Re: Hydrogen is not the answer
Sounds like a seriously wasteful energy cycle:
Sure, but it's Green! Clean! And thus has excited politicians who see it as a solution to problems they've created. Those are mostly around decarbonisation targets, but the latest EU budget has also decided to go hydrogen.
In the UK, challenges are mostly due to our Climate Change Act, and decarbonising heating, transportation and energy generation. Transportation means banning petrol and diesel, so forcing EVs, or hydrogen burning vehicles. So creates a massive increase in demand for electricity, and H2.
Then there's the silent killer.. Heating. So from 2025 UK homes can't have gas for heating or cooking, and by gas, I mean good'ol methane. That means even more demand for electricity, or an alternative gas, namely hydrogen.
This is not a problem, at least politically. So existing gas appliances can (and must) be converted to burn hydrogen. That can be done in say, 1 hour per device.. But once converted, they can't burn gas again. So can't be used until the supply is switched to hydrogen. So all that would need is to arrange periods where supply is disconnected to an area, and a swarm of engineers do the conversion, then let the hydrogen flow. Simple! A few summers, and it'll be all good. Any properties that are missed will soon be apparent by simply listening for the explosions.
But that's just the price of progress.. H2 being colorless, odorless, explosive and material enhancing is the future.. As long as all the supply infrastructure has H2 compatible pipes, it's all good. Gas supply companies can change their stickers to 'If you smell gas, don't call us' and partner with double glazing companies for when there are gas leaks.
But then there are some other boring little details. So hydrogen has a lower calorific value than methane, so we'll need more of it to get the same effect. Expect gas supply companies to meter by volume, not therm or Btu, if they're not already. It'll cost more though because of the huge costs for decarbonisation.
Then there's the challenge of producing massive quantities of hydrogen. So currently the best way is steam reformation of methane. So as you say, lots of energy needed to convert gas into less efficient hydrogen. And then what to do with the CO2.. Which may not be a problem. There'll be subsidies for hydrogen production, and for CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage), and gas companies have storage. And there are already subsidies for 'Green' energy production, so if you have that, you can probably make more from subsidies than product.
But solar is just one waste of money.. I mean energy source. If there's surplus energy from solar, that could be used for hydrogen production. But that energy would be expensive. Then of course there's wind, so periods where wind blows, but electricity demand isn't there. So wind farmers get 'constraint payment' bungs, but think they could be making hydrogen. But electricity demand is going to increase, so where does the energy for hydrogen production come from?
But TL;DR is EU & UK energy policy is a complete clusterfunk, and consumers are going to pay for Green virtue signalling and will have no effect on the 'climate'.