DAVID BLACKMON: Another Green Vehicle Pipe Dream Explodes Like The Hindenburg


It would be impossible to estimate the number of stories we’ve seen over the last 30 years loudly proclaiming that hydrogen cars are the real future in the transportation space. And hey, you must admit there is some logic to it, as long as you don’t look too deeply into the problem.

After all, hydrogen is by far the most abundant element in the universe. It is also highly combustible, as the passengers on the Hindenburg found out the hard way in 1937.

Oh, the humanity!

So, it’s everywhere, it’s combustible, what could possibly be the holdup?

Thirty years later, we have discovered that the array of holdups is almost endless, starting with how to source the trillions of dollars in capital that would be needed to build out all the infrastructure that would have to be constructed to facilitate a mass conversion away from gas powered ICE cars. Then, you would need trillions more dollars to convert old factories or build new ones to manufacture billions of cars. Then, you’d probably need trillions more to re-jigger all the global supply chains to move hydrogen all over the world on ships.

It’s a lot of steel, a lot of concrete, a lot of new ships, a lot of new, safer rail cars, a lot of new pipeline infrastructure, none of which currently exists, and at the end of the day, a ruinous amount of money to pay for it all.

Contrary to popular myth, you can’t just start moving hydrogen in existing natural gas pipelines, because the hydrogen molecules are far tinier than methane molecules, and those existing pipelines would leak like thousand-mile-long sieves and blow a whole lot of stuff up if you tried doing that. On top of everything else, most hydrogen exists in nature as part of a compound like methane (CH4), and it takes more energy to separate out the hydrogen molecules than they will ultimately provide.

Bottom line: This is all very hard and complex and requires more money than most companies are willing to even try to source and invest.

And then there’s Shell. Shell is one company that, in response to outside pressures including those from the ESG investor community and even Dutch court decisions, has invested in various hydrogen-related projects in the US and Europe. One location in the US is California, the green virtue-signaling capital of the universe outside of Germany.

Of the 55 hydrogen refueling stations extant in California, Shell had until recently been the operator of seven of them. But it’s a hard business to be in, and recently, Shell’s management finally decided to give up this particular ghost.

As reported by Hydrogen Insight, Shell announced on Feb. 7 that it was permanently closing all seven of its hydrogen stations, citing “supply complications and other external market factors” as the reason.

Supply complications? External market factors? Man, nobody could’ve seen those coming!

“This decision could also reflect a lack of demand,” the story’s author notes. Yet another factor nobody could have foreseen!

The story goes on to note that, in 2022, Shell “closed down all three of its hydrogen filling stations in the UK, with the company and its partner Motive citing a similar focus on serving heavy-duty trucks, which the sites would not be able to accommodate.”

Think about it: How large do you think the markets for hydrogen-fueled 18 wheelers and buses are likely to become, even in the UK or California? Doesn’t it seem likely we will be reading this exact same story a few years from now, only it will be about Shell permanently shutting down its heavy-duty truck stations wherever they exist?

There are practical applications for which hydrogen is a suitable fuel source. The hydrogen hub ExxonMobil is creating to generate power for its Baytown Refinery and other industrial plants outside Houston appears to be a good example.

There are other examples, but none of them would make a pinprick of difference in terms of global greenhouse gas emissions. If EVs are non-viable on a societal scale, hydrogen’s viability in the transportation sector is a tiny fraction of that.

Can we stop this sort of madness and focus on real solutions that really will matter? Please?

Source: Dailycaller.com

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