Debunking Dr. Bossel’s Anti-Hydrogen Thesis

Proliferation of clean energy solutions like hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell manufacturing are held back by myths that need to be busted.   In this article RMP will use common sense,  simple examples, and data to dispel an argument that hydrogen production, storage, and distribution is not economical because it’s less efficient than storing energy in a battery. Many people still peddle and cling to this red herring argument as if it makes sense. That stops today. Dr. Bossel’s keyhole view of mathematics, chemistry, and physics is used as sleight of hand to mislead readers from the big picture of how energy production, storage, and grid administration really works.

dr bossel
Dr. Ulf Bossel has published many anti-hydrogen thesis statements. His papers were published between Sept 2005 & July 2008.  RMP reached out to Dr. Bossel to ask if he has amended his viewpoints published nearly 10 years ago.  Dr. Bossel did not respond to RMP’s email requests for information.

Mathematically speaking, storing electrical energy in a battery is very efficient and many times storing energy in a battery makes good common sense. Also, for the record, RMP is not anti-battery and believes that batteries are important to clean energy proliferation and RMP supports the manufacture and adoption of batteries as well as BEVs for many market segments. Yes, batteries are an important part of the Hydrogen Economy. In fact, that’s what generally differentiates a rational and reasonable fuel cell advocate from a zealous anti-hydrogen advocate: rational fuel cell advocates support batteries and are not threatened by them. Bill Hall, who sits on the board of directors of RMP, drives a Ford Focus BEV and he loves that car.   There are many good people supporting battery development that also support hydrogen fuel cells but there are also many who have adopted an irrational “anti-hydrogen” stance based on emotion and ignorance.

Certain BEV advocates have fallen into the trap that RMP calls the “false dichotomy”. They fiercely attack hydrogen and demonstrate they’re threatened by it. The “false dichotomy” is a term RMP recently coined and is explained in our post here. A similar article was just a few weeks later published independently by riversimple in their post here. Riversimple called it the “false dilemma”. RMP shares the sentiment in the spirit of riversimple’s article as do many others supporting common sense fuel cell manufacturing. For a quick recap of what RMP calls the “false dichotomy”, it is yet another red herring argument that proposes BEVs and FCEVs are competing technologies that are mutually exclusive and only one technology can succeed and move forward in our vastly complex economy.  It in essence boils down to a black and white perspective that fails to see our world in its rich array of colors. The “false dichotomy” argument is espoused by anti-hydrogen advocates who think fuel cells threaten BEVs when in reality batteries and fuel cells will coexist and work together just like they do right now. Similar to the way RAM memory and hard drive memory work together on your computer, fuel cells and their battery cousins compliment each other and work well together as allies in a Hydrogen Economy. To learn more about the basics of fuel cells and how they’re similar and related to batteries, check out’s Fuel Cells 101 – Learning The Basics post.

Ford Focus BEV
Bill Hall who sits on the Board of Directors of drives a Ford Focus BEV and he loves it. It’s ok to support batteries as well as fuel cells if you care about the environment. The Ford Focus BEV has a 33.5 kWh battery for a rated range of 115 miles. It also has a 107 MPGe rating. It’s a terrific car for someone in the right market. Other markets might be better suited for FCEVs. BEVs and FCEVs can coexist peacefully to help us responsibly migrate away from crude oil. Click image to enlarge.

