By Miguel Ángel Llana
Just a few years ago, fuels seemed to have no end and now they resort to dreaming of "inventions" when 86% of the energy is obtained from deposits whose extraction limit will be reached in a very few years to reach their exhaustion in half a century More or less, depending on whether you talk about oil, gas or Uranium, and a century and a half for coal.
Hydrogen is not a source of energy, just a fuel, very difficult to store and very dangerous to use, and that neoliberalism uses creating false expectations.
Energy is an essential part of the industrial and agricultural revolution, and its discovery, and the different ways of transforming it through combustion, or to obtain raw materials. It is different that the model followed has been reasonable, when waste and environmental degradation have only been surpassed by the fight for their deposits. This revolution has only reached a small part of humanity, but ecological degradation and plunder have reached the majority, while the "industrialized" countries with 15% of the population consume 50% of the energy.
The industrial and agricultural revolution, when it still has little history, is already coming to an end, because the model does not give for more and the energy on which it has been based is about to begin to deplete, without alternative energy being able to contribute even a small part of those who have led the process so far. Just a few years ago, fuels seemed to have no end and now they resort to dreaming of "inventions" when 86% of the energy is obtained from deposits whose extraction limit will be reached in a very few years to reach their exhaustion in half a century More or less, depending on whether you talk about oil, gas or Uranium, and a century and a half for coal, with the current level of consumption, according to British Petroleum and the IAEA.
The economic model of indefinite growth, based on increasing energy consumption and environmental degradation, is no longer possible, but instead of changing the chip, the old trick of "continuous movement" is used in which a wheel or a system Hydraulic can work indefinitely, the same as saying now that Hydrogen, H2, is an excellent fuel, without adding the fundamentals: that it is not a source of energy, that it is not free in nature, that there are no H2 deposits, that It only exists in combination with other chemical elements and that is only obtained by providing the energy necessary to break that union, so that later in its combustion it returns the energy provided, as the first principle of thermodynamics says: in these manipulations you can never win, because energy is neither created nor destroyed, it is only transformed (considering matter as a form of energy, Einstein's E = mc2).
Furthermore, the second principle adds that in any transformation there are always losses, due to heat, friction and turbulence, as in continuous motion. In short, the first principle ensures that we can never win and the second that we cannot even draw.
H2 is not a source of energy, it is just a fuel gas that can only be obtained by providing more energy than it returns to us, and although its combustion is clean, the balance is: less energy and more pollution, so that its use is Restricted for storage only, apart from industrial and laboratory applications.
The fuels currently used are characterized by their enormous calorific value per m3 and are easy to store, transport and use, on the other hand, for H2 all this is very complicated, compared to any other gas; Its very low specific weight of 0.085 kg / m3 leads to a low calorific value of 2,890 kcalories / m3, while butane has 27,700 and GN 8,150. Butane liquefies with little pressure, 0.75 atmospheres, multiplying its calorific value in volume or weight and something similar with the NG that is transported liquefied at –161 ºC, a “reasonable” temperature for fixed cryogenic steel tanks or ships. LNG carriers.
In contrast, H2 liquefies at –253 ºC, only 20 ºC from absolute zero, a temperature at which the properties of materials and steels drop dramatically. As a gas, H2 is not better either, a 50-liter industrial bottle or tube at 200 atmospheres contains only 0.75 kg of H2 that contributes 22,500 Kc, while NG or Methane, at 175 atmospheres, contributes 4.1 times more energy and liquefied, 11.3 times; with butane 14.7 times and with gasoline or diesel 20 times more energy for the same volume or weight.
To all that has been said, it must be added that H2 is much more dangerous, while butane or GN are explosive in concentrations in the air between 2 and 15%, H2 between 4 and 75%, but detonating 18 59%.
The fundamental conclusion is that H2 is not a source of energy, its storage capacity is very limited and its use is very dangerous. The confusion and false expectations that are being created are nothing more than a flight forward on such critical issues as energy and environmental degradation. The inability of the neoliberal system and its politicians to promote solutions is manifest.
* Miguel Ángel Llana, engineer and graduate in Business