Elon Musk has a historical past of expressing robust opinions about hydrogen and hydrogen gas cells. A couple of years in the past, when the topic got here up throughout a dialogue with reporters on the Automotive Information World Congress, the electrical car magnate described hydrogen gas cells as “extraordinarily foolish.”
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk has reiterated his skepticism about hydrogen’s position within the deliberate shift to a extra sustainable future, describing it as “essentially the most dumb factor I may presumably think about for power storage.”
Throughout an interview on the Monetary Occasions Way forward for the Automotive summit on Tuesday, Musk was requested if he thought hydrogen had a job to play in accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels.
“No,” he replied. “I actually cannot emphasize this sufficient — the variety of occasions I have been requested about hydrogen, it could be … it is properly over 100 occasions, perhaps 200 occasions,” he mentioned. “It is necessary to know that if you’d like a method of power storage, hydrogen is a foul alternative.”
Increasing on his argument, Musk went on to state that “gigantic tanks” can be required to carry hydrogen in liquid type. If it had been to be saved in gaseous type, “even greater” tanks can be wanted, he mentioned.
Described by the Worldwide Vitality Company as a “versatile power provider,” hydrogen has a various vary of purposes and may be deployed in sectors resembling business and transport.
In 2019, the IEA mentioned hydrogen was “one of many main choices for storing power from renewables and appears promising to be a lowest-cost possibility for storing electrical energy over days, weeks and even months.”
The Paris-based group added that each hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels had been capable of “transport power from renewables over lengthy distances — from areas with considerable photo voltaic and wind assets, resembling Australia or Latin America, to energy-hungry cities 1000’s of kilometres away.”
Musk has a historical past of expressing robust opinions about hydrogen and hydrogen gas cells.
A couple of years in the past, when the topic got here up throughout a dialogue with reporters on the Automotive Information World Congress, the electrical car magnate described hydrogen gas cells as “extraordinarily foolish.”
In June 2020 he tweeted “fuel cells = fool sells,” including in July of that yr: “Hydrogen fool sells make no sense.” Judging by his feedback this week, he stays unconvinced about hydrogen.
“It doesn’t naturally happen on Earth, so that you both have to separate water with electrolysis or crack hydrocarbons,” he informed the Monetary Occasions.
“Once you’re cracking hydrocarbons, you actually have not solved the fossil gas downside, and the effectivity of electrolysis is poor.”
At this time, nearly all of hydrogen manufacturing is predicated on fossil fuels. One other technique of manufacturing contains utilizing electrolysis, with an electrical present splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen.
If the electrical energy used on this course of comes from a renewable supply resembling wind or photo voltaic then some name it inexperienced or renewable hydrogen.
Hydrogen initiatives utilizing electrolysis have attracted curiosity from main firms and enterprise leaders lately, however it might seem Musk will not be a fan.
“The effectivity of electrolysis is … poor,” he informed the Monetary Occasions. “So you actually are spending quite a lot of power to … break up hydrogen and oxygen. Then it’s a must to separate the hydrogen and oxygen and pressurize it — this additionally takes quite a lot of power.”
“And if it’s a must to liquefy … hydrogen, oh my God,” he continued. “The quantity of power required to … make hydrogen and switch it into liquid type is staggering. It’s the most dumb factor that I may presumably think about for power storage.”
Completely different viewpoints
Musk could also be dismissive about hydrogen’s position within the power transition, however different influential voices are somewhat extra optimistic. These embrace Anna Shpitsberg, who’s deputy assistant secretary for power transformation on the U.S. Division of State.
Throughout a current panel dialogue moderated by CNBC’s Hadley Gamble, Shpitsberg referred to as hydrogen “a game-changing expertise that speaks to a wide range of different sources … as a result of it may underpin nuclear, it may underpin fuel, it may underpin renewables, it may clear a superb portion of it and so can CCUS [carbon capture utilization and storage].”
Elsewhere, February noticed Michele DellaVigna, Goldman Sachs’ commodity fairness enterprise unit chief for the EMEA area, spotlight the necessary position he felt it might have going ahead.
“If we wish to go to net-zero we won’t do it simply by renewable energy,” he mentioned.
“We want one thing that takes at present’s position of pure fuel, particularly to handle seasonality and intermittency, and that’s hydrogen,” DellaVigna argued, occurring to explain hydrogen as “a really highly effective molecule.”
The important thing, he mentioned, was to “produce it with out CO2 emissions. And that is why we discuss inexperienced, we discuss blue hydrogen.”
Blue hydrogen refers to hydrogen produced utilizing pure fuel — a fossil gas — with the CO2 emissions generated throughout the course of captured and saved. There was a charged debate across the position blue hydrogen can play within the decarbonization of society.
“Whether or not we do it with electrolysis or we do it with carbon seize, we have to generate hydrogen in a clear means,” DellaVigna mentioned. “And as soon as we’ve it, I feel we’ve an answer that would turn into, sooner or later, no less than 15% of the worldwide power markets which implies it will likely be … over a trillion greenback market each year.”
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