This post will focus on the red herring argument put forth by Dr. Ulf Bossel that making hydrogen from electricity is inefficient and therefore a “waste” of energy. Ironically, there are terawatt hours of electrical energy being wasted each year by not using that energy to make hydrogen.  The number of kWh wasted each year is also forecast go up as more clean renewable energy comes onto our grid. In the UK alone, according to ITM’s CEO, Dr Graham Cooley, 1TWh of electricity was curtailed in the past year that could have provided enough hydrogen to fuel 3 million cars to travel 350 miles.  It’s important to try to understand why anti-hydrogen folks think making zero emission hydrogen from water is not a smart use of electricity and therefore should not be done. The anti-hydrogen advocate argument goes like this: given a quantity of energy, it is more efficient to store that same quantity of energy in a battery rather than to create and store that same energy as hydrogen. The diagram shown below is used widespread on the Internet as the foundation to support this red herring anti-hydrogen argument.   There is much more, however, to the story of producing hydrogen from renewable energy than a lab experiment argument that blows out like a candle in the wind in the real world. RMP will explain in this post why Dr. Bossel’s graph and thesis statement is not credible for economic consideration. Larger quantities of energy than 100 kWh used for demonstration purposes must be considered and those quantities do not extrapolate to a high-voltage electricity grid with simple math. Geography, geopolitics, climate, socio-economics, storage capacities, human usage habits, and natural resources are but a few of several more considerations that cannot be excluded for any economic analysis if it is to be credible.

dr bossel
Dr. Ulf Bossel’s diagram has been used by anti-hydrogen advocates for years and today we are demonstrating how Dr. Bossel’s argument doesn’t hold up to scientific scrutiny. People who still use this document to support an anti-hydrogen agenda can visit this post to read how Dr. Bossel’s thesis is not credible.  When you see this diagram supporting an anti-hydrogen argument, share this link to debunk it.

Let’s assume the math put forth in Dr. Bossel’s diagram is accurate for argument’s sake. It shows 100 kilowatt hours (kWh) generated from a renewable source will have 69 kWh of useful energy transferred to a battery and 23 kWh transferred to your tank after efficiency losses to make H2, compress H2, transport H2, and put that H2 into a fuel cell vehicle.  When you couple the simple to follow mathematical diagram with Dr. Bossel’s credentials as a fuel cell consultant, anti-hydrogen propagandists rejoice in using his published papers to underpin their arguments against hydrogen. Bloggers like Fred Lambert who’s Editor in Chief for the Tesla admiration site Electrek and Zachary Shahan who’s Director & Chief Editor for the Tesla admiration site Clean Technica are more than happy to publish Dr. Bossel’s work to support their anti-hydrogen view points. Websites like Electrek and CleanTechnica attempt to peddle this type of junk science as credible information that can be used to write energy policy.  Fred Lambert posted this article using Dr. Bossel’s diagram on the same very same day I started working on this post your reading now. It goes to show that sites like Electrek & CleanTechnica are still currently publishing Dr. Bossel’s diagram to support their arguments against making hydrogen.  Dr. Bossel’s diagram has been propagated for years since he first published it along with his supporting paper “Does a Hydrogen Economy Make Sense” in 2006.

Dr. Bossel has published the same work explaining his thesis against the Hydrogen Economy in several different years and places but in this particular publication served by the AFDC (et tu AFDC?) we get the following quote that disqualifies Dr. Bossel’s work in the very first paragraph:

As there are no environmental or energetic advantages in producing hydrogen from natural gas or other hydrocarbons, we do not consider this option, although hydrogen can be chemically synthesized at relative low cost

Why would you exclude the #1 method by which approx 95% of H2 is currently made in a paper that is supposed to explain how Hydrogen Economy doesn’t make sense? Natural gas is a major part of the fossil fuel ramp down in the Hydrogen Economy and he has already disqualified his paper from serious consideration by saying natural gas production of H2 has been excluded from his analysis. Natural gas considerations would absolutely need to be included in a paper about the Hydrogen Economy. This point is a big one because any economic analysis must include every aspect and angle possible. An economic paper cannot rely on a keyhole analysis that distracts from the bigger picture especially when the single biggest current source of H2 production is ignored.   RMP will further demonstrate other examples of where this paper gets it wrong and how it in no way can be considered relevant to understanding how the economy or a high-voltage electricity grid works.

