon compounds, such as solar and wind power, weren't the panaceas they had been touted as.  That's an implicit admission of their inefficiency. 

According to The Australian:

Addressing the National Press Club in Canberra, Dr Finkel declared hydrogen could be Australia's "hero" fuel source to help confront the impacts of climate change and build an industry capable of creating thousands of new jobs.

He warned the only way to meet the country's future energy needs without sacrificing standards of living or undermining the economy was an orderly transition to "clean electricity".

"Let's assume that with solar, wind and natural gas, we will achieve a reliable, low emissions electricity supply. Is this enough? Not really," Dr Finkel said.

"We still need a high-density source of transportable fuel for long distance, heavy duty trucks. We still need an alternative chemical feedstock to make the ammonia used to produce fertilisers. We still need a means to carry clean energy from one continent to another. Enter the hero: hydrogen.

"By producing hydrogen from natural gas or coal, using carbon capture and permanent storage, we can add back two more lanes to our energy highway, ensuring we have four primary energy sources to meet the needs of the future — solar, wind, hydrogen from natural gas, and hydrogen from coal."

Here is the problem.

Declaring hydrogen Australia's "hero future fuel source" is nothing but greenie hype renewing itself.

Here are a few facts on hydrogen production in Australia:

Australia has no gas wells producing hydrogen — every bit of hydrogen we use must be generated by electrolysis of water or manufactured from natural gas or coal.  These processes consume energy, some of which could be recovered by using the hydrogen as a fuel to power cars or generate electricity.  We could use solar or wind energy to generate hydrogen, but then they cannot generate electricity for consumers, industry, and the millions of electric cars our political scientist also supports.

Burning hydrogen fuel is not even a zero-sum energy game — it is a negative-sum game, Dr Finkel.  We can never get back the energy used to make the hydrogen.

And as for using hydrogen as a fuel for long-distance trucks, how does he propose to confine this dangerous, elusive, hard-to-handle, explosive gas without a complete replacement of everything in our massive diesel-powered transport industry, including service stations, fuel lines, tanks, and motors?

It will create jobs, but only while the sucker cash lasts.

Hydrogen is the fuel of the sun, but not a net source of energy for Earth.