Given the fact that clean water being a more and more scarce resource, it is almost unbelievable that our civilization still couldn’t care less about its contamination. Whether by phytopharmaca or badly managed trash, sewage or manure for instance in North African or Middle Eastern refugee camps inertially augmonting immigration pressure into Europe. Not to mention our own negligence with regards to micro plastics from cheap synthetic fiber textiles or expensive high tech function wears, etc.
We had seen Diesel-Gate after the German Chancellor had lobbied in the US to save German Diesel focussed car makers an implementation of Add-Blue systems. And we all know that Germany’s nuclear exit put its Chanceellor under pressure to give some substitute business to affected industries – and that was namely electrolysis! Hence this technology is primarily a political issue. Of course it is compatible with Transatlantic friendship for a long time going forward. Because it barely goes against crude oil purchase (for Petro-Dollars). And given the lack of water- and energy efficiency in synthetic gas use it neither can seriously threaten America’s shale gas interests. For Germany it maybe a welcome remedy of Renewable Energy installations‘ proliferation triggered by the country’s unique financializable Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff laws. Unfortunately some Upper Austrian coterie succeeded in what seven years ago they justified against our continuous catalytic Carbon Capture for re-Use Hydrogen Technology alternative as the necessary „Anschluss“ with Germany’s electrolysis activities. Eversince public funding is channeled towards collaborations with a specific company in that field, strategically hedged by incredible EU-political measures, effected during Austria’s EU-presidency.
Electrolysis is an impressive black-box Technology conveying a flair of modernity. It’s not really new, though progressed recently to higher output pressures and stable yields through improved materials and production methods. And I myself strongly advocate for its use in local decentral autonomous energy cells. There consumed water can be returned locally within a terrestrial loop and electricity generated in excess of load used for putting Hydrogen into a storage tank like private homes had been using submerged propane tanks for decades. Installing it as a reversible CHP-home HVAC unit equipped with a heat buffer storage it makes perfectly sense for private individuals who deem it worth to invest a mid size car expenditure for it. In times of literally no interest on money savings accounts the saved energy bill for following decades is even a financial incentive. However, for short term storage batteries will always be more efficient, whether fix installed or mobile a grid connected Battery Electric Vehicle [BEV]. Because electric storage efficiency of such Hydrogen systems is just about 1/3 of battery storage systems. In a CHP configuration it of course can be brought up to 75% by setting saved auxiliary heating energy off.
Scaling Hydrogen Electrolysis into large central infrastructures however isn’t necessarily an effective „decarbonization“. Because not re-using terrestrial residues‘ Carbon and Water content chemically disposes them into the atmosphere where we lose anthropogenic control over Nature’s circularity. CO2 irrespective where it comes from depends on open metabolic capacity of the bio-sphere and terrestrially evaporated water is returned by precipitation at 20% only. Therefore not even burning complies with Responsible Use of Resources and Production [SDG12], rather admonishing physical Carbon and Water recovery FIRST. If a region may happen to dispose over lots of excess electricity generation, Carbon Recycling could be geared towards re-use in Acetylen Chemistry by using it at arms’ lenth terms for smelting Calciumcarbide from a ready-mix of Limestone catalyst carrier with chemically vapor deposited Carbon on it as a precursor. Doing so achives a 75% energy storage efficiency and downstream polymerization into plastics for example a 50% retention of Carbon in matter. So why let it go into heaven for additional fresh water consumptioninstead of keeping also the water in a terrestrial closed loop. I don’t think we should scale niche solutions into Tower of Babel concepts and wink potential needs for desalination beyond vital human necessities.