back to article UK chemicals multinational to build hydrogen 'gigafactory'

UK chemicals multinational Johnson Matthey is set to build a £80 million ($96 million) "gigafactory" in southern England to produce hydrogen fuel cells and electrolysers. The facility, to be built near Royston in Hertfordshire, will be designed to manufacture 3GW of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell components annually …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Given the unexpectedly rapid growth of very-high-speed DC charging there should be no role for hydrogen in road vehicles. It needs to be reserved for the sectors that potentially really need it like steel production and aviation. Whacking hydrogen in a vehicle that can be recharged in under an hour anyway is a false economy in a very similar vein to biofuels. Looks green but you're robbing Peter to pay Paul. That will only change if and when Green Hydrogen is a reality. That'll probably come around the same time as economical carbon capture and cold fusion.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      I can see a role for lorries, but for vans and smaller you're right - DC charging for the relatively small number of long journeys is a better approach than hydrogen - there might even be an intermediate technology, something like Al/Air as a safe and easy "extender" with similar energy efficiency to hydrogen but without the storage/transport issues of hydrogen

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Quick charging

        You might be content to sit around twiddling your thumbs for an hour waiting for a "quick chrage"on occasion. But when you need to do this at inconvenient times of the day, and every day, it soon becomes a major hassle factor and lack of productivity. If you then add in the (no doubt) extortionate costs of (quick) charging at places like motorway service stations, it gets even less appealing.

        EV's need to have lightweight batteries with a range of 600-1000 miles to become practicable for many business. There are vans on the market at the moment, which claim c. 150 miles range, but in real world turn out to be between 40-60, which is just a joke and wouldn't even get the driveer to the first job of the day. Also, the current weight of batteries takes a significant portion of the payload capacity of vans and cars. No point buying a 2800kg van and finding it can only carry 250kg!

        An ICE running on hydrogen could be a possibility if fuel cells turn out to be too much hassle.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Quick charging

          >You might be content to sit around twiddling your thumbs for an hour waiting for a "quick chrage"on occasion.

          EU driver safety rules require 45 minutes unbroken rest time every 4h30 anyway, so this "on occasion" is already largely accounted for. This would require deployment of significant numbers of high voltage DC chargers but this is no different to the enormous amount of infrastructure required to safely transport and handle hazardous, high-pressure compressed hydrogen gas.

          The real difference is in process efficiency. You can rule-of-thumb the generation of "green" hydrogen from electrolysis at something like 75% efficient, followed by 60% efficiency in the fuel cell. It's a double efficiency hit. Every unit of energy put into a battery gets you something like twice as much useful work as when put into a hydrogen fuel cell. We all know how sensitive transit is to raw energy costs. Nobody is going to accept a 2x multiplier on their operations.

          So are batteries bigger? Yep. Are they heavier? Absolutely. Will they take 10-30 mins extra per day of charging time? No doubt. But they are massively cheaper to run and - bear with us here - are actually feasible. We do not produce anywhere near enough hydrogen gas (of whatever colour) to run something like the world's HGV fleets, and 95+% of what we do produce is a near-accidental byproduct of hydrocarbon processing. The economics only works today because "waste" hydrogen is so cheap. They completely break down for anything even remotely "green" or "blue", and neither of those products even really exist today or in the near future. They're a myth. When they do exist we'll probably need them for little things like smelting steel and shipping and aviation.

          Practical, ubiquitous battery-EV HGVs are within touching distance. BYD, Freightliner, Volvo, Tesla and so on all produce or are about to produce 300-mile class vehicles, and much like cars 95% of journeys are for substantially less distance than that (~170mi per day in the US, for example). Range is a solveable problem. If it's not there for your use case yet it will be in five more years, probably before this Hydrogen FC factory is even running in serial production.

          Go back in time five years and you'll find people making these exact argument about battery-EV cars. They'd never get enough range for normal people. What about long distance driving? Hydrogen just "makes sense". Those arguments turned out to be nonsense there and they will here.

          The number of downvotes the OP accrued is absurd. Hydrogen has practically no place in road freight, not unless someone comes up with a smart way to produce 10,000x more of it than we do today with half as many efficiency losses, and gets there (with all the requisite infrastructure) faster than batteries. Or a pantograph network.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Quick charging

            "EU driver safety rules require 45 minutes unbroken rest time every 4h30 anyway, so this "on occasion" is already largely accounted for. "

            Bull. For HGV's over 7.5 tonnes yes.

            For van and car drivers no.

            Dependable 300 mile class goods BEV vehicles? I doubt it within the next 15 years.

            And even if you take the 45 minute HGV break, in a layby at the side of the road, or in the corner of an industrial estate or business park - how and where do you charge up? Drive 20 miles off-route to find a charger and hope that it is not already in use?

            Electric cars still are nonsense for many people, other than as toys for the very well off or fools with more money than sense to act as prototype guinea pigs for the rest of us.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Quick charging

              Aye fair LCVs are a slightly different set of circumstances, but you might want to check some of your numbers there. The first prototype light commercial vehicles are only clocking in at ~250mi range, as measured on the same standards. They're effective battery-hydrogen hybrids derived from the pure-battery EVs launched a couple of years back. They have to do this because today's hydrogen ECs simply don't produce enough power to actually drive the van. In return you gain a couple of hundred kilos of payload and 30 additional miles of range.

              As to the main benefit of refuelling time? 3 minutes, so naturally faster than the ~30 an EV takes (assuming you actually need to refuel "on the road" rather than overnight). Definite win on that front.

              But how long do you think it's going to take you to find a hydrogen fuelling station? There aren't even 100 of them in all of Germany. Barely 25 in France. The UK? Last I checked we had 10. Nobody's doubting hydrogen has some on-paper advantages. The reality is those advantages are nowhere near significant enough to overtake battery EVs, and certainly not if companies are forced to pay the true cost of "green" or "blue" hydrogen, instead of today's rates.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Quick charging

              "And even if you take the 45 minute HGV break, in a layby at the side of the road, or in the corner of an industrial estate or business park - how and where do you charge up? Drive 20 miles off-route to find a charger and hope that it is not already in use?"

