Renewably generated hydrogen may provide power storage at scales many instances past which even the most important battery methods may attain, writes Mike Koefman; whereas John Ellis says it’s time for joined-up pondering on our future power technique
There is reality in Professor Underwood’s assertion (Letters, 16 May) that nothing can surpass the “spherical journey” effectivity of lithium-ion batteries from, for instance, photo voltaic enter to closing consumer’s output. But in specializing in this undoubted benefit he omits the overriding problem of power storage at very a lot bigger scales. It is that this concern which has pushed the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (not within the “fuel business’s pocket”, by the best way) to take a severe take a look at hydrogen, which was once a considerable part of our former “city fuel”, derived moderately filthily from coal, however which might now might be derived very cleanly from photo voltaic and wind energy, directed via the water-splitting magic of recent electrolytic equipment. Such renewably generated hydrogen may provide power storage at scales many instances past which even the most important battery methods may attain, and will achieve this each within the UK and in various economies all through the world. Batteries will all the time be wanted for particular makes use of, however with a purpose to displace the carbon-laden fossil fuels which now imperil local weather, ocean and the entire biosphere one thing moderately completely different have to be adopted – one thing storable in any respect scales, transmissible, totally purposeful as a gasoline, and climate-neutral. Only hydrogen fills this explicit invoice.
Director, Planet Hydrogen, Manchester
• Professor Underwood accurately asserts that the effectivity of a Li-ion and warmth pump system when it comes to warmth era is much better than electrolysing water to make hydrogen. But the aim of storing hydrogen was, it appears, to easy out the provision of electrical energy from renewables in lifeless intervals, not generate warmth per se. Electricity era is often supplied by generators that are pushed by steam at excessive temperatures. I could also be mistaken, however I assumed warmth pumps didn’t usually attain a lot above 80C and wouldn’t be appropriate for electrical energy era.