Japan has shown interest in importing norwegian wind energy. The idea is to use the wind energy to convert water into H2 (hydrogen) and transport that under pressure to Japan to be use in fuel cells and powerplants.
This is a perfect example of economism, it serves multiple parts of the economic matrix, even if it is a uniquely dumb idea. The parts are as follows :
- It requires the use of a banking system for international transactions
- It makes japanese people dependent on income to purchase energy
- It can outcompete local energy solutions in Japan because logistics will be free (based on hydrogen), driving Japanese dependence.
- It will waste wind energy slowing down the rise of Wind energy
- It will justify the development of a Hydrogen infrastructure in Japan
- It will justify gas based hydrogen production as norwegian hydrogen production is ramped up
- It will use gas logistics that already exists, with some changes
- It will slow down Japans own offshore energy projects.
- It will keep Europe dependent on fossil energy longer
This sickening list is one of typical economic arguments, the utilization of fossil resources to secure the utilization of fossil resources as long as possible, even if it means doing something rediculously wastefull. Why? Because the world is supposed to shift to gas, and hydrogen is a fuel that can either be made with electricity and with gas.
Power 2 gas is one of the technologies that will allow the continued utilization of existing gas infrastructure. It means splitting water and CO2 and combining them into methane. This however is an energy intensive proces, not all that efficient. Power 2 hydrogen is half of that process. Hydrogen needs to be compressed into a liquid which also takes a lot of energy. Shipping the hydrogen will use up a lot of energy as well. When hydrogen is burned or used in a fuel cell it can only convert it’s energy to electricity with an efficiency of 50%. The total turbine to japanese hydrogen car or household efficiency of this approach is thus very low (in the 15%?).
Some country in the Middle East will be offering to ship gas based hydrogen to Japan, stranding power to gas and driving hydrogen utilization in Europe, further delaying electric mobility
One can see that the banking system however would be all over this project, because it takes a hell of a lot of money to get going, it will create money streams from Japan to Norway, it will require a lot of financing but most importantly it will give control over japanese energy access to the international hydrogen market (which no doubt will be created).
All this sounds like music in the ears of an economist, a banker, a fossil fuel producer. It sounds like disgusting nonsense in the ears of anyone that takes climate change seriously.
A serious effect of the shift to renewables is that countries no longer have to trade if they choose not to. The type of energy is land bound, so it is about evenly distributed across the globe, not concentrated in a few locations like the Middle East or Canada or the Arctic. It therefore spreads power more equally across the globe and reduces the incentive to cooperate. Economist see this as a threat to their philosophy, and they are very pessimistic about peace in a post fossil reigned world. They don’t sell the idea that there will be more energy to share (about 2500 times more) with solar than there is today with fossil fuel, they don’t want to believe it, even if it is true.
We need a clean break with economic thinking
Instead of screwing about to secure economism we need to use the remaining fossil fuels to build as much renewable energy sources as quickly as possible, and if we are going to use the existing infrastructure in a transitional period then not to secure banking control over currency streams, but simply because it is the most efficient way to get to where we need to be. We’re in Appollo 13 and the clock is ticking.