Tesla CEO Elon Musk dismisses hydrogen as tool for energy storage

Elon Musk has a historical past of expressing powerful opinions about hydrogen and hydrogen gas cells. A several decades ago, when the topic arrived up through a discussion with reporters at the Automotive News World Congress, the electric vehicle magnate described hydrogen gasoline cells as “really silly.”

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk has reiterated his skepticism about hydrogen’s role in the prepared change to a more sustainable long term, describing it as “the most dumb point I could potentially imagine for strength storage.” 

During an interview at the Economical Situations Foreseeable future of the Automobile summit on Tuesday, Musk was asked if he considered hydrogen experienced a job to engage in in accelerating the changeover absent from fossil fuels.

“No,” he replied. “I truly won’t be able to emphasize this adequate — the range of moments I’ve been requested about hydrogen, it may possibly be … it really is perfectly over 100 times, perhaps 200 periods,” he explained. “It’s important to realize that if you want a indicates of strength storage, hydrogen is a undesirable choice.”

Growing on his argument, Musk went on to state that “gigantic tanks” would be necessary to hold hydrogen in liquid form. If it ended up to be stored in gaseous sort, “even bigger” tanks would be needed, he reported.

Described by the International Electricity Agency as a “multipurpose vitality carrier,” hydrogen has a assorted range of applications and can be deployed in sectors this kind of as industry and transport.

In 2019, the IEA claimed hydrogen was “a person of the leading options for storing electricity from renewables and appears to be promising to be a cheapest-price selection for storing electrical power more than days, weeks or even months.”

The Paris-dependent business included that both of those hydrogen and hydrogen-dependent fuels ended up equipped to “transportation strength from renewables more than long distances — from regions with ample solar and wind resources, these types of as Australia or Latin The us, to vitality-hungry cities hundreds of kilometres absent.”

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Musk has a background of expressing solid opinions about hydrogen and hydrogen gasoline cells.

A handful of years in the past, when the issue arrived up for the duration of a discussion with reporters at the Automotive News Entire world Congress, the electrical vehicle magnate explained hydrogen gas cells as “incredibly foolish.”

In June 2020 he tweeted “fuel cells = idiot sells,”  adding in July of that year: “Hydrogen idiot sells make no feeling.” Judging by his remarks this 7 days, he stays unconvinced about hydrogen.

“It does not obviously arise on Earth, so you possibly have to split drinking water with electrolysis or crack hydrocarbons,” he informed the Monetary Periods.

“When you happen to be cracking hydrocarbons, you seriously have not solved the fossil gas dilemma, and the effectiveness of electrolysis is bad.”

Nowadays, the majority of hydrogen manufacturing is centered on fossil fuels. An additional method of creation involves using electrolysis, with an electric present-day splitting h2o into oxygen and hydrogen.

If the electrical power used in this procedure will come from a renewable resource such as wind or photo voltaic then some connect with it inexperienced or renewable hydrogen.

Hydrogen jobs employing electrolysis have attracted fascination from main organizations and enterprise leaders in current a long time, but it would appear Musk is not a supporter.

“The performance of electrolysis is … very poor,” he explained to the Economical Moments. “So you definitely are investing a lot of vitality to … split hydrogen and oxygen. Then you have to individual the hydrogen and oxygen and pressurize it — this also takes a whole lot of energy.”

“And if you have to liquefy … hydrogen, oh my God,” he continued. “The sum of electrical power demanded to … make hydrogen and turn it into liquid kind is staggering. It is the most dumb thing that I could maybe think about for electrical power storage.”

Distinctive viewpoints

Musk may be dismissive about hydrogen’s purpose in the electrical power changeover, but other influential voices are a small more optimistic. These involve Anna Shpitsberg, who is deputy assistant secretary for energy transformation at the U.S. Office of Condition.

Throughout a current panel discussion moderated by CNBC’s Hadley Gamble, Shpitsberg referred to as hydrogen “a video game-altering technologies that speaks to a selection of other sources … due to the fact it can underpin nuclear, it can underpin gas, it can underpin renewables, it can clean up a good part of it and so can CCUS [carbon capture utilization and storage].”

Somewhere else, February noticed Michele DellaVigna, Goldman Sachs’ commodity equity enterprise device leader for the EMEA area, spotlight the significant function he felt it would have likely ahead.

“If we want to go to internet-zero we can’t do it just through renewable electrical power,” he said.

“We want some thing that usually takes modern job of organic gas, especially to take care of seasonality and intermittency, and that is hydrogen,” DellaVigna argued, going on to explain hydrogen as “a very effective molecule.”

The vital, he claimed, was to “deliver it with no CO2 emissions. And which is why we discuss about inexperienced, we converse about blue hydrogen.”

Blue hydrogen refers to hydrogen generated utilizing natural gasoline — a fossil gas — with the CO2 emissions generated throughout the process captured and stored. There has been a charged debate all over the purpose blue hydrogen can enjoy in the decarbonization of modern society.

“Irrespective of whether we do it with electrolysis or we do it with carbon seize, we have to have to create hydrogen in a clear way,” DellaVigna explained. “And the moment we have it, I assume we have a resolution that could grow to be, a person day, at minimum 15% of the worldwide energy marketplaces which signifies it will be … in excess of a trillion dollar marketplace for each annum.”