It’s been a while… but H is coming to the forefront, finally.

I’ve been watching the news and digging into the Hydrogen market for a while now – without reporting back what I am seeing unfold. I think now is a good time to revisit the issue of a hydrogen fueled economy and it’s underpinnings and out comes.

First thing’s first: hydrogen generation and sequestration through more efficient chemistry and as a byproduct of harvestable renewable energy sources (wind, solar, geothermal, wave). Let’s take a look at that. Geothermal is the big one for me – while the cost is high, the tech is fundamentally simple, and the infrastructure to make it work is already there at every coal-fired plant in the world. You just need a hole that drills down around 15-20 miles to get it going and you have an endless supply of thermal energy to move steam for power … with no reactor waste products to fuss over. This has the added benefit of being viable almost everywhere on the globe – with the exception of major fault lines where the crust would seal off the wells as the plates overlapping interact and churn. Geothermal heat is comparable to coal heat – that same heat from coal-fired plants drives the Haber Bosch process for ammonia.

As far as having to use Haber Bosch – there are chemistry alternatives that will make ammonia (one of which is the biochemical process animals use to make ammonia-based waste like urea and uric acid) and there are certainly more waiting to be discovered. So sequestering Hydrogen in ammonia, and releasing hydrogen from ammonia are points where industrial and chemical efficiencies can create markets.

As for the use of hydrogen – the combustion cycle or the chemical recombination with oxygen – there are a tremendous amount of new technologies and new engines – along with vehicles – coming forward at present, with considerably more to come in the near future. Toypta is still making exciting and aggressive advances in the technology, and other engine manufacturers are stepping in – from China and South Korea in particular. So the fundamental truth is that Asia is leaning towards hydrogen – whereas the west still seems determined to use batteries and electricity.

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