Shell Is Immediately Closing All Of Its California Hydrogen Stations | The oil giant is one of the big players in hydrogen globally, but even it can't make its operations work here. ( insideevs.com )

Shell Is Immediately Closing All Of Its California Hydrogen Stations | The oil giant is one of the big players in hydrogen globally, but even it can't make its operations work here.::The oil giant is one of the big players in hydrogen globally, but even it can't make its operations work here. All seven of its California stations will close immediately.

Snapz ,

Didn't they just do this to cloud the conversation on alternative fuels and the tech was never really viable? And to like, divert investment that could have otherwise gone to other more promising green technologies?

sebinspace ,

Yes, they can. They just don’t want to.

It’s not hard to see what’s happening here: a company that is almost solely based upon selling petroleum-based fuel put down a few hydrogen stations, then gave up, stating “it’s just not feasible! Look, we tried! Looks like fossil fuels are the future! Oh well, tee hee!”

Very weak tea indeed.

quarterlife ,

All of that coping and seething Toyota's CEO has been doing about electric cars sure does look stupid right now.

Linkerbaan ,
@Linkerbaan@lemmy.world avatar

Did they stop subsidizing Shells greenwashing?

CaptainProton ,

No they've just been subsidizing an inferior technology (batteries might be better if we had room temperature superconductors, plus the hurdles for hydrogen are so much smaller and it doesn't rely on digging hundreds of millions of tons of rare earth metals out of the ground just to replace all the vehicles on the road today)

bwrsandman ,

No, hydrogen just requires processing methane. How superior!

CaptainProton ,

Only cheaper in small volumes, not in every car everywhere volumes.

You can use the same electricity you'd use to charge an electric car to separate water, but basically you're saving the problem of having to deliver that power to every supercharger station at the time of your convenience, which is the biggest hurdle.

I live in the area with the most electric cars of anywhere and our power costs have passed the point where $6/gallon gas in a regular car is actually cheaper per mile than charging a Tesla.

ALL the power infrastructure needs to be replaced to handle multiples higher demand just to keep up.

nadir ,

You can use the same electricity you'd use to charge an electric car to separate water,

With a huge power loss, even if you just look at the hydrogen production and not the transport, storage and maintenance of the specialised facilities necessary to distribute it.

Hydrogen is super inefficient compared to electric vehicles.

bwrsandman ,

The same can be said about transporting and storing hydrogen. You can't just use existing infrastructure. Hydrogen has to be kept under high pressure and it leaks out of most containers since it's the smallest element on the periodic table. Not to mention the energy density per volume (compressed) is much lower than gas.

Making hydrogen through electrolysis is possible and we've all seen it in school but it is pretty inefficient if you compare storing energy in a lithium battery to making hydrogen from fresh water sources. Not to mention liquid hydrogen, after being generated and compressed, must be transported which uses huge amounts of energy.
And even given that, it's pointless to talk about green hydrogen when it's less than 1% of global hydrogen production and even optimistic projections don't show it growing that much in the following decade. It's also old technology meaning there isn't much room for improvement to the process, transportation and storage problems.

Hydrogen production is dominated by the fossil fuel industry because it is much more cost effective to extract it from coal and natural gas. Something like 6% of use of these fossil fuels currently go to hydrogen production.

I'm sorry where you live the power costs are so high. Hopefully things will improve with newer power infrastructure.

Tristaniopsis ,

MAYBE THEY SHOULD FLOAT SOME MORE SHARES?!?!

….

HAH HAHAHAH did you see WHAT I DONE THERE?!!?

“FLOAT”!!!

YOU SEE?!?

HYDROGEN?!?

AAAAAHH-HAHAHAHAJAHA

sugartits ,

You need to get out more mate

Tristaniopsis ,

Hey listen I’ve only just gotten into a potential healing thing with my ex, give me a break.

nexusband , (edited )
@nexusband@lemmy.world avatar

I've been on the hydrogen bandwagon for years, but the fact of the matter is, E-Fuels and HVO Diesel is an actual, viable option now, especially with efficiency reaching ever higher numbers year after year. 5 Years ago, one liter of E-Fuel was around 3-4 Euros (projected), now it's around 80 cents.

There is nothing cheaper than just changing out fossile fuels for sustainable and carbon neutral (maybe even carbon negative, because some company's are already thinking about putting a part of the saved carbon in the ground for long term storage, because it's going to be cheaper with co2 taxes to just put a part of that away for good) stuff and just using existing infrastructure.

The 25-30% of people that are going to be getting EVs are easily buffered with the existing grids.

Geobloke ,

As a petrol head, I'm keen to see e fuel that cheap but haven't seen anything like less than than 1 euro. How much is porche doing it for now?

nexusband ,
@nexusband@lemmy.world avatar

No idea, but HVO100 is around 1,82 Euros per liter where I fuel up and it's considered an "E-Fuel".

Porsche projects around 2 Euros per liter in 2025. By 2025 the fossile fuel prices are expected to be above that due to the co2 taxes.
However, that's not the "final" state of the plant, which is expected to be done by 2028 for 500 Million Liters a year. 2025 is 55 Million liters a year...

Geobloke ,

Isn't the fuel carbon neutral? Or close to it?

jabjoe ,
@jabjoe@feddit.uk avatar

Land use is the issue with e-fuels. It requires land used for food production or nature. Lots and lots of it. It can't scale. It will be just for keep classic ICE cars. Unless it can be done in vertical farms. Or we just keep it simple and use electricity and batteries.

june ,

As two major manufacturers double down on developing hydrogen cell cars.

