Hydrogen Pipes Revisited

I did some research online about the current implementation of hydrogen pipes throughout the world and found out that hydrogen pipes turn out to be as costly as natural gas pipes. Worse yet, natural gas pipes are not resistant enough to hydrogen corrosion under high pressure, which is a key factor of overall throughput. Due to a lower energy density compared to other fuels, compression also tends to cost more.

Power lines are much better, as high voltage direct current has proven to reduce power loss to a very low level per thousand kilometers. Of course, it is not cheap, but for hydrogen pipes to compete with power lines, some fundamental breakthroughs in material science must be made. The problem with power lines is that they are pretty much optimized with physical laws. Higher voltage will mean taller towers for safety, which translate directly to cost. Room temperature superconductivity is a proven challenge, which we wouldn’t bet on. Hydrogen pipes still have their charm. Now, lower pressure will mean larger diameters of hydrogen pipes, which add significantly to their cost as well. Fortunately, throughput increase is a square function of the diameter of a hydrogen pipe, a worthy investment for sure.

I also checked the data of a few hydroelectric power plants. They are way more capable than nuclear power plants. However, deep ocean geothermal power plants will have less environmental issues just because they will be located in deep ocean deserts. While they are close enough to coastlines, deep water makes it difficult for these power stations to damage residential areas when accidents occur. Safety is a significant advantage. Geothermal power is essentially natural nuclear power inside the Earth. There is definitely enough of it to feed a trillion people and even affordable space travels for everyone within the Solar System. Hydroelectric power, on the other hand, will probably be reaching its limit at the need of two billion people.

Most developing countries are catching up real fast to the developed ones. It simply means that we will be hitting the population of one trillion sooner than we expect as medical facilities and living standards are continuously improved. If energy crisis cannot be addressed, another world war, nuclear or not, is the natural solution to this problem. We don’t really have a choice. By the way, when governments offer hydrogen at the price of clean water, all vehicles, flying or crawling, will automatically convert and adapt. Transition is the least issue to worry about when price is right.


About Run Song

Run Song (宋闰) is my pen name for the Moments of Poetry, a collection of poems about the greatest moments of life. If photography captures the greatest moments of life, poetry is the life behind them.
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