The whole hydrogen thing is very interesting in loads of dimensions. We've debated several of them, above and below the line, in a number of posts over the past several months, this one being quite recent.
For present purposes, some definitions:
- 'Grey' hydrogen is what almost all past and current industrial hydrogen has been: manufactured essentially from unabated fossil fuels, = lots of CO2 as a by-product
- 'Blue' H is currently a fanatsy - manufactured, more-or-less conventionally or with some newer technologies, from natural gas AND with the resultant CO2 sequestered
- 'Green' H is currently uneconomic - manufactured from water by electrolysis: no CO2 at all
- I won't detain you with 'Turquoise' H (sic)
As noted before, the gas industries of the world, petrified by the prospect of asset stranding on an humungous scale, are piling - with deadly serious intent - into hydrogen as their putative saviour, thinking that (a) in many cases it can utilise their existing infrastructure downstream (distribution, storage); (b) it plays readily to their existing engineering skills; (c) everyone loves them for it; (d) in due course there will be some subsidy-dosh on offer; (e) whisper it quietly, but while we are waiting for Green H to become a serious economic proposition, there might be a big role for Blue, or even ...Grey!
Which brings us to Germany, our old friends with the fine words, *noble aspirations*, and demented policies. They are dead keen to be at the forefront of the H-revolution, and are Absolutely Adamant it must be Green H and nothing else. They have also been solemnly told by their scentific advisers (a panel of government and industry types) that there is no way in Hell that there will be economic Green H possible by 2030**. But they don't want to be sitting on the sidelines while the pragmatic Brits get started with Grey (as we are doing already) and Blue. So ... "we may have to import it to get started". Hahahah!
And where might it come from? And might it be, errrr, Grey?
• Germany in talks with Russia over hydrogen imports – but coy about 'colour' (RechargeNews). Germany is in talks about the import of “CO2-neutral” hydrogen from Russia, energy minister Peter Altmaier said during a virtual conference on bilateral relations. The minister was, however, unclear whether discussions concerned imports of green hydrogen produced via electrolysis from renewable electricity, or blue hydrogen from natural gas linked to carbon capture and storage (CCS) from a nation that is already Germany's biggest gas supplier.
Yup, I think we may be sure that'll be a deep shade of Grey. If not, *ahem*, Red ... Did CU mention schadenfreude?
** They may be wrong about that: the technology is really motoring