The complaints about electric infrastructure not being ready for widespread adoption but people championing hydrogen cell just boggles my mind.

daqqad ,

What part of that confuses you? Hydrogen is better for cars VS batteries in every meaningful way in 2024. Long range, quick fill ups, zero harmful emissions, don't need to live in SFH or rely on landlord/HOA to grant you the privilege of charging your car.

Hydrogen cell cars are electric cars that don't rely on severely underdeveloped technology of batteries we have today.

wizardbeard ,
@wizardbeard@lemmy.dbzer0.com avatar

Wait what? How in the fuck could an HOA prevent you from charging your car or installing a charger inside your space? The charger lives inside your garage, so it doesn't effect curbside appearance and isn't within what they can control.

At absolute worst, if you have no garage and street parking, wouldn't you just be running the cord over to your vehicle? Non-commercial charging stations aren't normally weather proof, so that wouldn't be outside, and again, none of their business. If they have an issue with an extension cord running across your lawn, or a cable slightly larger than a hose, then they'd have to make sane rules about how long it can be left out, like not just leaving it plugged in for a whole weekend straight. Otherwise they're making it against the rules for people to use corded yard equipment or use a hose.

I might be missing something here, but I don't see any way an HOA could do anything against it.

daqqad ,

No offense, but your response means you're either the luckiest person in the world and live in a utopian HOA or much more realistically have zero experience with the stupid fucking cancer that is currently infesting more and more properties.

It took me years of paying lawyers and dealing with some of the stupidest and most stubborn people on the planet to try to install a charger near my spot in a shared garage. At my expense and with all requirements met, it was still easier to move than convince those fucking assholes that we're in 2020 and cars use electricity.

No HOA on this planet will let you just run a cord even if you don't consider that this would likely restrict you to level one charging and expose you to power theft.

SkyNTP , (edited )

You're mostly right. But I don't agree on the last part. Hydrogen production can't be done in your backyard. But electricity can (and I forgive you if have no backyard, these next few points may be less relevant if that is the case).

Unlike hydrogen, electricity production is affordable, scalable, and ubiquitous. And that small detail changes the benefits dramatically.

  • The idea of being your own gas station, from the grid, or from your own solar, is really compelling. No one likes being at the mercy of fluctuating energy prices, or, as in this case, unreliable and scarce availability of fuel.
  • Many people don't like going to gas stations (e.g. women and personal safety). Totally doable outside of road trips.
  • If you are generating your own electricity you will need batteries anyway. Might as well put wheels on them: two birds one stone.
  • Even if you don't generate your own power, you still want power security during outage. Since the battery is on wheels, you can drive it to a place that does have power to top up.

Again, I can see that these are less compelling points if you live in a super dense area and utilities and supply chain there are really dependable. But this is hardly the case everywhere.

And then there's the build of the car itself. Honestly, I know nothing about it, but something tells me the simplicity of battery and electric motors makes those cars more practical to build, especially if the battery itself is commoditized as part of a complete electric grid solution.

daqqad ,

Most people in the world cannot put solar panels on their roof today. Even if you exclude all the places people don't own cars I still think my statement will be true.

laurelraven ,

Whether that's true or not, it doesn't invalidate their points

daqqad ,

Yes it does. If you cannot generate electricity at home, all those points are moot.

laurelraven ,

Only if you're looking at it from a purely all-or-nothing view since those infrastructure points will be improved as adoption progresses... And building that infrastructure is just the endpoints for the most part since the electricity is already being delivered, which you seem to continue to ignore or handwave as having to do with adopting the "wrong" tech (which even with your arguments is only the "wrong" tech because of infrastructure, which is a circular argument)

Right now, plenty of people can adopt this and benefit from it. Over time, as it becomes more ubiquitous, it'll make more financial sense for places where people can't put in their own stations to set those up, possibly backed by solar. Which will be far less infrastructure needed than hydrogen stations, hydrogen production facilities, and hydrogen trucks to haul it to the distribution points (stations).

daqqad ,

My argument is it is wrong tech because of current state of development of batteries. Slow charging, low energy capacity, heavy weight, using dangerous chemicals, etc.

I'm one of those people - I have an EV, but I wish I had a hybrid that has a tiny, light battery for ~50 miles of city driving I can charge at home and a proper size hydrogen tank I can use to travel as far as I want.

I stand by my argument that we should have invested heavily in hydrogen cars and infrastructure. Batteries will inevitably make it into cars as their development progresses. They are just not the right tech now.

SupraMario ,

You... actually can.

https://www.airproducts.com/equipment/hydrogen-onsite-generators

Lots of companies make stations like these. Granted they're not cheap.

FlyingSquid ,
@FlyingSquid@lemmy.world avatar

Many people don’t like going to gas stations

Honestly, and I don't want to sound selfish here, but never having to get out at a gas station in the middle of winter again is the biggest draw of an EV for me. Especially since I rarely drive more than about 60 miles.

frezik ,

Hydrogen production can’t be done in your backyard

I can put two electrodes in salt water and run it off an old power brick and generate hydrogen. It's not efficient, industrial hydrogen isn't primarily made that way (it mainly comes from oil instead), and hydrogen has a list of other problems, but it can be done.

Patch ,

The trick isn't making hydrogen, it's capturing it, refining it (so that it isn't mixed with a tonne of air), and compressing it into a pressurised storage tank for later use.

frezik ,

None of that is magic, or even especially expensive. You can do it with stuff available off the shelf to a hobbyist. It'd be a silly way to run cars, but you can do it.

