Monday, June 7, 2021

Ross Meurant: Simple Solution for Green Environment?

More than 65 countries have already announced that they will achieve carbon neutrality between 2045 and 2060. Greta will be pleased.

How this is going to happen however, ranges from country to country and replacing promises with deeds, may not be as simple applauding a speaker at an Environment Conference.

For the moment I put to the side, the politics of East v West interfering in transmission of environmentally friendly natural gas from Russia to Germany via North Stream under (Baltic) sea pipelines, which America seeks to block in favour of Europe buying more expensive America liquified gas notwithstanding the attendant environmental damage created by shipping this product across the Atlantic. In this article I address alternatives.

Other “Green” energies which might mitigate the damage fossil fuels are claimed to have caused include: nuclear, solar, wind, underwater turbines and hydro dams. And hydrogen.

What is hydrogen?

‘Hydrogen is a clean fuel that, when consumed in a fuel cell, produces only water. Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of domestic resources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind. These qualities make it an attractive fuel option for transportation and electricity generation applications. It can be used in cars, in houses, for portable power, and in many more applications.’ (1)

This definition elevates synergy among the other “Green” options set out in the preceding paragraph. Accordingly, some tout hydrogen as the, “magic bullet”. However, is hydrogen really the simple solution?

Andrew Forrest, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Fortescue Future Industries (Australia), recently held a meeting in Copenhagen with the largest shipbuilding companies, which said that in 2024 they will reduce emissions into the atmosphere by 5%. Five percent means 7 million tonnes of “green” hydrogen that they will have to use. (2)

Five percent reduction in a country (Denmark) aiming to be “Green” by 2050 - which is 140 million tonnes, does suggest as Andrew Forrest implies, that “Green” hydrogen is not the solution or, magic bullet.

Elevation of hydrogen to decarbonize the plant, was a prime topic at St Petersburg International Economic Forum where high cost of hydrogen was identified as a significant consideration. As Patrick Pouyanne, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Total Energies explained:

“Energy evolution is related not to the supply of energy, but to demand. Not just supply. Therefore, demand must be created for hydrogen. Now it is small: 70 million tonnes. These are oil refineries and fertilizers. Why is that? Because it is expensive,” (3)

Stage One Economics: It is demand that creates supply.

And, surprising as it may be to some who think that Russian commerce is still locked in a variation of Muldoon’s version of State Sponsored industries aka pork barrel politics (4), it was up to Alexey Likhachev, Director General, State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom to state:

“It is demand that creates supply. It is impossible to talk about the creation of technologies commercially justified in terms of (Green) revolutions.” (5)


For Denmark to achieve its 2050 “Green” target, they might well reconsider their fealty to American demands to block North Stream environmentally inexpensive natural gas and also, stop listening to Chancellor Merkel’s telephone conversations in tandem with the CIA. (6)

(3) Op Cit.
(5) Op Cit.

Ross Meurant, a graduate in politics both at university and a 9-year term Member of Parliament, was formerly police inspector in charge of Auckland police spies. Currently Honorary consul for an African state, and Trustee and CEO of Russian owned commercial assets in NZ, Ross has international business interests.


DeeM said...

Hydrogen is a bad choice for a future replacement of fossil fuels. To produce hydrogen you can either electrolyse water, which needs huge amounts of power and is only economically viable with a plentiful and very cheap electricity supply. Wind and solar will most certainly not provide that!
Alternatively, you can react methane with steam, the way most hydrogen is currently manufactured. That produces CO2 as a bi-product. You would have to carbon capture and sequester it otherwise the whole system is pointless. There are NO proven and economic methods of CCS currently.
Then there's the energy losses. Producing hydrogen results in only 28% of the original energy input to the process coming out the other end - incredibly wasteful!
Lastly, storing and reticulating hydrogen is a dangerous business. Highly explosive and flammable, the tiny molecules have a bad habit of leaking out of standard reticulation systems.
Like most solutions proposed by the current climate brigade it's best to look at the hard science and engineering facts which usually reveal major flaws and impracticalities - not that these are ever considered!

GERRY said...

DeeM is spot on : the two following equations say it all :-

CH4 + 2 H2O = 4H2 + CO2 ( to make hydrogen from methane and steam )

CH4 + 2O2 = 2 H2O + CO2 ( to burn methane )

So, no saving in carbon dioxide produced and massive energy inefficiency compared to simply burning the hydrocarbon !!!