20 Hydrogen Myths (Whitepaper)

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  • A Whitepaper published by Amory B. Lovins, CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute on 20 June 2003, corrected and updated 17 February 2005
  • Covers various myths about hydrogen utilization, storage, and Hydrogen Economies
  • Most was framed in the debate of Hydrogen versus Gasoline
  • Also heavily focused on Hydrogen Fuel Cell based vehicles, and the efficiency of that system making up for storage inefficiencies (a valid point, and once fuel cells become slightly cheaper/acessable, they are a great option)
  • Supported Decentralized Production of Hydrogen via Electrolysis of Water and Reforming of Hydrocarbons (Mainly Methane Reforming ) for most of the early hydrogen economy, with the addition of new pilepines/systems being developed once demand is made. (Sidenote Hydrogen Pipelines already exist, and Natural Gas Pipelines can use HCNG with little to no modifications, and with some modifications use pure hydrogen gas)

Analysis of Various Quotes

On a estimate (by who?) of hydrogen adoption in the transit sector


"hydrogen would fuel a fourth of the vehicle fleet in the industrialized countries by 2025"


On Their Predictions for Battery Based (Hybrid) Electric Vehicles


Quote 1

"Turning wheels with electric motors has well-known advantages of torque, ruggedness, reliability, simplicity, controllability, quietness, and low cost. Heavy and costly batteries have limited battery-powered electric cars to small niche markets, although the miniature lithium batteries now used in cellphones are severalfold better than the batteries used in electric cars. But California regulators’ initial focus on battery cars had a huge societal value because it greatly advanced electric drivesystems. The only question is where to get the electricity. Hybrid-electric cars now on the market from Honda and Toyota, and soon from virtually all automakers, make the electricity with onboard engine-generators, or recover it from braking. These “hybrid-electric” designs provide all the advantages of electric propulsion without the disadvantages of batteries. Still better will be fuel cells — the most efficient (~50–70% from hydrogen to direct-current electricity), clean, and reliable known way to make electricity from fuel. Nearly all significant automakers now have major fuel-cell car development programs."

Quote 2

"California has largely abandoned its mandate to introduce battery-electric cars because battery technology, as RMI predicted, was overtaken by hybrid technology, which will in turn be trumped by fuel cells. Battery-electric cars are a valid concept for niche markets, but (as Professor P.D. van der Koogh of the Delft University of Technology remarked) are “cars for carryingmainly batteries — but not very far and not very fast, or else they would have to carry even more batteries.” Although batteries’ energy density, life, and cost can be considerably improved, it is still probably easier to make a good fuel cell than a good battery, and the comparative advantage of the technologies that compete with batteries is probably more likely to expand than to shrink."

(need to check how the subsidies etc are in 2020/2019)

On their math behind comparisons to other technology

  • Mainly how most calculations are based off of utilizing fuell cell efficiency vs a HICE setup to offset storage losses etc
  • "...However, the 2–3-fold efficiency advantage of the fuel cell, i.e., less energy expended per mile, compared to a gasoline engine"
  • "A hydrogen-optimized internal-combustion engine can be ~30–50% more efficient than today’s gasoline engines — i.e., about as efficient as a diesel engine, but much cleaner. BMW even hopes to raise the peak fuel-to-output-shaft efficiency of new hydrogen internal-combustion engines to ~50%.Converting existing cars to hydrogen fueling, however, would capture a much smaller efficiency gain. Enthusiasts of such fuel-system retrofits have not convincingly explained how an internal-combustion-engine car could get a decent driving range from the hydrogen without using such a big hydrogen tank as to leave insufficient space for people and cargo."

On the suggestion of using hydrogen fuel cells near term in stationary units

  • " ...in buildings. There, ultra-reliableand digital-quality fuel-cell power, the reuse of “waste” heat for heating and cooling, and competing with delivered electricity (a very costly form of energy154) can make even today’s costly handmade fuel cells cost-effective today if properly sited and used"
    • Need to see how this compares to modern battery systems

Valid Point on the Failure of Urban Planning in The USA on grounds of sustainability and s u b u r b s

  • "In general, the best way to get access to where you want to be is to be there already, via sensible land-use (spatial planning or its market equivalent — American communities would have a lot less sprawl if their governments at all levels didn’t mandate and subsidize it)."

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