Tattorack ,
@Tattorack@lemmy.world avatar

And where are you gonna get the hydrogen from? You have any idea how power inefficient electrolysis is!?

daqqad ,

Yes. Do you have any idea how much energy we're wasting because nuclear power plants produce way more than we need because they can't scale easily or that most green energy generation is at the time people don't actually need it? Hydrogen is a prefect storage solution for that power.

jabjoe ,
@jabjoe@feddit.uk avatar

It is somewhere to put energy, when you filled the efficient storage. But that doesn't make it good for transport.

frezik ,

Not really. Since grid storage doesn't have the same weight limits as EVs, there are a hundred different viable technologies. Everything from flow batteries, to flywheels, to pumping water uphill. Hydrogen fits in there, but it's not likely to be widespread.

SupraMario ,

https://www.airproducts.com/equipment/hydrogen-onsite-generators

Uhh there are tons of companies making these now. You can literally drop one of these in the middle of nowhere running off solar, pulling hydrogen from the atmosphere.

ExLisper ,

running off solar

Because solar is free?

Guys, we can stop trying to solve climate change, we already have free energy!

SupraMario ,

Are...you suggesting solar isn't free energy?

ExLisper ,

Jesus, of course it's not free. Solar panels are not free, the land you put ten on is not free, construction is not free and the infrastructure needed to supply energy during the nigh (storage or another source of energy) is not free. How is this not obvious?

SupraMario ,

Lol yes because a super charge station is free...and so is the land and the wires and the sub station to get it out in the middle of nowhere... totally more economical to put in a fucking substation for superchargers in the middle of nowhere than to use solar hydrogen lol

ExLisper ,

WTF are you talking about? So solar if free because 'solar hydrogen'? You're not making any sense.

SupraMario ,

Solar energy is free, I'm not the one that's made a claim that it's not. I'm also not the one that has zero understanding on how superchargers work...all of you keep thinking they can just dump one in the middle of rural America and it'll just magically work. You don't seem to understand the huge amount of power draw these things have.

ExLisper ,

You don't seem to understand that the only thing solar energy does for free is to heat the ground which is kind of useless for moving cars,

SupraMario ,

Yes because using solar to generate hydrogen.... totally just heats the ground.

ExLisper ,

Yes, because the hydrogen just appears there. No machinery needed. It just forms pushes cars. For free. Amazing!

SupraMario ,

Yeah cause that's what I've been saying.... totally way to completely be ignorant.

ExLisper ,

Yep, that's what you've been saying. Solar generates hydrogen for free. Just like that. You just park you car in the sun and it moves. Unlike a supercharger which has to be build hydrogen is just there. No buildings needed. Exactly what you said. Word for word.

SupraMario ,

Lol the ignorance from you lot is hilarious.

ExLisper ,

Except it's you that keeps writing stupid shit like "solar is free".

SupraMario ,

Because solar is free, just like wind is free....you all keep equating that because it requires infrastructure that it's not free...this is the dumbest shit ever, it's fucking obvious that it's not free in that sense...

ExLisper ,

Yeah, coal is also free. I just lays there in the ground. It doesn't cost any money to make it. Obviously you need infrastructure to mine it and burn it but other than that it's free. Right?

SupraMario ,

Yes because I forgot how when you build a coal mine it just comes out of the ground without any work at all, and you don't need to ship it anywhere, and we can just put it in the middle of our homes and it produces energy. It's like warcraft mining.

ExLisper ,

Yes, I'm happy you're starting to understand. It's the same as with solar. It just shines on cars and they drive. You don't need to build anything like panels or hydrogen storage or pipes to move it. It's simply free energy. Like coal.

SupraMario ,

Lol

Patch ,

Solar costs whatever it costs to buy, install and maintain a solar PV farm, which is not nothing.

If you're going to build a solar PV farm, you're obviously going to want to sell the power you generate in whatever way is most profitable.

At the moment, it's still magnitudes more profitable to sell solar back to the grid than it is to feed it into an inefficient hydrolysis plant, create a load of hydrogen and oxygen, and then move it by leaky tanker somewhere to sell it.

SupraMario ,

These are designed to be setup and turned into fueling stations, not creating the hydrogen and shipping it elsewhere. You still need substations near superchargers, which requires a lot of power lines to be run. In the middle of nowhere they're pointless to build.

june ,

Sure. All that’s great.

But I’m talking about infrastructure, not technology.

daqqad ,

Infra is result of people jumping on wrong tech. Batteries don't belong in cars in their current state of development.

Kecessa ,

Instead you rely on Shell to provide hydrogen to you when there's no pre-existing infrastructure to deliver it and... Oh, looks like they decided to put an end to it, have fun with your brick on wheels 🤷

daqqad ,

Shell is one of many companies providing hydrogen fuel stations. Infra may not be where it should be, but I blame that on all the people who jumped on battery powered cars at a time battery tech is years of not decades away from being good in vehicles.

laurelraven ,

I'm genuinely curious why you think battery tech is decades away from being good in vehicles when it's working very effectively in vehicles right now and over the last decade. In what way are they ineffective currently when they can have 250+ miles of range now when most people don't put that many miles on their car in a day? And at least for the people who have the option to put a charging station in their home (which is not at all cost prohibitive), refueling is a matter of plugging it in when you get home which takes like fifteen seconds rather than ten to twenty minutes (or more) to stop somewhere along the way? (This is assuming, of course, that there is a station along the way, which likely isn't the case at least right now for hydrogen)

daqqad ,

You keep bringing infra into conversation when I already said it is simply a result of people jumping on wrong tech too early.

