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02 October 2010




The Demand for Hydrogen and Oxygen Gases


In brief, the UK hydrogen market is 50 million metric tonnes and oxygen is 150 million metric tonnes.  36% of gas is Merchant gas, the rest is produced and used in-house.  Some of the merchant gas is now being sold to traditional in-house producers.  


When looking at the production figures for Europe and US the table below from the USA’s DOE hydrogen analysis resource centre is useful to get a scale of demand internationally:


So for the average of the last 6 years of the USA production, the figure is 14,182 million m3 of hydrogen.  This is 1.275 million tonnes of hydrogen.  So for Europe too, the figure is about 2 million tonnes of hydrogen.  The capacity figures for the US suggest there is over 2 times the production capacity to what is produced.


The 2006 UK market for Hydrogen is 33m£ and Oxygen is 134m£.


The market for Hydrogen and Oxygen is increasing.  The use of Hydrogen in internal combustion engines, (ICEs), and fuel cells is a new market which will increase.


If the gases are used to substitute Natural Gas for power generation the market starts to encapsulate that one too.  


A UK company, Green Hydrogen can take all the gas we can produce from a 2MW wind turbine platform should we be able to get financing. So we have a potential customer for all the gas produced by the first full size proto-type.




Using Hydrogen as a Transport fuel in the UK


The pre-production model, (2MW), would lead to the production of approximately 1,000,000 Normal cubic metres of Hydrogen a year, (NH m3 / yr). and 500,000 Normal cubic metres of Oxygen per year, (NO m3 /yr).


This amount of hydrogen has an energy of 1 x10^10 kJ and is equivalent to 320,000 litres of petrol having the same energy.  This is equivalent to 85,000 gallons petrol.  If your average car does 40 mpg, then this could go 3.4 million miles per year using the output from one turbine.


Annually, from the stats office the UK does 500 billion passenger kilometres/year = 300 billion passenger miles assuming no one shares lifts.


No. of turbines needed is 300x109 / 3.4 x106 = 88,000 turbines.


If we change our vehicle stock for those using fuel cells instead of the ICE this number can halve.  These gases can be used in our existing vehicle stock using a conversion process not unlike that the conversion to LPG.


If each turbine takes up 4 km2 then area required = 352,000 km2 = 600 km x 600 km or 370 miles x 370 miles.


Where is that space going to come from?  The best starting place which has access to a large market is the Western Approaches.  This was identified in 2002 as the best location for floating wind turbines.  We have been working to that goal ever since.  The space in the western approaches is big enough for about 40,000 x 2MW turbines. Conceivably we can put bigger platforms and generate enough fuel for the whole of the British Isles and Northern France.  Imagine a Carbon free Western Europe not dependant upon Oil, gas and coal!