              Not to mention the 40-50 or more HGVs commonly seen in motorway services all at the same time which, if EV, will be wanting to use the chargers for at least 30 minutes each during their 45 minute stop-over. There's not even the infrastructure to support all the EV cars at those services, never mind entire fleets of HGVs. That will take many years and much more power generation. I'd like to see it happen, but I don't expect to.

              Just a couple of years ago, it was common to see empty spaces at motorway services charging points. Today, it's not unusual to see people queuing up to use them and that's going to get worse before it gets better. I will grant that it's more unusual to see all the Tesla charge points in use at the same time, but AFAIK, ONLY Tesla drivers can use those charge points.

              1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

                Re: AFAIK, ONLY Tesla drivers can use those charge points.

                Not true.

                One a recent trip to Norway where EV's are everywhere I saw many non Tesla cars charging at Tesla Superchargers. Tesla is opening up their network to all EV's apart from those who use CHAdeMO connectors.

                Then you have companies like Gridserve who are putting in EV Charging hubs with many 350kW chargers.

                Then there is the new site that opened last week in Oxford. Much the same idea.

                Then... the most recent EV's can charge from 10-80% in under 30 minutes. Just enough time for a comfort break and to queue up at a coffee shop.

                The situation at Motorway Services is improving but TBH, I only use the one at JCN 1 on the M6 where there are 24 350kW chargers or the Instavolt side just off the M40 at Banbury.

                Things are improving all the time. I've seen a huge change in Rapid Charger availability since I got an EV in 2019.

                Norway should be used as a great example of how to do this stuff. Almost every village that has a supermarket and a filling station also have at least 2 DC chargers.

                I travelled from Stavanger to Narvik and never saw queues of people waiting to charge on the main roads.

                Yes, we have a lot to do but things are changing. Besides, my new EV can easily go from SW of London to north of Leeds on one charge. 30mins charge and I can get to Perth. I did that very thing in late May.

                1. John Robson Silver badge

                  Re: AFAIK, ONLY Tesla drivers can use those charge points.

                  "Norway should be used as a great example of how to do this stuff. Almost every village that has a supermarket and a filling station also have at least 2 DC chargers."

                  Perhaps more importantly they are mandating that all car parks should at least have the routing for cables to provide AC charging to every spot (they don't yet have to install all the cable, but the routing has to be available). That immediately reduces the dependency on fuel station style charging.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: AFAIK, ONLY Tesla drivers can use those charge points.

                    "Almost every village that has a supermarket and a filling station also have at least 2 DC chargers."

                    Well, great, but as far as I know, there are 6 DC chargers in the small town I live in in Hampshire in the UK. Great, but to make electric vehicles viable here, we need another hundred or so added to publicly accessible places like supermarket car parks, and that's assuming that everyone who can put a slow charger on their own driveway does so, and that the grid can take the strain.

                    The infrastructure needed for electric vehicles is massive, because lots of people *will* want to charge their cars at exactly the same time.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: AFAIK, ONLY Tesla drivers can use those charge points.

                    Norway also has a population not much larger than Ireland, less than 1/10th that of the UK.

              2. John Robson Silver badge

                Re: Quick charging

                Quite a few of the tesla charge stations are now open to all users.

                1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: Quick charging

                  "Quite a few of the tesla charge stations are now open to all users."

                  Thanks. I didn't know that. I don't rectal seeing anything other than Teslas at those charge points and the motorway services I use seem to segregate the Tesla charge points from the other ones so maybe many users don't know that either. I'll keep an eye out for it though.

            3. John Robson Silver badge
              WTF?

              Re: Quick charging

              Whilst regulations don't *require* you to take a break in a smaller vehicle... it's still sensible to do so.

              Taking regular short breaks is a mechanism to reduce fatigue and increase safety, failure to do so should be considered careless driving.

              BEVs are far more effective than you (who I assume is talking from a place of not having one) realise.

              I have an MGZS, it (just about) fits my wheelchair and family, and is pre facelift - so "only" has a range of 174mi range (WLTP), which I normally consider to be about 140, though I have done a trip to my in-laws and back without recharging - that's a touch over 160 (I normally take a five minute "volt and bolt" to leave a little extra wiggle room, but didn't on this occasion).

              But the number of times in a year we use a public charger is so small it can be counted without even resorting to toes - and a couple of those have been destination chargers, so taking exactly zero time out of our day. It makes the six hour journey to my parents about one hour longer, but *much* easier and more relaxing.

              There will be a few travelling salespeople who do silly miles each and every day, but they really are very rare - and that's where something less difficult to handle (like an Al/Air pack) could really come into its own. It's not particularly efficient, but neither is H2. Compared with H2 it's trivial to handle and transport.

              Or of course battery swap stations for those users - who are probably either leasing or fleet users anyway.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: Quick charging

                Thank you and your anecdote is perfectly relevant to 40t HGVs doing a regular run from the Channel ports to a distribution center in Scotland

                1. John Robson Silver badge

                  Re: Quick charging

                  No it isn't particularly relevant to that - but that wasn't the point of the post I replied to.

                  Of course you might ask why the hell that trip isn't being done by train, or even by using a closer port.

                  1. Wellyboot Silver badge

                    Re: Quick charging

                    There would have to be a rail goods yard at the docks and another next to the distribution centre, ideally the container would also have gone cross channel on a rail carriage from a similar setup over the other side, it would remove the majority of HGVs from our roads at stroke.

                    The Victorian system to do just that was ripped out over half a century ago.

                    In the early 1950s road transport was the future. To justify the motorways (symbol of post war progress) that lets us zip along for hundreds of miles bypassing dozens of town centres we needed lots of traffic to (A) keep the factories busy (B) raise the fuel duty to pay* for it and (C) clog up the towns so everyone would demand motorways.

                    * The alternative was paying a s**t tonne of money updating the rail system that was clapped out following WW2, where was that cash going to come from? Cheap option, bin most of the tracks, sell the land, get some cheap diesel locos for bit left.