Yes, batteries sort of work for some people. I'm one of those people. I still say they are shit because they are only useful in very specific cases like low mileage city driving for people lucky enough to live in SFH with solar panels on the roof. Most people cannot charge at home.

For most people hydrogen is a better choice. I would actually love a hybrid with a small battery for 50 miles or so I can charge at home and hydrogen for 600 mile range.

Kecessa ,

"Most people can't charge at home."

And no one can fill up their tank at home.

Electricity is already reaching all buildings, hydrogen storage and transport is a bitch, you're using electricity to produce it anyway so it still puts as much stress on the grid but in a centralized manner.

The only way hydrogen is a good alternative is for heavy transport.

frezik , (edited )

I recently did the math on this in another thread comparing BEVs to ICE on range. It details the absolute worst case for driving range that I could find with zero gas or charging infrastructure in between. The BEV can actually do it better (in that it gets you closer to the goal under the most stressed conditions) with no further advancements in battery tech.

With only one charging point halfway on this trip, many BEVs would make it fine. Two charging points at a third of the distance each would open up the list very nicely. It looks like there are already high voltage lines near this very route (guessing a little from a map of Canadian lines), so the infrastructure is already most of the way there.

Speaking more generally, outside of this worst case scenario, all we need is more charging infrastructure. A 250-400mi EV would otherwise work fine for the majority of people with little to no new battery tech required. We should take advancements we can get, anyway, but it's not a hard requirement anymore for the average driver.

Original post of mine copied below:


Let’s take the absolute worst case I could find for North America: in Quebec between Matagami and Radisson there is a 620km (390mi) distance between gas stations. This exceeds the range of many ICE cars, but let’s continue. It gets real cold up there, and there’s a few days out of the year where it’s well below 0F. To account for the cold, let’s increase that distance by 40% to get to about 550mi.

There is one EV on the market right now with a 516mi range, the Lucid Air. So it can’t quite make it under the absolute worst case conditions that, even up there, will only happen for portions of the year. Many ICE cars would also fail to make it.

This problem is completely overblown. The 1,994 combined population of those two Canadian towns will have to wait. Literally everyone else in North America will be fine if we just get our charging infrastructure better.

Oh, and ICE cars lose gas mileage in cold weather as well. 15% lower at only 20F. So ICE cars that could barely make that trip under warmer conditions probably couldn’t under the extreme cold of this exceptional situation.

daqqad ,

Right, except you can put several gas cans in your trunk in this extreme scenario.

frezik ,

Green hydrogen--where it's produced entirely using renewable resources--currently costs at least twice as much as producing it from hydrocarbons. Depending on the details, it can be seven times as much. Pink hydrogen--water electrolysis powered by nuclear--is barely much better.

The vast majority of production comes from hydrocarbons. Most of it currently goes to the agricultural industry for making nitrate fertilizer.

This is entirely the petrochemical industry trying to open up a new market before it loses its current biggest one.

daqqad ,

I get it, but cost is irrelevant if it is produced using green power that would otherwise be wasted anyway from overproduction.

hightime ,

Instead you rely on Shell

that's the whole point tho, for them to sell you special fuel, that you can't get yourself, like you could with solar panels. this is more serious threat from fleets of trucks, those companies are already building their solar farms to charge their trucks. that's somewhat catastrophic for companies selling fuel nowadays. of-course they'll push their magic fuel solution, forcefully. who do you think pays the hydrogen shilling campaigns?

jaemo ,

Yes! A clean platform that needs METRIC GIGATONS of carbon positive infrastructure to set up and maintain. That is why I call shenanigans on your zero harmful emissions claim.

VS

We already have wires, and batteries are more than good enough for a vast swath of the everyday commuting public.

daqqad ,

Hydrogen can be generated any time. Like when nuclear or solar or wind energy is otherwise going to waste. We don't have and likely won't have batteries that could replace it for decades.

Modern batteries are absolute shit and definitely not good enough. I think a good indication that batteries are anywhere near useful will be when you can fly on battery power across the Atlantic.

laurelraven ,

Wait, so ... They're nowhere near useful when we can already use them for daily commuting easily because of some arbitrary goalpost for an unrelated transportation method? How does that even make sense?

Infrastructure for hydrogen fueling requires production facilities, trucks to transport, and stations set up, to even start moving one vehicle let alone taking over any percentage of commuter traffic of any significance. EV fueling infrastructure requires... Pretty much the same grid we already have, at least as a functional baseline (yes, it needs improvements, but we're not switching overnight so we have the time we need to make those changes; meanwhile, it's already functional)

daqqad ,

It isn't arbitrary. Just a simplified example of stored energy to weight ratio.

Infra would show up if people didn't jump on wrong tech just like electric charging infra is starting to show up.

laurelraven ,

There's that subjective "wrong tech" again

And again, the wholesale infrastructure needed is what I'm talking about, not the infrastructure availability.

Again: hydrogen requires, at a minimum, production facilities, trucking to distribution nodes, and fueling stations to get the fuel to the consumer.

Electricity... Is already being delivered. It just needs a way to plug in.

This has precisely zero to do with which tech has been "jump[ed] on".

daqqad ,

I'm talking about public infra, not charging at home since most people cannot charge at home. Almost the same amount of infra is required since current capacities are nowhere near sufficient. So it has everything to do with people jumping on wrong tech and money being wasted on useless infra.

frezik ,

We don’t have and likely won’t have batteries that could replace it for decades.

Wrong. There are tons of options for grid storage batteries that are gearing up for mass production right now.

jaemo ,

Ok chief, you know best. Better sit out buying a vehicle until the dust settles then I guess.

