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Pink Hydrogen - Yea or Nay?

Hydrogen produced from electrolysis using nuclear fuel is dubbed “pink hydrogen”. The EU relies on nuclear energy for about 25% of its energy needs. But these powerplants can't produce electricity as cheaply as renewable sources on strong sunny/windy days. So do you decommission them or keep them?  A new proposal to divert nuclear power during the day to an electrolyzer to produce clean hydrogen, while also capturing the waste heat to further improve efficiency of the process, appears to be a new way to maximise nuclear assets. But the jury is still out - watch this space.

What do you think?

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Jim @ 2021.08.03 8:01 AM

I am curious to know if the methane from coal mines could be used to produce Turquoise Hydrogen?

 The amount exhausted to the atmosphere even by mines with sealed goaf areas, vacuum collection systems and power generation is still a significant waste of energy. Perhaps some R&D in this area would be useful?

Kylie Hargreaves @ 2021.08.03 8:01 AM
Hi Jim - I'm certainly no expert, but theoretically yes. It would all come down to the cost of capture and treatment (methane pyrolysis) . If the pyrolysis is powered by renewable energy, and the carbon produced is captured in solid form (carbon black and re-used/sold) vs released to the atmosphere, then you could have no emission hydrogen.  I suspect it is like everything, technically possible - but the key will be to make it economically viable at scale.  While not exactly re-using fugitive emissions from mining, I did find one company in the USA who is proposing to use methane pyrolysis at a commercial level and chose Nebraska because they are sitting on large amounts of underground methane reserves ( so close enough?!)  -

geoff @ 2021.09.08 1:41 PM

Loved the article and the idea. I have long believed that a hydrogen economy is the way forward, storing chemical energy in hydrogen just makes s lot of sense as do hydrogen fuel cells for EVs 

The notion of using the excess generating capacity of non sustainable power stations to create and subsequently store hydrogen from the electrolysis of water is elegant, as we transition to a purely sustainable energy future, whatever that looks like. It would be interesting to see the economics of batteries vs fuel cells, but my gut feeling is that current battery technology is resource intensive, and potentially an environmental burden if not fully recycled. 
We need to be storing every Joule of energy produced as efficiently as possible and harvesting it from every source, whilst relentlessly striving to make that source completely sustainable, until one day the silver bullet of fusion energy arrives  

Thank you for the thought provoking article  

Kylie Hargreaves @ 2021.09.09 1:41 PM

Hi @geoff - thanks for your kind comments, glad the post was of interest. On your issue of battery sustainability, you might be interested in this post too!



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