              2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Quick charging

                "There will be a few travelling salespeople who do silly miles each and every day,"

                I'm not sales, but I do "silly miles" for work most days of the week. I could manage with a 200 miles range. Less would be doable, but adds risks of extra time constraints to the journey. EVs are just about at the stage I could make the switch, but the cost is still a barrier. Unfortunately, the up front costs are still too high at the moment for a decent sized car and leasing, when you get to my annual mileage levels starts to reach silly levels. I don't get paid enough, even with the car allowance and the various schemes on offer. Fuel cost isn't an issue as it's 99% business miles which the company pays for, which means the threshold for economically switching top an EV is quite different for me compared to a high salary earner pootling around 8-10 thousand miles per year. It's quite sad really. All the best deals are aimed at low mileage drivers while those of us who must drive many more miles and contribute much more to pollution, can't afford to switch.

                1. John Robson Silver badge

                  Re: Quick charging

                  Talk to the bean counters, maybe they'll do you a different lease, or a mileage expense instead of just reimbursing fuel expenses.

            4. tojb
              Headmaster

              Re: Quick charging

              "Dependable 300 mile class goods BEV vehicles?"

              My van does 328 km between charges. Weight of a full load doesn't really impact that, the vast majority of cost for motorway driving is spent against wind resistance, not acceleration from standing. Hill climbs are 60%-70% recovered by regenerative breaking on the way down.

              "toys for the very well off or fools with more money than sense"

              I did have to pay a premium, my national government handed me a subsidy however, and with fuel costs the way they are I'm laughing very quickly and comfortably all the way to the bank.

              Charge infrastructure is fine where I live and neighbouring countries, typically on a round trip to Brussels I stop for 30 minutes (max allowed length of stay) on the motorway at a fast-charge station, then fill up from near-empty on domestic mains when I get home. Village centres, supermarket carparks etc have less powerful chargers, placed on the assumption that people will be there for a run round the shops or something, rather than just a coffee in the service station. Price for a full recharge is around 15 euro, more than competitive with petrol. Occasionally you will even find a slow-charger that is provided free by the local council.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Quick charging

            "Practical, ubiquitous battery-EV HGVs are within touching distance."

            Practical, maybe. Ubiquitous? Do we have the raw materials to make them ubiquitous? In this context "materials" includes copper and that's going to be a problem for hydrogen/fuel cell/electric motor systems as well.

            1. Wellyboot Silver badge

              Re: Quick charging

              A lot of metal - Just for the UK, moving to an all electric road fleet (some 30 million vehicles) will require well north of 15,000,000 tonnes of vehicle batteries and I'm erring on the light side with only half a tonne (of much better batteries) per vehicle.

              HGVs may have several tonnes each.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

                1. Neurons for Kryton

                  Re: Quick charging

                  Hydrogen is feasible! Lithium is poised to be the next ecological global pollutant. It's one of those chemicals which is out of sight, out of mind to most individuals. A quick search on the web reveals the massive scale of its pollution effects on the land, water supplies and marine environments in the countries which are currently producing the metal. When electric vehicles start to become a mainstream (and not a niche form as today) of transportation, the problems of its potential systemic pollution effects will be felt everywhere. Hydrogen gas however is relatively easy and clean to produce (especially in the UK- we're surrounded by the stuff - sea water!) And can be distributed by the use of the existing fuel station network - no need to start excavating a humongous series of holes in the road network which already suffers from a form of 'pothole fever' caused by incessant road works. Also remember that hydrogen can generate energy for automotive purposes in 2 major ways - fuel cells and modified IC engines - Top Gear many years ago demonstrated a hydrogen powered Ford Fiesta. Battery powered electric vehicles are just the political flavour of today.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Quick charging

                This is a big number but it's not overwhelmingly huge. Lithium production is projected to go from c. 82,000 tonnes in 2020 to something like 3,000,000 tonnes in 2030, or 37x growth in a decade. At that kind of pace electrification of entire categories of vehicles is an endeavour done in a decade or three. Lithium production will only become more appealing as fossil fuel prices rise.

                For contrast the current global electrolytic production of Hydrogen is about 0.1% of total Hydrogen production. So green hydrogen would have to grow by a factor of a thousand just to replace current dirty hydrogen, and then grow by a further factor of about a thousand to have any hope of being a serious fuel source for transit.

                In the interim H2 prices are also strongly linked to natural gas prices, so Hydrogen vehicles become less and less appealing while EVs get more and more.

                Hydrogen is simply not feasible.

                1. cyberdemon Silver badge
                  Mushroom

                  Re: Quick charging

                  Neither is Lithium. The amount of water needed to mine the current 100k tonnes per year of Lithium is already draining aquifers dry in south america. We don't have enough Copper or Cobalt for all that electrification either.

                  Endless Economic Growth is not feasible.

                  We have to go into a global recession, that is the only thing that is feasible. Standards of living have to plummet very soon or we are all toast. That's why the tory party are so busy making castles for themselves, before they take us back to tudor times and try to ride out the next peasants' revolt.

                  Sadly I think the only thing that might save the planet now, is a massive crash in population due to global thermonuclear war.

                2. Wellyboot Silver badge

                  Re: Quick charging

                  The global vehicle fleet is estimated at around 1.5 billion, that's going to need orders of magnitude more rare earth production, some vehicles may last twenty years but batteries certainly won't, especially in demanding environments.

                  Taking the carbon out of hydro-carbon for fuel usage is very feasible.

          3. R Soul Bronze badge

            Re: Quick charging

            "EU driver safety rules require 45 minutes unbroken rest time"

            I thought we had left the EU, Brexit was done and we'd got rid of all the red tape and regulations from those pesky Brussels bureaucrats.

          4. Clunking Fist

            Re: Quick charging

            Ramsbottom to London 3 hours 30/3 hours 40, 226 miles. Why would I want to stop for an hour? If you want, I can ask the wife to put her knitting drive for a bit if you insist.

    2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      That rapid growth is driven by government favouritism and subsidy. BEV is a technological dead-end, excusing poor efficiencies and low energy density today against the promise of mythical future battery developments that are unlikely to pan out.

      Hydrogen fuel cells, by comparison, use only a fraction of the resources required by BEV, whilst providing comparable energy density to conventional fuels. Were the state not tipping the scales so heavily towards BEV, hydrogen would already be winning. But that's always the case, isn't it? The government picks a winner, then we're saddled with the results for years and decades afterwards.

      1. Binraider Silver badge

        Fuel cells have a lot of upsides for sure. Battery is a relatively quick fix, because it "works" on the existing infrastructure to a fashion, at least in small numbers.