Meanwhile, I'll be charging my 'not good enough' EV and trying not to let the fact that it doesn't measure up to your standards weigh to heavily on me.

daqqad ,

I already have an EV and I still think batteries in them are shit. These are not mutually exclusive.

jaemo ,

Hmm is it a leaf perchance? I'm very very happy with the 2020 Ioniq, it's been solid, reliable, and true to its mileage estimate (I actually get 25km more range at 100% than the advertised specs)

I've heard negative stories about Nissan's battery tech - which is why I ask. Air cooling is not really helpful to lithium battery cells.

It's also possible you just got a bad module, and/or that you just have higher standards and expectations than I do, and these are also not mutually exclusive.

daqqad ,

I have an Outlander and I'm also getting more range than advertised specs. My issue with batteries isn't defects in tech, but the stage of its development. There are simply no batteries that can even come close to energy storage capacity of hydrogen and unlike with gas (12-30%), hydrogen's conversion efficiency when using fuel cell is ~60%.

SupraMario ,

They make solar stations that will pull hydrogen right from the atmosphere. What carbon are you talking about...and you do realize the same power that would be used to make hydrogen in your example would also be charging batteries.

jabjoe ,
@jabjoe@feddit.uk avatar

That is a waste of solar. It's more efficient to put in batteries then kinetic. If there is no more batteries to put it in, you transmit the power over wires.

With hydrogen it's wasteful to create from electricity, then wasteful to turn into kinetic. Its wasteful to store as it's the smallest atom so escapes easily, it's low density so needs compressing. Then, to move it, you have to move storage around instead of just transmit over wires.

nekusoul ,
@nekusoul@lemmy.nekusoul.de avatar

Exactly. And just to be clear, because it's annoying me every time people gloss over this, it's not just some percentage points lost in the conversion of energy, it's actually ~75% of the energy that goes to waste, from energy production to the final motion of the wheels. EVs on the other hand only waste ~25% of energy. Even with the wishful thinking that the hydrogen can simply be created in times of energy overproduction, you can't beat a factor of 3.

jabjoe ,
@jabjoe@feddit.uk avatar

Yep. H2 cars are pushed by the ignorant or the corrupt (oil money).

SupraMario ,

Hydrogen is basically free energy though. Using solar to pull it from the atmosphere and then it goes in an ICE motor. Stations like these can supply hydrogen basically anywhere without needing to run wires to it. Providing fuel to ICE powered hydrogen cars.

frezik ,

You know that 75% loss of energy the GP mentioned above? That's for hydrogen fuel cells, not hydrogen ICE. It's even worse for ICE. Why the hell would we do that rather than putting that solar directly on the grid?

SupraMario ,

Because you can drop one of these and fuel hydrogen ice cars in the middle of nowhere. You can't do that with solar and superchargers , they require substations.

Sounds like all of you people live in the city. Figures how ignorant you all are, the USA is massive people don't just live in apartment blocks in walking distance of their jobs and stores.

frezik ,

So hydrogen just appears somewhere? There's no other infrastructure involved?

SupraMario ,

The fuck are you talking about, these micro plants, use solar energy to pull it from the atmosphere. This isn't rocket science....

frezik ,

What hydrogen in the atmosphere?

SupraMario ,

...you do know that water is in the air pretty much everywhere right? And that the H in H2O is... surprise hydrogen...

frezik ,

There is very little water there, and it varies considerably by region. You have to condense it out of the air, which itself takes energy. Then you have to electrolyze it, which also takes a lot of energy. You also can't electrolyze straight water; you'll need a supply of salt.

Once you've worked out all that, why not just feed that power into a regular battery and use that to charge cars? It will be far, far more efficient. Or just build a substation and use the power on the grid.

nekusoul ,
@nekusoul@lemmy.nekusoul.de avatar

It's not free though. There's such a thing called 'opportunity costs': If I have the choice between a 'free candy machine' that spits out one candy every hour, and one that spits out three candies every hour, I know what I'll choose.

I also wasn't aware you ware talking about ICE powered hydrogen cars, where the efficiency is even more comically abysmal.

SupraMario ,

Cool your candy machine requires 10xs the investment and maybe even more because supercharger stations need substations near them. They can't run on a 400amp box.

nekusoul , (edited )
@nekusoul@lemmy.nekusoul.de avatar

It seems to me like you're comparing the costs for building one at the most out there location possible. Putting the questions aside if building anything in such locations would ever be profitable enough for something to be build, or if fast-charging is absolutely necessary: This absolutely isn't true for the majority/average location, where your solution is the one that prohibitively expensive, not to mention that a good chunk of people wouldn't even need a charging station at all when they can charge at home, maybe even using the solar panels already on their roof.

There may be some limited space for hydrogen ICE cars on the market, but it won't be the solution that'll see widespread adoption and support by car manufacturers as long as there's a much cheaper and comfortable solution for 99.9% of people on earth (number made up).

Though if anything, I predict that specialized EVs with swappable batteries (which already exist) that can then be charged slowly with solar will become viable as they're much cheaper and efficient in those areas.

jabjoe ,
@jabjoe@feddit.uk avatar

Right now, it doesn't seam like we energy to waste. Not until all the energy is clean. Also, it's always going to be cheaper to use a lot less energy. Until energy is free, which it isn't even with renewable because of install cost and maintainance cost.

jaemo ,

This is crackpottery and your repeatedly re-posting this assertion without citing anything isn't really supporting your position.

Yes, yes, electrolysis is a thing.

No, it is not free.

