Join the EI East Midlands branch for a talk on the hydrogen economy.
The speaker believes that there are good prospects for hydrogen, but that there is unlikely to be the all-encompassing 'hydrogen economy'. This view is based on his experience of British Gas in the 1950s and 60s.
In the late 1950s, the British Gas industry was dying. It was based on town gas, a mixture that contained 50% hydrogen. In the important domestic energy sector, electricity was becoming more competitive. The gas industry was saved by moving away from coal, and using steam reforming processes which produced town gas at high pressure from naphtha, essentially a low grade petrol.
When North Sea gas came in, every burner in Britain had to be changed. The cost was then about £500 million, but this was hidden from consumers. Can this, will this, happen again?