A good education lasts a lifetime. As a MSc. I like to see numbers and raw data supporting a claim, order-of-magnitude calculations and references, the basic physics. They give me grip and the ability to discriminate clever “spinning” from honest efforts.
One of the questions that has nagged me for some time is the economics of hydrogen. Hydrogen is a carrier of energy, not a source. You have to make hydrogen with electricity (electrolysis
of water) or from syngas
(gasification) or biogas or with another process. The next steps are to compress it, transport it and use it in a fuel cell to create electrical power. For example to power a car.
The technology is there, but does it make sense when you start checking the numbers?
As always, look and ye shall find on the Net, there is someone who has put in the effort.
You can find the detailed assumptions and calculations (and much more) over here
I have summarized and converted the calculation for your benefit. My conclusion: it is definitely in the right ballpark.
Production of hydrogen by windpower and electrolysis, per Kg
- energy costs : Euro 2,87
- electrolyser : Euro 0,51
- facility costs, overhead : Euro 0,20
Hydrogen transport and storage per Kg
- pipelines and storage : Euro 0,30
- compressors and energy : Euro 0,41
- trucking : Euro 0,25
Fueling per Kg
- stations : Euro 0,42
Total per Kg : Euro 4,95
A Toyota FCHV car with hydrogen fuel cells runs approximately 120 km per Kg of hydrogen, according to a real life test.
This adds up to 0,04 Euro per km without taxes. Add 100 % taxes and you end up with Euro 1,27 per 16 km on fuel costs.
It does not answer the question if this is the most effective and efficient method of using windpower, but it has wetted my appetite to dig deeper.