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European Bank for Reconstruction and Development endorses hydrogen power

Editorial Staff

It's about time someone with weight began to question the wisdom of an all-electric future based on batteries. The EBRD has woken up. Now it needs to kick some others into paying attention. It says that "green hydrogen could power tomorrow's industry."

There's a long article (reference below) which ends "This is a technology that is going to show the EBRD regions in a very good light. The parallel that comes to mind is the Middle East or the North Sea oil wealth of previous generations. This is an opportunity for parts of the EBRD regions that are already developing solar or wind power to become hydrogen-rich too."

Oh, that has the whiff of hot air about it. That's sad because there is a lot of sensible information (let's not get ahead of ourselves and credit it with more than being opinion) and, worse, there is a political dimension "

" Building the necessary green hydrogen production facilities to use this energy potential to the full might be expensive for a low- or middle-income country, but Mr Carraretto comments that oil-producing nations all made similar necessary investments in their time. He is concerned that hot and windy countries should do more than simply export the energy they produce to wealthy nations and regions. They should take full advantage of the domestic development potential that both renewable electricity and green hydrogen production can bring them, he says."

Cristian Carraretto is the EBRD's "hydrogen coordinator" and he's clearly an evangelist. Usually, that would be a cause for concern but wind farms and solar farms have evangelists, too and they are storing up ecological disasters both in sourcing the metals needed for advanced batteries and in the disposal of those.

But he's got a problem: the article says "Today, most hydrogen is still not green but produced from fossil fuels such as coal or gas. Green hydrogen, which today costs 50 per cent more to produce than fossil-fuel hydrogen, so far only accounts for a couple of per cent of global use, currently at around 70 million tonnes a year."

Carretto's problem is that there is so little weight behind a switch to hydrogen at present that to try to press for a second generation version dilutes the essential message that modern battery power is just as bad for the environment as the old lead batteries were in cars but now we are facing not only a materials crisis but a volume crisis, too.

Further Reading

https://www.ebrd.com/news/2021...

Discussion paper: is green hydrogen the sustainable fuel of the future?
https://www.ebrd.com/news/2020...

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