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Yep...hydrogen is what will happen. And l agree with wheels that on a small scale it will probably be with a fuel cell. This is not far away now. 

It is being looked at on a very large scale also...and sadly.." the clever bastards " are pushing it here but not being blatantly up front and saying they want to use coal to make it.. Which is pointless expensive and a missed opportunity.

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My experience last 12 months tells me that is a recipe for disaster.... I had 4x big expensive AGMs fitted to my boat last year by a well known professional marine electrics company and they made

What type of boat are you building?   Money no object,  no question, Lithium titanate for any purpose.   Otherwise for a cruiser/liveaboard Lithium Iron Phosphate or Lead carbon from a reput

8 hours ago, idlerboat said:

It is being looked at on a very large scale also...and sadly.." the clever bastards " are pushing it here but not being blatantly up front and saying they want to use coal to make it.. Which is pointless expensive and a missed opportunity.

I would have thought doing so would be energy hungry as well. But I guess Coal is cheap. There are many different and very efficient ways of producing hydrogen cheaply now.
I don't think there is a downside to turning Coal to Hydrogen, apart from the energy taken to d so. It takes something that produces harmful effects otherwise and causes it to be burned cleanly.

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I can do better than just one.

Catalysts are big in the table right now. About a dozen (that I know of) researchers have variations of Catalysts that very economically divide Oxygen and Hydrogen from water.
Two different researcher (one was actually two universities working in conjunction) were releasing their inventions at ACS.
But due to Covid, ACS was "Virtual" instead. So the discoveries were presented as papers instead.
Instead of using electrical energy to convert water to the two gasses, they use a Photocatalyst. A Catalytic reaction, stripping oxygen away from the Water molecule, leaving the Hydrogen and Oxygen separate from one another. They are two very different variations, but both using a Catalyst.

The University of Oregon have a cool device called a "bipolar membrane electrolyzer".

Korean Institute of Science and Technology have produced a gadget that trips Hydrogen away for Ammonia very economically. The cool thing about this is that Ammonia can be used as the Fuel and the conversion can be done on board the Vehicle, negating the need carry Hydrogen on board the vehicle.

One particular Fuel Cell manufacturer uses Methanol in their Fuel Cell which is converted to hydrogen within the Cell and then Electricity. Also negates the need to carry Hydrogen gas. This unit has been available for some time now.

 The Naval research Lab in the US have produced a Catalyst that converts Seawater to Hydrogen. They have a unit working at 92% efficiency. The idea is to power Vessels from the very stuff they are floating in.
I can go on, but I haven't got the time.

Currently, about 95% of the production of Hydrogen comes from stuff like Coal. That is likely going to continue, because of course, Coal is reduced to produce other things like Tar for Roads etc etc. But as these other ways of producing Hydrogen become realities, these will likely eventually take over.




 

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There are 2 projects at least in NZ for producing Hydrogen. One proposal is to use the excess night generation at Wairakei Geothermal to extract it from water, still high energy component needed but at present there is excess capacity  https://www.hiringa.co.nz/ are heavily involved.

Toyota and Hyundai are into it big time with small fleets being trialed but current refueling facilities can only fill to half the maximum pressure (which is very high) and Ports of Auckland are working on hydrogen fuel vehicles and machinery, too.

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19 hours ago, idlerboat said:

but not being blatantly up front and saying they want to use coal to make it.. Which is pointless expensive and a missed opportunity.

Q - What is a key ingredient when making solar panels?

A - Carbon.

To scrub a silicon atom clean enough to be used in solar they need carbon atoms. As much as they try this that and the other they keep coming back to the most plentiful and cheapest substance to source the carbon required, coal. Then consider it takes one carbon atom to clean one silicon atom and you can see why there are mountains of coal in the back yard of PV manufacturing plants.

Coal is everywhere.

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3 hours ago, wheels said:

But as these other ways of producing Hydrogen become realities, these will likely eventually take over.

I appreciate your optimism, I'm not holding my breath on this one, the catalyst processes are a long way from being a commercial reality.

From someone very close to the hydrogen reality "its about where solar was 25 years ago"

Solar has come a long way but is still debatable as to how clean and green it really is.

There are two hydrogen manufacturing processes used in NZ, that I am aware of currently, and for both of them you would be far better off just using the raw materials / energy input for your energy needs than making the hydrogen to power something.

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10 hours ago, BOIGuy said:

I appreciate your optimism, I'm not holding my breath on this one, the catalyst processes are a long way from being a commercial reality.

(all my comments are of a larger world wide view, not just here in NZ).

There is one thing that pushes technology forward at a fast pace. Competition to be first. And the competition between Hydrogen and Battery is huge with the goal being the first to dominate the market. It's kinda like the old days of VHS and Beta. Sadly the Beta system was far superior, but lost the race. Hopefully hydrogen won't lose this particular battle. 
The problem with Hydrogen is that it it technically challenging, but has the better "Green Footprint". Even if we look at Coal or Oil as the source of the Hydrogen. Reducing Coal to hydrogen is nothing like burning Coal for heating water to make electricity etc. The only current problem is one of efficiency of the process. Give it a little time and it will change for the better and it won't be that far down the track.
      The problem with Batteries is that we are painted into a corner with this technology already. The electricity still has to be produced. The battery has to be made and that is energy heavy and lots of hazardous waste, especially in disposal and it has a very short life. While on that subject, even Solar Panels have a huge toxic waste issue in both manufacture and most especially in disposal of. Hydrogen is far behind in technology at the mo, but it has far better legs under it and it is catching fast. Neither Battery or Solar are efficient and neither of the two have a very good "green footprint.

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