FFS if you're going to go for crazy theories why not dream big: here is a potential paint we could research for a few megacredits and buff our science to coat our walls and make hydrogen with. For not free but cheaper than electrolysis.

SupraMario ,

A...waste of solar....internal ICE hydrogen motors is what these would be used for not fuel cell hydrogen.

How are you wasting solar? Lol this makes no sense. These can be stood up anywhere, you cannot use these as super chargers for batteries....

jabjoe ,
@jabjoe@feddit.uk avatar

Look at the efficiency of the energy conversions. It is literally wasting solar.

SupraMario ,

How is it wasted if it completely free energy? You cannot charge up electric cars quickly via solar....hell solar in general isn't super efficient anyways lol

jabjoe ,
@jabjoe@feddit.uk avatar

No energy is free because there is always installation and maintance cost. Lot's of people change their cars off solar. Most of a car's life is sat parked for hours. So slow is fine. My charger has a solar divert function I'm yet to get the solar for. Also, you change a house battery slow and then a car fast from it. Even here in the UK there are people doing it. Not solar all the time, but a lot in summer. House battery changed when your in the office, car overnight from that.

frezik ,

Because you can put that electricity directly into the grid rather than wasting it making hydrogen.

SupraMario ,

Lol that's not the goal, the goal is to charge a car... you're finding a problem to solve that's not even in the same area...

frezik ,

You can use electricity on the grid to charge a car. Not sure if you were aware of that. It's going to be a whole lot more efficient at it than hydrogen.

SupraMario ,

No shit. You know you need a substation to power a supercharger grid...you know how many substations just randomly exist in rural areas to power superchargers? And how expensive they are to build and maintain?

frezik ,

And hydrogen won't get you there. It's much easier to build a substation than the new infrastructure for hydrogen.

SupraMario ,

Lol no it is not, do you know what goes into building a substation? They're expensive and require a lot of upkeep.

frezik ,

And so does your idea; you just haven't thought it through.

SupraMario ,

A solar hydrogen station cost no where near the amount putting in a substation does. I don't even know where you came up with the idea that it does.

frezik ,

Dude, you don't even have a good grasp of how much hydrogen you could make from the atmosphere. Nobody is advocating for doing it that way because it's too much effort for so little gain. I'm not going to take your word on much else.

SupraMario ,
frezik , (edited )

There are very few details on how much they've actually generated on any of these. The MIT one doesn't specify how it's getting the original water at all.

The IEEE one does actually list it out:

Researchers have built a kilowatt-scale pilot plant that can produce both green hydrogen and heat using solar energy. The solar-to-hydrogen plant is the largest constructed to date, and produces about half a kilogram of hydrogen in 8 hours, which amounts to a little over 2 kilowatts of equivalent output power.

Yeah, that's about what I'd expect. You are not going to power cars with this.

The one in the Guardian article seems to be targeting it a as a replacement for natural gas in home heating and cooking, which is a maybe.

wewbull ,

Hydrogen isn't in the atmosphere. The atmosphere is 20.9% oxygen, 70% nitrogen and some trace other gases, none of which are hydrogen.

Hydrogen is produced either by splitting water (the H in H²O) or splitting hydrocarbons like Methane which produces CO² (the carbon part bonding with oxygen from the atmosphere, making that stuff we're trying to cut back on).

That second method is why the fossil fuels companies are so keen on it. Hydrogen can be a repacked form of natural gas.

SupraMario ,

Yes totally forgot how there is no water in our atmosphere...forgot the globe just has water in a few places and humidity doesn't exist...

wewbull ,

Oh yes, that 1% water vapour (on average) that you want 2/3rds of.

Gimme a break. I don't think your machine producing hydrogen "straight out of the atmosphere" is going to be fueling many cars.

Ejh3k ,

Not to mention all the ecological damage mining for battery components does. I'm with you, hydrogen is the way to go

Viper_NZ ,

300kg of battery -> environmental catastrophe

The other 1,500kg of car? Made of unicorn kisses and butterfly dreams.

ExLisper ,

Also, hydrogen grows on trees apparently.

SeaJ ,

A huge portion of our battery materials come from the Atacama Desert. There is no life at all in a lot of it.

You do know that we get most of our hydrogen from burning fossil fuels, right?

Ejh3k ,

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  • Nudding ,

    Unfortunately they're both death sentences. It's either public transport or climate apocalypse.

    Ejh3k ,

    I am well aware we are doomed.

    wewbull ,
    1. No mined precious metals in hydrogen fuel cells, no... None at all.
    2. You know what all fuel cells vehicles also have in them? Batteries, because the fuel cells changes them and the batteries drive the motors.

    Yes, the batteries are smaller, but you also need the fuel cells catalyst. It's not a clear win for the HFC car.

    frezik ,

    Hydrogen is better for cars VS batteries in every meaningful way in 2024.

    Lol, no.

    severely underdeveloped technology of batteries we have today.

    Lol, no.

    JasonDJ , (edited )

    Hydrogen is a great way of storing and transporting energy.

    If we could find more efficient ways of manufacturing hydrogen, it may be very worthwhile as a storage technology for power plants when there is a surplus of energy.

    Or for powering equipment that needs a ton of energy but can’t be tied to the grid…freight ships come to mind.

