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H2 Economy: Hype, Horizon, or Here?

Mark Silverstone's picture
Principal, JMP Services AS

30+ years in Oil & Gas Industry Field of Interest: Environmental issues in general; waste management issues in particular. 

  • Member since 2002
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  • Aug 22, 2020
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Clean-burning hydrogen (H2)—and scenarios for a future ­economy powered by it—is big news at the moment. This is no surprise, given the current environment of low demand for oil, growing unease over greenhouse gas emissions, and projections that post-pandemic stimulus measures could do for hydrogen what stimulus measures after the 2008 financial crisis did for solar power. Oil and gas majors have spent tens of millions of dollars on pilot projects, as have other industrial giants. Germany, which has allocated $10 billion to its nascent hydrogen industry, is one of a growing number of governments whose spending to satisfy climate commitments while restarting their economies could provide a major funding kickstart.

https://pubs.spe.org/en/jpt/jpt-article-detail/?art=7367&utm_source=newsletter-hsenow&utm_medium=email-content&utm_campaign=HSENOW&utm_content=Hydrogen%20Economy&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTnpSaE4yTTBNekUyTVRReCIsInQiOiJ6eFd5d3U0bzJKWFZRVEhMRzFtaDRhc1c4VUZRK0IwUmdoVkhDU0dnd2lvR3BUSkllcCtCMkxjWTRnMVJWd0RPSldKdHZmYUdZUGpvMEhQdGxEaEdcL0JSSTVPMWNFVWRKU2JDcnlWa2doQmF3VnZpZ2N1RzhLNGxUQVAzRnFuWVYifQ%3D%3D

But for the moment, most analysts agree that the future for a hydrogen economy is still uncertain and that the biggest obstacles to scaling will be costs, technology scaleup, and policy.

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Aug 22, 2020

The Hype About Hydrogen: Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate is a book by Joseph J. Romm, an expert on clean energy, advanced vehicles, energy security, and greenhouse gas mitigation [Romm was DOE's Undersecretary of Energy under Bill Clinton].

"Over 200 publications, including Scientific American, Forbes magazine and The New York Times, have cited this book. The book was named one of the best science and technology books of 2004 by Library Journal."

"The thrust of the book is that hydrogen is not economically feasible to use for transportation, nor will its use reduce global warming, because of the cost and greenhouse gases generated during production, the low energy content per volume and weight of the container, the cost of the fuel cells, and the cost of the infrastructure. The author argues that a major effort to introduce hydrogen cars before 2030 would actually undermine efforts to reduce emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide."

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Aug 24, 2020

Germany, which has allocated $10 billion to its nascent hydrogen industry, is one of a growing number of governments whose spending to satisfy climate commitments while restarting their economies could provide a major funding kickstart.

One of the more interesting stories with hydrogen, in my opinion, is the jockeying for different countries to really be the 'winners' of the blossoming opportunities. Germany shows it's betting big, but they are certainly not alone. This is the kind of competition that could benefit everyone in the end, though, if the solutions are successful. 

Mark Silverstone's picture
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