Hydrogen gas made from excess solar

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Minister of Fire
During my huddle time in front of an air conditioner this weekend I pondered solar batteries between naps.

The thought occurred to me that solar could be used to create hydrogen gas, which could then be stored until needed and then burnt in an existing natural gas plant when needed.

I went looking for reasons why this isn't done, and found this:


They seem hung up on putting the hydrogen in a fuel cell for cars, busses, etc. Why not stay macro with it? Keep it on on the grid? Hydrogen fires could be real bad in car wrecks. Why even have that option. The firefighters at the power plant could be better trained for the eventuality of one and be better suited to deal with it.


Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
Northern NH
There was somewhat hyped project in Maine for a PV/hydrogen storage system at a summer camp quite awhile ago. Not a lot of good info on it


Basically a bunch of companies mostly in Maine got together to showcase their technical chops and installed a system at the summer camp. After the initial ribbon cutting the system dropped out of the news and I strongly suspect it became a very expensive PV system with the hydrogen system discarded as otherwise there would be a lot more PR on it.

The claim to fame if I remember correctly was a high pressure electrolyzer that allowed the hydrogen to be generated at high pressure to reduce the need for compression. They used fuel cell technology that effectively ran backwards, put water in one end and add power and get oyxgen and hydrogen at the other end. I used to work for a firm that has electrolyzer division it was spin off from United Technologies and was part of the fuel cell boom on wall street of about 20 years ago that didn't amount to much except a lot of poorer post IPO investors.

There was at least one homebrew hydrogen system in Home Power years ago.

Hydrogen is difficult to deal with as its a very small molecule that like to leak out. Its far better to store hydrogen chemically in a metal hydride matrix as it takes up less volume than even storing hydrogen as liquid. Liquid hydrogen is similar to LNG in that it can form a BLEVE if fractured. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_liquid_expanding_vapor_explosion.

There are also material compatibilities issues as certain metals can have something called Hydrogen embrittlement.

The big thing in investment these days is utility scale storage and I expect if someone could come up with a plausible efficient wire to wire system based on hydrogen storage venture capitalists would be all over it. To date I haven't seen this technology which implies its not competitive to other storage technology.
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