To Dr. Bossel’s credit RMP would like to acknowledge many good points he makes in his papers about using neutral hydrocarbons from “the biosphere” as he says and converting them to liquids like methanol. RMP has long supported using carbon neutral hydrocarbons to make liquids for economics of transport for longer distances (e.g. >200km). RMP does consider, however, those hydrocarbons as part of a Hydrogen Economy whereas Dr. Bossel tries to say carbon neutral synthetic hydrocarbons like methanol and other liquid H2 carriers like ammonia are separate from the Hydrogen Economy. In this regard RMP & Dr. Bossel are in agreement but simply use different semantics as RMP has written for years about using flared or vented natural gas for making methanol as that natural gas is otherwise considered a waste gas. Natural gas is flared and vented in massive oil fields & landfills around the world as a waste gas or nuisance gas but it could be economically captured as useful methanol to create jobs and reduce GHGs.   Read this post RMP published on October 27, 2015 in our Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly magazine as part of our leading coverage of Michigan’s hydrocarbon infrastructure and how RMP supports turning carbon neutral methane into methanol.

GasTechno is a company based in Walloon Lake Michigan that has a cost effective process to turn between 50k and 3000k cubic feet per day of natural gas into liquid methanol. Turning methane into methanol could potentially bring thousands of good paying jobs to States like North Dakota, Texas, Colorado, Michigan and many others where thousands of flare stacks burn off unwanted methane in the massive Bakken Shale oil field and other similar fields around the world. GasTechno’s product could also be deployed at farms, wastewater treatment facilities, and landfills. This type of methanol production would not even need to be subsidized like ethanol is, it would provide enough profit margin & incentive to create a large number of high paying jobs in logistics, construction, engineering, transportation, and administration. The jobs created would be permanent jobs. Methane and synthetic natural gas are certainly part of the Hydrogen Economy contrary to Dr. Bossel’s myopic definitions of a Hydrogen Economy in his varied but similarly consistent publications.

Dr. Bossel explains many challenges regarding migrating to a Hydrogen Economy in his publications. In mathematical terms Dr. Bossel makes good points and RMP has all along acknowledged challenges to developing Hydrogen infrastructure just as there are challenges to any energy infrastructure. RMP has always also talked about how challenges argued against a Hydrogen Economy can be overcome, lead to energy independence, turn energy export deficits into export surpluses, turn organic wastes into clean & carbon neutral fuels while reducing environmental pollution, and most importantly create high paying jobs for everyone.

Unfortunately Dr. Bossel’s good mathematical points in the paper are overshadowed by his myopic and narrow view of physics while ignoring other important facets of how a complex economy works. Dr. Bossel does not make a good case because he excludes too many considerations for his paper to carry merit.   Dr. Bossel’s papers have also lost relevancy given the rapid advances in renewable energy generation capacities that he lacked the foresight to see over approximately 10 years ago. The most active publishing years of Dr. Bossel’s anti-hydrogen arguments were 2005-2008. He demonstrates that he just does not understand how our energy grid works and where waste is really occurring. Dr. Bossel’s thesis statement is that converting water to hydrogen is a wasteful use of electricity. Ironically, we often have more generating capacity than we can use or transmit and we are curtailing electricity generation that Hydrogen production to easily soak up and save for cloudy and windless days and it’s wasteful to not create hydrogen because so much electricity is going unemployed. RMP will drive this point home throughout this rebuttal to Dr. Bossel’s thesis and we will look at data from various sources like CAISO to support RMP’s thesis argument. Economics is a complex subject and it’s imperative that all things are considered which is where Dr. Bossel’s arguments fail.