        Scaling up infrastucture to make batteries work for mass consumption, and/or deploying fuel cells meaningfully means lots of new infrastructure; cue usual problems of who pays for it, cost of living crisis, etc.

        As has been pointed out on ample occasions, batteries for everyone in vehicles is problematic for the supply chain to manage because rare-earth mineral use. Fuel cells avoid a lot of that kind of problem.

        But you can bet top dollar that were fuel cells the horse being backed, other sectors would look for ways to attack it.

        1. Chloe Cresswell

          I don't see it as an or answer though. Some things BEVs will be better suited for, some FCEVs,

          Why does it always have to be a 1 winner situation?

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            One winner would be nice. As things are at present they all have problems scaling up.

          2. John Robson Silver badge

            Agree - there isn't a single solution for everything... I don't see the risks and complications of an H2EV being worth the limited benefits for cars/vans - the arithmetic changes for HGVs, they can afford the complexities of storage, and could store *so* much that they'd be able to deal with a relatively weak supply chain.

            For basically any car the issue isn't max single stop range, it's either speed of charge *or* continuous charging for those rare long journeys (maybe a handful each year).

            I'd like to see some battery standardisation, so that you can rent an additional battery occasionally, whether that's Li based, AlAir based, or something else, plug it in and boost range for that trip.

            Maybe have it "spare wheel" sized, since so many cars are doing away with the spare wheel... yes I know that's a variety of sizes, but it's not that many really.

            The one thing that is absolutely clear to me is that direct combustion is a piss poor way to provide motive power - even moving to hydrogen you still generate various nox-ious gases, and the efficiency is substantially worse than fuel cells.

          3. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Replacing the current petrol/diesel distribution system will cost vast sums regardless of the choice between Hydrogen &/or Electric. The argument that we've started with electric so we should/must only carry on with that doesn’t carry much weight when the installed capacity is maybe 1% of requirements come the next decade.

            Hydrogen has the benefit of being a near direct petrol replacement in terms of infrastructure with the major advantage that it can be stored for a fraction of the cost of electric and decouples electrical generation from final power usage. H production only need to keep ahead of the average long term usage which is far lower than peak.

            The lower energy density of H will mean frequent top ups* but they'll only take a couple of mins, on a long trip with small children pulling up behind a car plugged into a charger gives maybe an average twenty(?) min wait before you start the recharge, what would you do if every slot is busy and also has a car waiting. Ideally there'd need to be a lot of car sized outlets in the public car park next to the coffee shops, the total draw could easily exceed 100Mw so some big cables need to be installed leading to a reliable grid (SMR not too far away?).

            As an engineer the high efficiency from pure electric usage^ is very nice, but given that we’ve built and operated a petroleum system that wasted the majority of it’s energy for the last century I don’t see any problems with H being less efficient. If we decide to build the guaranteed generation capacity we need for maximum electric draw then using the spare capacity from the other 23 hours a day to produce H seems a good idea.

            We can go full electric using millions of tonnes of rare earths and a vast grid to move the electric about, or use it to fill H tanks. Either way, we'll need a vast amount of extra generation capacity.

            *it would only need to go as far as battery can manage on a good day and cost the same, consumer

            choice will soon pick a winner.

            ^ from source to motive power at least. I’ve zero details for the system total life efficiency of modern batteries going from ore extraction to waste management, but I’m willing to bet it takes quite an interesting % of total life to outperform a simple(ish) cryo-tank holding H.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              >Hydrogen has the benefit of being a near direct petrol replacement in terms of infrastructure

              This really isn't true. It requires completely different infrastructure in terms of storage, distribution and end-user fueling. You're proposing rebuilding the entire petrol distribution network.

              There's also no getting away from the fact that while Hydrogen cells have good energy density, they have horrendous power density. All current fuel cell vehicles are really battery vehicles with a fuel cell hybrid subsystem, because FCs cannot generate the current necessary to actually move anything heavier than a milk float.

              So it's not an either-or question. It's a one or both. Like petrol-battery hybrids, hydrogen-battery hybrids just don't make sense in anything longer than the very short term.

              It's also worth stressing FCs still require shedloads of rare earths, are very large/heavy, and that we have no prospect of ever building a system capable of producing even a thousandth of the hydrogen we'd need to run a serious fleet of vehicles.

              Hydrogen as an "alternative fuel source" is a scam by the petrochem companies to get you to fluff their dirty hydrogen production with subsidies.

            2. John Robson Silver badge

              Where do you come up with the 1% figure:

              "The argument that we've started with electric so we should/must only carry on with that doesn’t carry much weight when the installed capacity is maybe 1% of requirements come the next decade."

              BEVs are already more than 1% of the UK car fleet, and almost all of the remaining infra already exists, because it uses existing infrastructure. The national grid says "There is definitely enough energy and the grid can cope easily."

              https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/journey-to-net-zero-stories/can-grid-cope-extra-demand-electric-cars

              There will need to be more high speed hubs, and more devices at each one... but we have twenty to thirty years to build that out as the demand increases. If you ban sales of ICE cars today that doesn't mean everything is electric tomorrow.

            3. John Robson Silver badge

              The lower energy density of H will mean frequent top ups* ... *it would only need to go as far as battery can manage on a good day and cost the same, consumer

              Well, I'm not sure - one of the advantages of the battery is that I can choose to never leave home with anything less than a full tank. H2 is back to the petrol station model, but with a harder to handle product.

        2. Martin Gregorie

          Two horses, not just one.

          I've been picking up vibrations for a while now about there not being enough readily exploitable Lithium for the world to go BEV without a lot more virtually zero loss Li battery recycling being in place - which it ain't yet.

          More recently, it seems that somebody's been doing the numbers on the wiring needed to link up all the BEV chargers needed for a 100% BEV world and finding that there's a copper shortfall though, interestingly, there was no mention of aluminium cabling on the national grid and a reasonably careful search failed to say what metal is used for national grid cabling.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: Two horses, not just one.

            Lithium isn't the only available battery technology, it might be the best - but not all vehicles need the best possible battery technology.

