More Madness from the Climate Change Committee (CCC)
This shadowy body is a relic of the misbegotten Climate Change Act (2008) which, as a response to the EU (2003) Directive, saddled Britain with a raft of emissions reduction targets which will have no measurable impact on our climate.
The CCC’s official role is to advise the government of the day on climate change matters. Its latest advice is even madder than usual.
They want to start trials of using hydrogen to replace natural gas (methane) as the heating fuel for domestic housing. The “logic” appears to be that when hydrogen is burned with oxygen in the air, it releases heat and emits just water.
Domestic heating uses annually around 600 Tera Watt hours (TWh) or about 25% of UK energy consumption. To provide enough hydrogen, the CCC proposes converting natural gas to hydrogen by (yes, you’ve guessed it) combusting it with oxygen to produce hydrogen and carbon dioxide and somehow stopping the reaction from going all the way to water. The hydrogen is then to be separated from the carbon dioxide and sent through the existing gas network of pipes, which they believe would be “straightforward”. Whether much hydrogen will arrive at the consumers’ premises is doubtful as hydrogen has a nasty habit of diffusing through even the polythene pipes now almost universal in the methane gas network. Almost certainly this process will generate explosive mixtures in the vicinity of the pipes, including in people’s homes (if it gets there).
What does the CCC propose to do with the CO2 generated in their natural gas to hydrogen process?
Why, they propose a series of giant carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems. No matter that CCS is totally unproven on a commercial scale – nor will it ever be, because the transfer of energy to the hydrogen-CO2 (water gas shift) process will itself be prohibitively expensive, without considering the cost of compressing the CO2 and pumping it into as yet undiscovered cavities in the North Sea or in Northern England and Scotland. Furthermore, if the CCC’s mad scheme were ever adopted, there is the little matter of converting about 25 million natural gas boilers to hydrogen boilers.
But the most fundamental point of all is that starting with natural gas (methane) the best you can ever do to extract energy, under the laws of chemical combination and thermo-dynamics, is to combust it with oxygen to yield heat plus water plus CO2, in one operation, in one place, namely the gas boiler at the end of a totally safe pipeline.
Does no-one in the CCC know any GCSE physics and chemistry?
Answer, “No”. They are all scientifically illiterate greenies. Having abolished the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Mrs May should now rid us of the pestilential nuisance which the CCC has become.