In the latest episode of the Climate Confident podcast, I dive deep into the world of hydrogen and its role in our sustainable future. My guest, Michael Barnard (@mbarnardca on Twitter), Chief Strategist of The Future Is Electric (@tfie1 on Twitter), shares his expert insights on the viability of hydrogen as an energy source and its potential to transform industries.
As we face the challenge of mitigating climate change and transitioning to a low-carbon economy, hydrogen has been hailed as a miraculous energy solution. However, Michael Barnard debunks some of the most common myths surrounding hydrogen’s potential, offering a reality check on its limitations and the role it may truly play in our future.
One key takeaway from the conversation is Michael’s assertion that “hydrogen is a terrible battery.” He explains that hydrogen has low energy density and high conversion losses, making it a less efficient energy storage solution than widely believed. Michael also emphasizes that hydrogen’s role in aviation and marine transport is overhyped, with its chances in these sectors being slim.
Michael goes on to discuss the factors driving the hydrogen hype, particularly the influence of the fossil fuel industry. He suggests that governments and industries are promoting hydrogen to keep fossil fuel infrastructure relevant, even as the world moves towards a more sustainable energy mix. As Michael puts it, “There’s a moral case for fossil fuels, but it’s now over.”
Furthermore, Michael delves into the challenges faced by the fossil fuel industry and the role hydrogen may play in their future. He highlights the complexities and potential impacts of hydrogen production from fossil fuels, particularly in countries like Canada and Norway.
One of the most thought-provoking moments in the conversation is Michael’s exploration of hydrogen’s potential in decarbonizing industrial heat production. While some proponents of hydrogen argue that it could play a significant role in this sector, Michael remains cautious, emphasizing the need for more research and innovation to fully understand its capabilities.
Throughout the episode, Michael maintains a bold vision for a sustainable future, stating, “We don’t want the fossil fuel industry around anymore.” He believes that electrification and renewable energy sources will replace fossil fuels over time, and that hydrogen will only play a limited role in the broader energy transition.
In conclusion, this eye-opening conversation with Michael Barnard sheds light on the reality of hydrogen’s role in our sustainable future. It provides listeners with a much-needed reality check, urging them to look beyond the hype and focus on the facts. To learn more about Michael’s work and gain a deeper understanding of hydrogen’s potential and limitations, listen to the full episode of the Climate Confident podcast here.
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Photo copyright ©Airbus SAS 2021