            I can see vehicles which are traditionally a "second car" being fitted with alternative battery technologies, or even the choice of technologies at different costs when a car is purchased (or the battery replaced - and given that warranties range between 100 and 150 thousand miles, that's about the time you'd normally replace an engine anyway)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        H2 is a problem

        simply because of the size of an Hydrogen atom. H2 will find a leak. It is also very energy light. 1kg of H2 has far less energy in it than something like Ammonia which is IMHO a more viable alternative to H2.

        Then there is the fact that most H2 at the current time comes from Fossil Fuels. The energy required to extract it is huge which makes your statement a tad dubious.

        Most of my EV's energy at this time of the year comes from my Solar panels.

      3. imanidiot Silver badge

        FCEVs are basically BEVs with added steps. They need enough battery buffer to keep the fuel cell ticking along because it's impossible to have a fuel cell deliver enough current for acceleration and then also throttle it far enough for normal cruising or start/stop traffic. FCEVs are not simpler or less resource intensive than BEVs. Their ONLY advantage is that they can charge independently of an external charger and be refueled faster.

        Hydrogen is shit. It's energy density is shit, it's production efficiency (no matter the method) is shit, it's storage efficiency is shit (because it'll leak, no matter what you put it in, so you'll lose up to a few percent per day), it's conversion efficiency is shit and it's safety is shit. BEVs aren't winning just because of subsidies, they are winning because they are the better solution in most situations.

        There might be niches or applications where FCEVs can work, but certainly consumer motor vehicles aren't it.

        1. ExiledChris

          Not sure how many more wrong statements you can get in a comment. I actually have a FCEV, mainly due to subsidies, but your FUD is ridiculous.

          1kg of hydrogen has the three times the energy content as one kg of petrol, for starters. I get 60 miles per KG, so with a 6.6kg tank, range is comfortably 350 miles.

          There's no leaks, don't know where your "several percentage a day" comes from, that's completely false

          Conversion efficiency is 2x an ICE in terms of energy content to wheels - it is a lot less than electricity/battery, though

          Here in CA, pretty much all of the hydrogen used in FCEVs comes from cow shit via anaerobic digestion into methane, then reformed- there are some carbon emissions from that, and I'm not sure if just burning the CH4 would be more efficient

          Someone else said FCEVs are fuel cell hybrids - true to a limited extent, the FC in mine produces 2/3rds of the electrical power at max output, 1/3rd from the battery, and there is some (limited) braking regen which helps range

          I'm in an older high rise, there's not enough supply to the building to charge electric vehicles, so fuel cells make sense.

          As someone else said, it's more of a mix - FCs make sense for HGVs and construction equipment, but ICE using hydrogen is probably a better/cheaper short term option. Batteries are a non-starter for HGVs at the moment

          Oh, and I get about 60,000 miles of free hydrogen, as well as $12.5k tax subsidies, so it's way cheaper than a BEV for me.

          1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

            @ExiledChris

            Good post, thank you for real world experiences of FCEV. They are very rare in the UK so far.

            "FCs make sense for HGVs and construction equipment,"

            Vibration and dust are problems for fuel cells in construction equipment. There's an interesting Fully Charged episode about work JCB have done, they investing heavily in hydrogen ICE instead.

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: @ExiledChris

              How many of those vibrations are currently caused by the dirty great deisels in the equipment?

              I wonder if they'd be happier with batteries and an on site fuel cell powered charging station?

          2. imanidiot Silver badge
            FAIL

            Per KG yes, hydrogen is more energy dense. By volume, energy density of hydrogen is shit. Your 6.6 kg tank doesn't actually weigh 6.6 kg. Probably closer to triple that (in other words, similar to the average gas tank, which will give you more range for that volume and weight)

            The several percent per day is the accepted ratio in industrial processes, might be lower for newer vehicles but that'll get worse as maintenance is performed and seals degrade with age. It's hydrogen, it'll leak. perhaps not yet enough for you to notice.

            The problem with hydrogen isn't even so much in the generation of the hydrogen (even though that's shit too until we have massive excess of green energy which will probably never happen), it's in the fact it needs to be compressed so much for storage which takes massive amounts of energy that is just thrown away.

            I work as an engineer with machinery using (low pressure) hydrogen, the amount of safety precautions are numerous and painstaking. I simply don't see hydrogen as a safe and widely applicable power source for domestic use. I'll trust the average 200 pound gorilla to work on a gasoline powered vehicle. At worst they might torch themselves but the damage will be relatively contained. Pure hydrogen gas is a whole different beast. A simple leak in a parking garage because someone decided a gasket could be re-used or a hair on a sealing surface has the potential to be absolutely devastating and could easily kill a lot of people. Hydrogen ignites extremely easily and even the tiniest leaks can sustain a fire. Hydrogen fires are nearly invisible, extremely hot and hydrogen will explode in an extremely wide band of mixture levels in air. Too low or too high concentrations can still result in a detonation due to a conflagration causing turbulent mixing of the gasses. While in open air that's not a big problem (hydrogen will just float away and disperse) but in an enclosed space or even just a parking structure where there's a roof and pockets for hydrogen to collect... I'll stay far away. This is all complicated by the fact we don't have an odorant that can be added to the gas to make a leak detectable that doesn't destroy or interfere with the fuel cell (the sulfides used for LNG won't work). Hydrogen gas is colorless and odorless so a small leak is basically impossible to detect without this unless someone notices the tank level dropping unusually fast.

            "Oh, and I get about 60,000 miles of free hydrogen, as well as $12.5k tax subsidies, so it's way cheaper than a BEV for me.

            good for you, but beside the point. Would you still buy and drive an FCEV over a BEV if you DIDN'T get these subsidies?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Just a comment to support the safety issue:

              Hydrogen has a much broader range of concentration at which it will ignite than other gaseous fuels, and will be ignited by a much smaller spark as well. Depending on concentration, a stronger ignition source might be required for detonation rather than simple ignition, but it does detonate properly! For example, a power generation unit in South Africa was recently destroyed by a hydrogen explosion - hydrogen is meant to be fully purged from the closed system with CO2 before introducing air to allow maintenance; air was introduced before the hydrogen was purged, and it detonated, completely destroying the generator.

      4. Chz

        Under which laws of thermodynamics are BEVs less efficient than H2 fuel cells?