    But for cars? It was a workable idea when battery technology was terrible. There has been a lot of movement in that area. There’s still environmental and political concerns over lithium…but ultimately i think either lithium will be replaced by something even better, or we’ll find solutions to those concerns, and at this point, the cons of lithium are outweighed by the pros.

    scarabic ,

    I was excited for hydrogen back in the day but it seems like we’ve known for years that it isn’t the way to go. Why is anyone still fucking with it? Do these cars get 2,000 mile range or something?

    june ,

    Yea it’s such a weird direction to go right night. Manufacturing and delivery of hydrogen for fuel cells is complex, expensive, and poses some unique dangers with the temps and pressure of the hydrogen. It’s cleaner, assuming manufacturing of the hydrogen uses green energy, but right now most energy production isn’t green.

    It has its advantages but some pretty big disadvantages too. I don’t think it’s the way to go just yet. Maybe eventually but not today I don’t think.

    echodot ,

    I could see it being used to power ships and aircraft, but it is way too complicated to deal with it for Joe average and his SUV. The stuff has to be at cryogenic temperatures to be usable, do you really want your average idiot dealing with cryogenic liquids when they are absolutely going to spill it on their foot?

    It's too dangerous, you need serious people in hard hats and yellow fluorescent jackets to deal with it safely.

    zurohki ,

    Hydrogen was the future in the 90s, when the alternative was lead acid batteries. Nowadays hydrogen fuel cell cars don't actually top the charts on range, battery EVs have taken the crown.

    Hydrogen promised to be a drop-in replacement for fossil fuels. You still needed big industry to make and distribute it, you still needed filling stations to sell it to end users, you still took your car somewhere to fill it up. Everyone could just keep doing their thing. But it was going to be so expensive to switch over that everyone dragged their heels and kept using fossil fuels, so now we're entering the post-hydrogen car era without it ever arriving.

    If we'd had hydrogen fuel cell cars 30 years ago, today we'd have manufacturers putting bigger batteries and charging plugs on them to make plug-in hybrids and move away from expensive hydrogen.

    GreatAlbatross ,
    @GreatAlbatross@feddit.uk avatar

    I think this highlights it perfectly. The other reason teasing hydrogen was so popular with the established fuel companies, is that it meant we'd still "need" them, because it used similar distribution networks.
    But the other side of their money making systems meant that they didn't move quickly enough, and we may have just moved on past now.

    FlyingSquid ,
    @FlyingSquid@lemmy.world avatar

    You also have to get hydrogen in any significant amount from natural gas wells, which is why Shell was behind it. It was not a true solution.

    hamsterkill ,

    Because batteries suck for any application where weight (ie. energy density) matters. Running long haul semis off batteries is not a super practical thing. Even with consumer cars, there are people for whom hydrogen will be a better fit.

    Basically we've been in a world where the happy medium of energy density and efficiency (gasoline) was used for everything. Now we likely need to split those things up into what energy density is more important for, and what energy efficiency is more important for.

    scarabic ,

    I thought for a long time that aviation might be the application where hydrogen actually wins out. Density-to-weight is crucial. But I don’t see much activity on that front. It has the same problem as all other applications: you’d need the hydrogen infrastructure to be available everywhere. Batteries will always have one benefit: they’re easier to transition to because we already have electricity pretty much everywhere. Electric autos haven’t been overly handicapped by the lack of charging stations because many can just charge at home. Hydrogen aviation would require large regional or even international coordination to ready the fueling infrastructure. And that little issue about the compressed flammable gas keeps nagging… seems like it would make surviving a plane crash even harder.

    hamsterkill ,

    There's a lot of activity on the hydrogen-fueled aviation front.

    https://www.popsci.com/technology/hydrogen-fuel-cell-aircraft-explained/

    The infrastructure issues for planes are way less. You need fuel available at airports, which significantly fewer and farther between than consumers require for cars. Planes (and least of the jet variety) already use specialized fuel they keep available at airports. The phase-in is a lot easier too, since most running planes only travel between a few airports in their route — so you'd only need the hydrogen fuel available at the airports hydrogen planes are using to start.

    There's certainly a lot of challenges to solve there too, but hydrogen remains the most promising solution for decarbonizing air travel.

    scarabic ,

    Yep I saw that story as well but it kind of makes my point: the first flight took until 2023 to happen. Thats not what I call “a lot” of activity.

    You’re succeeding at favorably comparing the infrastructure challenges of hydrogen aviation to the infrastructure challenges of hydrogen for private cars, but that’s not really the bar to meet. All air infra is more consolidated than that of ground transport. The argument works for batteries just as easily.

    hamsterkill ,

    Batteries (currently) are way too heavy for commercial planes. They can be used for the smaller propeller planes, but not for jets.

    I don't know what you were expecting to see to indicate activity. Flight tests are a pretty far along milestone, given the expense and time it takes to make a test plane. That nothing went wrong on the test flight is even more impressive, given that the engineering of using hydrogen in planes is still ongoing (as the article mentions).

    ShepherdPie ,

    I don't understand why people think we have to pick a single solution for all vehicles on the road. We can have BEV and hydrogen at the same time.

    wewbull ,

    It's about infrastructure. You can half-arse two things, or whole-arse one thing.

    redfox ,
    @redfox@infosec.pub avatar

    I agree this is a significant factor. I saw some documentaries talking about the decisions we made with the power grid pros/cons wise when you consider ac/dc. No the band 😋

    We use so much technology that requires direct current that we have at spend a bunch of resources converting it back from ac. The whole efficiency of transportation from large central generation vs smaller local less efficient stations.

    The documentary said some industrial areas in Germany? were considering providing local grid based direct current.

    I'm curious what the cost benefit analysis says about going back to local DC and not needing so many transformers.

    wewbull ,

    A lot of things these days might benefit from a 12vDC rail everywhere, but that's terrible for power transmission. Low volts, high current, fat cables. Not going to work.

