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Charley Rattan's picture
Global Hydrogen Advisor, Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

  • Member since 2019
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  • Feb 18, 2021

Houston, the capital of the oil and gas industry, already is home to 48 plants that extract hydrogen from natural gas, producing 3.6 metric tons of hydrogen a year or more than one-third of U.S. production, used mostly by refineries and industrial plants.


Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 18, 2021

Charley, there's already plenty of elemental hydrogen production for refineries and industry, and there's no reason to make brown hydrogen from methane for transportation. From an environmental standpoint we're better off using methane (or methanol) as a transportation fuel than making brown hydrogen from it.

Or will Shell try to pass off its brown hydrogen as the green kind?

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 18, 2021

In terms of the current situation in Texas, I don't suppose the presence of a hydrogen sector would really have changed much at all in ERCOT, right Charley? I know that's not the point of this article, but it's hard not to look at it with that lens!

Even if stocks of hydrogen fuel were available for hydrogen-to-power in emergencies, I think it would would have provided modest increase in supply towards the necessary demand, and the production, transportation, use of hydrogen fuel very well may have fallen victim to some of the same factors that took natural gas generation and direct gas use offline in Texas this week.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 19, 2021

Matt, the value of hydrogen as an energy fuel has no thermodynamic basis whatsoever. It's a marketing construct - that's all. The benefit? Owners of fuel-cell vehicles can say "my car doesn't emit carbon," unaware that the process of making hydrogen from methane emits 50% more carbon, overall, than simply using methane as a fuel:

"At any pressure, the volumetric energy density of methane gas exceeds that of hydrogen gas by a factor of 3.2 (neglecting non-ideal gas effects). The common liquid energy carriers like methanol, propane and octane (gasoline) surpass liquid hydrogen by factors 1.8 to 3.4, respectively. But at 800 bar or in the liquid state hydrogen must be contained in hi-tech pressure tanks or in cryogenic containers, while the liquid fuels are kept under atmospheric conditions in unsophisticated containers."

That this hype is perpetuated, from an environmental perspective, is criminal.

Even marketing gasoline would be preferable. Used in modern high-compression hybrid cars, it's cleaner than hydrogen - a fact you can expect you'll never see in fuel-cell marketing literature.

Charley Rattan's picture
Thank Charley for the Post!
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