Wasserstoff bleibt noch lange ein Traum

Letzte Woche habe ich auf die Schweiz geblickt, wo Forscher Chancen in neuen Atomkraftwerken sehen. Heute ein Blick auf die Hoffung Wasserstoff. Die FINANCIAL TIMES (FT )zeigt auf, wie weit der Weg ist:

  • “Yes, hydrogen can be burnt while only producing water vapour rather than carbon product (although most present forms of making the fuel require carbon-emitting processes). Hydrogen has the potential to replace the short-term electricity grid storage provided now, on a small scale, by stationary lithium ion batteries.” – bto: Deshalb finden wir Wasserstoff auch so gut. Aber wo soll der herkommen?
  • “Hydrogen could, hypothetically, be used as aircraft fuel or for heavy vehicle and ship transport. Some natural gas pipeline operators are studying hydrogen shipment through existing networks.” – bto: Das war ja auch eine der Ideen für das zweite Leben von Nordstream 2.
  • “(…) hydrogen is also highly reactive and can seep in between molecules of almost every possible container. It ‘rots’ many grades of steel at high temperatures and pressures in a process called ‘decarburation’ or ‘hydrogen attack’. At room temperature and pressure hydrogen can create ‘embrittlement’, a different form of rot, in steels or other metals. Hydrogen can collect in an explosive mixture with air in many enclosed spaces. Accumulations of pockets of hydrogen from storage batteries and oxygen generators on submarines appear to have led to explosions.” – bto: Kurz gefasst, es ist ein heikler und schwer zu handelnder Stoff.
  • “One of the safest and most widely used materials for handling hydrogen are ‘austenitic stainless steels’. These alloys contain very high proportions of nickel and chromium, which, if procured as a mass product, will create serious supply challenges for a society in a hydrogen transition.” – bto: Aha, Spezialrohre, deren Herstellung wichtige Rohstoffe verlangt.
  • “Devices using hydrogen fuel require demanding welding technologies, which often need inert gases such as argon to help ensure the integrity of the welds. Despite argon being in wide use for this and other applications, it is difficult and expensive to produce, even at the scale it is used today.” – bto: Also muss auch die Rückwandlung der Energie mit teuren Rohstoffen bewältigt werden.
  • “These challenges are not simply overcome by having money or PowerPoint-heavy conferences thrown at them. The real shortage in widely diffusing a set of technologies through a society is skilled labour. That same weakness, in many of the same skills, is the most serious barrier to accelerated development of nuclear power.” – bto: Das wiederum ist ein sehr interessantes Argument. Denn es bedeutet, wer diese Mitarbeiter ausbildet, hat einen Wettbewerbsvorteil.
  • “Westinghouse went bankrupt in 2017. And in the bankruptcy trial transcript, which I read, it is clear that the project-fatal cost overruns on two Westinghouse nuclear plants largely came down to labour costs. Welders, equipment operators and experienced supervisors are not cheap or in plentiful supply. The ‘Unit 3’ French nuclear reactor project at Flamanville in Normandy has had problems finding and supervising skilled welders.” – bto: Das ist wiederum sehr spannend!
  • “It does seem possible to use a modest addition of hydrogen, say 20 per cent, in existing long-distance transmission lines for gas. But then using substantial amounts of hydrogen in the distribution networks or ‘service lines’ for houses and most places of work will be more dangerous. This all comes before we consider how much platinum we can use for hydrogen transport and storage by recycling catalytic converters from old fossil-fuelled cars. There’s maybe enough for pilot projects. But mined platinum supplies are set to decline, and a circular economy for a hydrogen world is not foreseeable yet.” – bto: Das klingt wiederum nach einem noch nicht so durchdachten Konzept.
  • Fazit FT: “Reaching ‘net zero’ carbon with a hydrogen economy is beyond the visible horizon.”

ft.com (Anmeldung erforderlich): „A future based on hydrogen fuel seems a way off“, 5. März 2022