    High voltage DC isn't much use to anyone. You'll still need switching power supplies everywhere to step it down. Also, connecting it to a human can be really bad.

    Yes high voltage AC is a bit of a pain, but not sure anything else is better.

    redfox ,
    @redfox@infosec.pub avatar

    I enjoy watching debate about SMRs. Arguments for and against. Back to central generation vs local.

    echodot ,

    We can as long as the infrastructure is built. But hydrogen power cells in cars is a boondoggle.

    If they can make it work then that would be fine but clearly they can't. So we should stop trying to make it a thing and just focus on electrification since we actually know that will work.

    scarabic ,

    Consumers adopt newer technologies more readily when they aren’t holding back waiting to see which of two competing standards will win.

    There are efficiencies to doing things one way versus two ways.

    Plus, if one way is clearly superior, having two only adds unnecessary complexity. If hydrogen was competitive I’d say great - let’s do it all. But on its own merits it just doesn’t hold up versus the alternatives. No ones banning it but why should anyone pursue it?

    ShepherdPie ,

    Seems like the winning standard I'd ICE then as it's worked well for over a hundred years and all the infrastructure is in place. Why should anyone pursue any other option?

    scarabic ,

    Battery electric cars win over ICE because the infrastructure is right in my house. We’ve spent centuries electrifying the world. It’s also greener and cleaner than ICE. And lower maintenance.

    Hydrogen just has a slight density edge. That’s it.

    ShepherdPie ,

    You're arguing that it's the best solution for everyone simply because it's the best solution for you. Hydrogen has a major advantage in that you can just refill the tank in an instant which is a major factor in people's decision not to buy a BEV and a major drawback for people who regularly drive long distances.

    I just find it incredibly ridiculous that people (typically laypeople) think they have all the answers and can make calls on what's the right or wrong decision, how the future will play out, and what the one-size-fits-all solution will be. It's closed-minded and only prevents progress as it limits what's possible. Companies investing in hydrogen with their own money has literally zero impact on you, so why are you arguing against it when it has clear advantages in certain instances? What do you gain?

    scarabic ,

    Your right that my perspective is totally about “me” as long as you consider “me” to be people who have electricity

    Instant battery change is also possible but it hasn’t been valued enough to be a factor. Just like instant fueling hasn’t made hydrogen competitive.

    I assure you my closed minded layperson bullshit is not the thing that’s holding back hydrogen.

    ShepherdPie ,

    Yeah electricity along with a driveway/garage at your owned single family home.

    I can't help but roll my eyes at the assertion that "instant battery charging" is not only feasible but simply being held back because nobody really wants it in a world where almost every person on the planet has at least one battery powered device that they charge daily. I'd love to hear the breakdown on how you can instantly supply 40-100kWh of energy through a wire small enough for a human to hold in their hands and input it into a Li-ion pack without it exploding.

    Your close-minded layperson bullshit is certainly responsible for spreading the exact same FUD about hydrogen as the close-minded right-wing yokels who spread bullshit about BEVs leaving you stranded on the road before trapping you inside the vehicle and burning you alive from a battery fire. All that for what, so you don't have to suffer the terrible fate of choosing more than one option if you ever buy a new car? The horror.

    scarabic , (edited )

    No, fool, read the words. “Instant change.” You can swap batteries. This has been prototyped for car and trucks but just like with phones, it’s fallen away because people get more out of an integrated battery. More capacity and superior overall design options. We could swap car batteries, but instant refill just isn’t worth making sacrifices for. And that’s exactly where hydrogen is: if that’s its only selling point, it’s not goddamn well enough. And no, you don’t have to be a wealthy homeowner like me to charge a car conveniently. Many apartment buildings and workplaces and even retail centers offer charging stations as well. It turns out that people enjoy charging while their car isn’t being used even more than they like spending a couple of minutes gassing up.

    Anyway… you can rail against me but you can’t rail against reality. Hydrogen is a loser. You compare me to conservatards who spread negativity about battery EVs but the difference is, those are flourishing. I’m just commentating on hydrogen’s failure entirely post-facto.

    frezik ,

    We did explore both options over the last 30 years or so. Batteries won for cars. Holding out otherwise at this point is silly.

    Hydrogen might be what ends up powering long haul trucking, but I'd prefer that be replaced by electrified rail, anyway.

    ShepherdPie ,

    Who's "we" here? Seems like major manufacturers are still pouring money into both technologies, meaning nobody but you and these other closed-minded commenters feel that they have everything all figured out and hold all the answers. GM and Honda just announced new investments into hydrogen vehicles as well.

    This line of thinking is why EVs were crushed out of existence long ago until Tesla made them popular again just a few short years ago relatively speaking.

    frezik ,

    Who’s “we” here?

    Public funding for research; in other words, all of us.

    A bunch of companies connected to the oil industry want hydrogen to happen, because the oil industry knows they're the only economical source of hydrogen. Even among them, Toyota is about the only one who was willing to do the full nose dive into the tech, and it's biting them in the ass.

    ShepherdPie ,

    Forgive me but which of these major manufacturers rely on publicly funded research when designing new vehicles?

    Also where's your source for companies like GM, Honda, and Toyota being connected to the oil industry and doing their bidding when it comes to releasing new vehicles? How is it biting them in the ass? Toyota is currently on the forefront of solid state battery tech for BEVs. Perhaps you shouldn't believe every article you read on the internet.

    frezik ,

    Forgive me but which of these major manufacturers rely on publicly funded research when designing new vehicles?

    Public funding tends to go on at universities. Major manufactureres then buy the patents and take the credit.