        You can have:

        Sunlight --> solar cells --> electricity --> electrolysis --> wet, impure hydrogen --> purification --> dewatering --> compression --> storage --> transportation --> fuel cell --> electricity --> travel

        or

        Sunlight --> solar cells --> electricity --> power grid --> batteries --> electricity --> travel

        All those conversion losses look even worse if your power source isn't green.

    3. andy gibson

      I realise that we're all going to have to change our ways and adapt to fit around EVs.

      But I thought the whole point of personal transport was to make it convenient and effortless.

      We seem to be doing the opposite to suit the EV.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Why should your transport be effortless but cost other's their life?

        There is precious little adapting required to use an EV.

        1. Binraider Silver badge

          1st point: yes.

          2nd point: No. EV or fuel cell for all requires massive investment in system change - supply, transport, distribution and end point. Small numbers of users isn't a big deal, but dealing with 10M+ vehicles is another matter entirely. Existing networks won't be able to take that much on all four areas.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Whilst there is an increase in supply of various materials needed - the people who actually run the country's electrical infrastructure are very confident that the load is sustainable.

            30M vehicles, 4mi/kWh, 20mi/day... that makes about 6GW of generation to find, on a grid that averages 30GW, and peaks at 47GW (with spare capacity even then).

            With the notable additional factor that cars can easily act as load balancing batteries, particularly with newer evse and vehicles being v2g capable. And 30M EVs, even if you only "allocate" 10kWh of the ~50kWh pack as v2g available is still a 300GWh battery - 250 times the current largest operating grid scale battery - and enough to run the entire country for ten hours without *any* other generation at all.

            So there will be some which can't be plugged in most of the time, and there will be a couple of "low" availability points during the day - but even so that's a colossal battery.

    4. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      My current plan is to walk more or cycle more. If you care about the environment you should be doing the same (For me its more I need the exercise anyway).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If the same care and attention was given to cycle paths as motorways, yes.

        That is sadly not the case everywhere.

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

          Most cyclists wouldn't use dedicated cycle paths if next to the road, certainly the case north of London. Its a waste of money in my view just like bus lanes.

          Myself I'm lucky the parkland has cyclepaths to the train station both directions.

          1. Binraider Silver badge

            If the dedicated cycle route is worse than the road, this is to be expected.

            On the road you (legally) have right of way whereas on the gutter path you are probably stopping for every single intersection with the road. This isn't a big deal for 200 yards round the corner, but if doing 5-10 miles the road soon becomes preferable.

            I remain envious of Dutch roads and urban design, but we just aren't prepared to tear up towns to reinvent them to the extent truly needed. And so the melee between bikes and Cars will continue.

            1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

              North of London so they are silky smooth, where as the roads I drive on in my car pot holed to hell.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Copper

      The problem with battery tech is you are back to the good old days of mining raw materials out of the planet, not just for the batteries but for the power networks.

      Also one other problem - There is not enough copper in the WORLD to even just supply the UK's demand

    6. Cederic Silver badge

      Under an hour? To be able to continue a journey in a serious fire hazard that weighs too much and damages the road and its tyres as a result?

      Hydrogen keeps you moving, and causes less pollution, and doesn't need more electricity than the current national supply, and lets us use so-called 'green' energy when the supply exceeds demand, and lets us more easily transport solar energy from sunny regions.

      Electric cars do not scale to the whole population. Anybody promoting them is either ignorant or actively seeking to curtail freedom of movement. We don't all live in a city centre with our jobs next door and easy access to a range of cultural and entertainment options.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Serious fire hazard? As opposed to either hydrocarbon based cars (which catch fire so often it's not even local news), or hydrogen based vehicles?

        Hydrogen takes about three times as much energy, since production, transport and usage is so inefficient.

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          https://www.theregister.com/2022/06/23/tesla_model_s_explodes_after/

          I call that a serious fire hazard.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It's never the fuel tank that causes a ICE car to burst into flame. Usually poor maintenance or an electrical problem, neither of which is mitigated by having an electric car.

          Meanwhile, BEVs regularly suffer spontaneous combustion of the battery when charging, discharging, or just sitting still and unused, to the point that manufacturers recommend you store them outside, just in case.

    7. StephenTompsett

      Progress?

      Ultrafast chargin is going to require it's own infrastructure. Just how many MW for such chrgin are going to be available via the grid without serious upgrades? ant it's only going to be available/economical in busy locations, bad luck if you are in a rural area or at the edges of the country...

      Chemical energy is easily transported - LPG was rolled out across the country without major national infrastructure upgrades being required.

      1. Spazturtle

        Re: Progress?

        You don't even really need to transport hydrogen, if we blend hydrogen into our gas network as we are planning then the petrol stations can just refill their tanks from the gas mains by fitting a filter that only allows hydrogen through.

    8. Clunking Fist

      Hello from London and similar

      Unless you have space to store (and hence charge) your EV on your own property, you will not be keen on EV, rapid charge or not.

  2. x 7

    Considering that their exhaust catalyst business is about to go totally tits up (TTU), finding another entry into the vehicle market makes a lot of sense.

    My guess though is it will only be cost effective for heavy / commercial vehicles i.e. trucks, vans, rail locomotives

  3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Really that bad?

    Getting backed by the UK government is not an indicator for potential profit. At least this is cheaper than OneWeb ... so far.

  4. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

    Bet

    Our Westminster Clown Collective will swallow the 'alternative facts' about blue hydrogen being clean and go with that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bet

      Grey/Blue hydrogen is such a farce. No green credentials whatsoever in either of those fields, and in fact, delivering the same quantity of useful work done probably needs more energy by that route.

      Green hydrogen is one of those things that could work, but broadly requires an excess of wind and/or nuke to make sense.

      Our friends in the pro-oil camp don't particularly want the competition so they will no doubt kick up a fuss about offshore wind being ineffective; yada yada heard it all before.

      What it really boils down to is taxation and economics. Tax dirty areas and use the proceeds to fund the development work needed to get the alternatives up and running.

      The bit people miss is that there are so many middlemen squabbling over the moolah, how much actually gets to the projects it's meant to support? A bit of central planning would go a long way. Rather than this farce of free-market illusion which is in reality an oligarchy playing games to print themselves cash.

      In meantime we'll enjoy energy bills more or less tripling for the forseeable future, and unfortunately, digging one's self out of that hole either means supporting Poo-tin's "cheap" exports, borrowing a lot of money, or taxing a lot of money.

      I am under no illusion that current leadership will basically do nothing that puts their own positions at further risk, so we can expect no real progress until we change the nappy that is well and truly full at this point.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Bet

        Either on or offshore wind is ineffective.

        Look at the existing output.https://gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ You can see the past years worth of demand and generation in the bottom left corner.

        We have over 25GW worth of wind turbines installed, and wind turbines have generate perhaps half that at their peak and have month long troughs where they generate <5GW.

        As a strategy Wind turbines simply means that we rely upon gas as primary generation, with wind used as a load reduction measure when the wind is blowing. Even if you increased the number of wind turbines by a factor of ten at a ruinous cost to the people actually paying for the electricity then this is not going to change that, and any fool with a calculator can easily figure out the requirement for energy storage and do a rough ballpark as to the costs based on a UPS and come to the conclusion that grid scale battery storage would cost around 100 billion quid to be able to output 1GW for 24 hours; where the actual requirement is at least ten times that; ie ~2 trillion quid.

        Battery storage is around a thousand times more expensive than it needs to be to be economically viable; and if we plan on meeting targets then we need to be deploying things that exist now, not hoping for magical technology that doesn't even work in the lab will save us.

        Wind turbines only exist as power generation because they get ~£9 billion quid a year subsidies and if these subsidies ceased so would the wind generation industry in the UK.

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Bet

          Yes, why do you think that gas companies like Shell invest heavily in wind and solar to boost their fig-leaf credentials, while throwing mud at sensible alternatives such as Nuclear for decades..

          Wind exists to create volatility, and volatility is incredibly profitable, especially if you're the one with the weather model and a fast gas turbine.

          It's just not terribly good for keeping the lights on. But who cares about that eh? We get even MORE money when the lights flicker and we have to step in to "save the day"

          Batteries are good for only one thing: Stabilising the grid frequency in the few seconds/minutes that it takes to spin up or slow down a big gas turbine in response to intermittent wind & solar, and getting paid £££££Dosh for doing so.

          You are quite right to point out that they will Never, EVER be useful for bulk storage of the kind that could help us phase out gas, not even with unlimited natural resources and an order of magnitude increase in performance, and the oil companies know that too.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bet

          Calling wind ineffective is disingenuous. Even without subsidy, new build wind right now would be profitable and faster ROI than Nuke or CCS/CCGT.

          Straight CCGT obviously has fastest ROI for investory, but is miserable for consumers due to wholesale supply chain issues.

          On reliability; yes, you need a fallback. That's what interconnection and other generation types provide. What level of reliability do you want? Five nines? That's what's managed today, with lots of wind around, behaving as you say, with anything from less than 5 up to 25 GW of output.

          Buying just one generation type and saying no others would lead to greater cost to consumers; because you place yourself wholly at the whims of the wholesale market that know they can rip you off. That's exactly what has happened to Germany, with it's utter dependence on gas; more so than us.

          I think your assumptions for battery storage costs are off. But who says you have to use a battery? There are other storage mechanisms possible with tech mostly available off the shelf without

          The design of the market and major players in the market have a vested interest in seeing that price spikes work in their favour. Storage is anathema to price spikes - hence you see the likes of Centrica fishing for money to re-invest in the Rough storage facility.

          Despite the turmoil in government, there are proposals now being mooted in parliament to address the problems in the energy market concerning renewable pricing essentially being keyed to the price of gas. Not before time.

          1. cyberdemon Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Bet

            > Calling wind ineffective is disingenuous.

            It is inneffectual as compared with its capacity and raw materials. We need to use the amount of copper that would be needed for a 100MW gas/steam turbine, in order to to build a wind turbine that only produces 10MW on average. As per TFA, this a huge waste of resources given the twin problem of an energy crisis and a copper shortage.

            It certainly is PROFITABLE though, as you say, even without subsidies. So why the F@@k are we still subsidising it??

            Trust me, I work for a company that makes battery storage systems and BMSs. My assumptions about battery storage are not off.

            Storage is NOT anathema to price spikes because we can NEVER do bulk storage of the kind that could replace gas for even a day. Not even with "all the batteries in the world". The energy-cost ratio is orders of magnitude off, and the world doesn't have the manufacturing capacity nor the resources to do storage on that scale.

            Repeating myself here: Batteries are useful ONLY to stabilise the grid for the few seconds/minutes that it takes to spin up or slow down a big GAS turbine, that is why wind and batteries benefit fossil fuels by adding volatility, they don't ease volatility and they will never replace fossil fuels. That is the sad reality.

            And no, other storage technologies such as gravity, fuel cells, flow batteries, heat batteries, solid-oxide etc are not even close to matching lithium batteries - they are hopeless for bulk storage. The only thing that comes close is pumped hydro, but unfortunately we don't have the resources to build artificial mountains.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Bet

              Who said pumped storage has to use water. Take a look at RheEnergise. There are also companies out there looking at underwater inflatables attached to wind farms as a storage mechanism. All absolutely within the realm of technical possibility; the latter, absolutely no concerns about space or flooding the mountains to facilitate.

              On the market being anathema to storage; we'll have to agree to disagree. Generators and traders can and do make a killing off price spikes. If there's so much as a hint of a supply chain shortfall, then bid/offer prices on Elexon immediately skyrocket. Storage systems represent competition to spike abuse.

              Change requests to elexon to increase the number of digits that can be typed into the box have been declined - repeatedly - but just watch how many enter the market with 99,999.99 when there's a problem.

              The market seriously needs an overhaul, and, much to my surprise even a conservative government in the midst of destroying itself was able to recognise that. Interesting reading at the following.

              https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-launches-biggest-electricity-market-reform-in-a-generation

              That is is on the agenda is mostly a sign of how broken things are right now.

      2. breakfast

        Re: Bet

        The upside of green hydrogen is that it can be produced at the edge of the grid, close to your offshore wind farms when the weather is right for renewables but grid demand is low, and then shipped to where it is needed. It isn't tremendously efficient to produce this way, but when the energy is basically free and there's not a pressing need for it elsewhere, inefficiently producing hydrogen lets you keep a significant amount of the energy you have produced stored up for when and where it is needed.

        1. Binraider Silver badge

          Re: Bet

          Where the offshore wind farms land happens to also (mostly) co-incide with where legacy gas infrastructure are.

          It's no accident that repurposing old transmission lines for hydrogen or at least hydrogen blend is an angle R&D is being pushed.

          I'm not especially a fan given that H2 will leak through the interstices of 8" steel plate. What it will do to hundred-plus year old domestic pipework is perhaps rather obvious... But if one can solve the distribution safety problems for H2 the uses for it are obvious.

  5. m4r35n357

    That's what "levelling up" really means

    Invest in the South, hit the North!

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "But to create hydrogen without releasing CO2 at all, you need renewable electricity and electrolysis"

    You also need a water supply. The state of the reservoirs round here today is a reminder that that can be easily overlooked.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The state of the reservoirs round here today is a reminder that that can be easily overlooked."

      You seem to have forgotten we live on an island surrounded by the fucking sea!.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        To electrolyse water you need to stick a couple of electrodes in it. Sea water is corrosive stuff. What does it do to the electrodes. I don't think sea water is a useable raw material.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          A bigger problem is that chlorine gas is released at the anode. There's quite a bit of research going on to make it work, though.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            All that's needed is to find a market for it and that's another one solved....

            1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
              Devil

              just use it all around the island to repulse these filthy migrants!

    2. Peter2 Silver badge

      Of course, we could just use naturally occurring low CO2 gas which is mostly hydrogen at the moment; CH4 is one carbon atom bonded to 4 hydrogen atoms.

      It's commonly known as "natural gas", which is our majority power generation at the moment, as well as home cooking and home heating so there is a plentiful supply of it, and burning hydrogen atoms isin't going to be any cleaner if we have to separate salt from sea water and then crack the water to hydrogen as it's quite energy intensive.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "then crack the water to hydrogen as it's quite energy intensive"

        You're right about the sea water. But the energy going into splitting the hydrogen out of water is the energy you're looking to get back (allowing for losses) by recombining hydrogen with oxygen. The hydrogen is a storage and distribution medium for that energy.

        Having said that I don't actually like hydrogen on safety grounds.

  7. Trigun

    A factory for creating highly aggressive extremely large dinosaurs?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Worked for the Flintstones.

      Fred drove one in the quarry every day.

  8. Tom 38 Silver badge

    This is probably because I'm extremely dumb

    My first secondary school chemistry lesson involved making hydrogen. You expose it to the air, it goes pop and water is made. When it comes to having tanks of a highly explosive gas in the car that I drive around at 70 mph, it makes me a little nervous.

    Yes, I've seen videos of EV batteries on fire, but that's when really damaged. Diesel barely burns at all, and petrol isn't actually all that explosive either - you have to actually set fire to it, where as hydrogen + oxygen = boom. So these tanks, they're never going to leak? None of the hoses or fittings or seals are going to leak?

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: This is probably because I'm extremely dumb

      NCAP gave 5* safely for the Toyota that is currently available in the UK

      https://www.which.co.uk/news/article/crash-tested-are-hydrogen-and-electric-cars-safe-to-drive-agonV3I9JJCn

      And Toyota take.

      https://www.toyota-europe.com/world-of-toyota/electrified/fuel-cell/are-hydrogen-cars-safe

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: This is probably because I'm extremely dumb

        Only marginally different to LPG and I was happy to drive one of them for years.

        It may be interesting to read between the lines and say that electric will be fine for cars but, when the NG can't cope with all the charging requirement, commercial vehicles can still run on hydrogen from whatever source ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is probably because I'm extremely dumb

          LPG is a lot safer and easier to store than hydrogen, which needs to be kept at much higher pressure to keep it liquid and keep the energy per unit volume usable. Speaking as an engineer, I'd far rather have a Lithium Ferrite battery than hydrogen.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is probably because I'm extremely dumb

          NG transmission is fine. It's the distribution networks where most of the problems are with demand outstripping the ability of the hardware.

          It's also no accident that NG group bought WPD; because WPD need to do an absolute shedload of capex to satisfy the demand that's coming. Capex equals guaranteed returns on investment because of the way the UK market is built.

          Whether it's EV or AirCon, the demand is coming.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: This is probably because I'm extremely dumb

      Hydrogen is only explosive when mixed with oxygen, and it's so light that any escape generally blows away before it reaches the right combination, unless it's in a closed space. You might get a rapidly-rising fireball, but an explosion is less likely.

  9. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Holmes

    "the increasing urgency to decarbonize transportation"

    There is an even more increasing urgency to decarbonize energy production but, funnily enough, nobody is talking about that.

    An EV or even a hydrogen vehicle is all very nice, to be sure, but if the electricity is generated in a coal plant, all you're doing is displacing the pollution, not eliminating it.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "the increasing urgency to decarbonize transportation"

      Quite. And you're never going to get the Greens to admit that they're the reason we didn't do it years ago.

      1. gryphon

        Re: "the increasing urgency to decarbonize transportation"

        I believe many Greens have already moved on to decrying all forms of personal transport whether hydrocarbo, BEV or Hydrogen on the grounds that the particulate matter from brake dust and tyre wear is equal or worse than the NOx or Co2.

        i.e. They've changed the goal posts

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "the increasing urgency to decarbonize transportation"

          Has anyone worked out how they get to all those places they glue themselves onto?

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: "but if the electricity is generated in a coal plant

      If you look at the records then you will find that 1.7% of UK electricity was generated by burning coal in the past year.

      https://grid.iamkate.com/

      The energy mix is different in other countries.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Steptoe and Son is the future!

    Hercules The horse and a sturdy wooden cart.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Steptoe and Son is the future!

      No way. Think of the methane. And that's the least of the problems. he ICE enabled a massive clean up of city streets.

  11. Semper Phoenix
    Mushroom

    Where are our "Mr Fusion" reactors from 2015?

    We're now seven years past when Doc Brown took Marty & Jennifer to 2015. Where are all our Mr Fusion reactors, providing 1.21 GW of power?

    Ok, yes, I know Mr Fusion powered the flux capacitor, not the DeLorean itself; But surely some clever engineers could come up with a way of hooking up the Mr Fusion reactors, so that we don't have to plug in electric / hybrid vehicles to charge their batteries any longer?!

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