Like a pinhole aperture on a camera blocking nearly all light for a very specific photo shot to work, Dr. Bossel’s argument is ruined if the oculus is opened even the tiniest of bits. Any sound economic argument, however, must have the aperture cranked all the way open and stand up to broad sunlight scrutiny or it is has no credibility. Having laid down the thesis of why Dr. Bossel’s anti-hydrogen argument doesn’t work, let’s look at some real world examples and data supporting what RMP has said thus far.

duck chart electricity demand hydrogen
This graph gets its name for its duck-like shape that follows the hour by hour net demand that reflects human needs.  Net demand is high in the morning as people turn on their coffee makers, toast their breakfast bread, and blow dry their hair before heading off to work.  As people head off to work demand drops just when solar generation capacity is highest!  Notice the demand ramp between 3PM and 9PM of nearly 11MW!   When demand is low and electricity generation is high, we could turn wasted electricity into hydrogen to be used for later.   Batteries can play a part in helping climb steep demand ramps, but for long term storage, batteries cannot match hydrogen’s economic benefits.  Click image to enlarge.  Source: CAISO.  Click here to read CAISO’s explanation of what a duck curve tells us about managing a green grid.

Producing, compressing, and storing hydrogen might seem wasteful in a laboratory analysis, but the opposite is true in the real world. If you follow RMP on Twitter, you have seen tweets for years about “curtailment”. Curtailment of carbon zero renewable electricity is when wind & solar electricity generation capacity exceeds society’s immediate needs and the grid operator does not allow that electricity onto the grid. As written earlier, this is a major irony of anti-hydrogen arguments that say making hydrogen is wasteful.   Quite contrary to that mind numbing logic, terawatt hours are wasted in aggregate each year on grids around the globe because of not employing that capacity to store energy as hydrogen.

A good example of how governance of a major high-voltage electricity grid works can be understood by looking at the California ISO, hereafter CAISO. CAISO is led by an experienced Board of Governors and executive management team that set policies to ensure the reliable performance of the high-voltage electricity grid, open access to participants, and a transparent, competitive market for energy. The California ISO provides open and non-discriminatory access to the bulk of the state’s wholesale transmission grid, supported by a competitive energy market and comprehensive infrastructure planning efforts. CAISO publishes this short and straightforward document that in 4 short pages explains some fast facts about renewable energy and the “Duck Chart” that is stereotypical of any major high-voltage electricity grid. Within that document is a paragraph that RMP would like to key in on and highlight for our argument rebutting Dr. Bossel’s thesis. On the Over Supply Mitigation section on page 3 of the document, the first  paragraph reads:

Oversupply is when all anticipated generation, including renewables, exceeds the real-time demand.  The potential for this increases as more renewable energy is added to the grid but demand for electricity does not increase. This is a concern because if the market cannot automatically manage oversupply it can lead to overgeneration, which requires manual intervention of the market to maintain reliability. During oversupply times, wholesale prices can be very low and even go negative in which generators have to pay utilities to take the energy. But the market often remedies the oversupply situation and automatically works to restore the balance between supply and demand. In almost all cases, oversupply is a manageable condition but it is not a sustainable condition over time — and this drives the need for proactive policies and actions to avoid the situation.

RMP has been publishing a similar thesis point to CAISO’s oversupply mitigation policy for years.  RMP is at it’s core an organization dedicated to protecting freshwater natural resources by making better use of things that are otherwise considered waste. All of that wasted electricity could be employed easily, economically, and with proven technology if it were used to convert water into hydrogen. The argument that making, compressing, and storing hydrogen is 3 times less efficient than putting that same electricity into a battery is a red herring argument plain and simple because of this. There are tens of thousands of megawatt hours curtailed each month on California’s grid alone and RMP is predicting we will soon see over 100k megawatt hours curtailed in a single month in California.  California has so much renewable energy generation capacity being added to the grid each year the 100k MWh threshold in a single month could even be surpassed as early as 2018.  Furthermore, California is but a microcosm example of every other major high-voltage around the world.  Now let’s back our arguments up with data that can be verified by anyone with an Internet connection.

The California ISO keeps electricity curtailment statistics of renewable generation. Energy curtailed is wasted energy that could be put to use as stored hydrogen. As you can see in the graph, the trend is increasing amounts of wasted renewable energy each year.  The reason is more and more renewable energy coming on to the grid with relatively no change in electricity demand.  The situation as described by CAISO is “unsustainable”. Hydrogen is a great solution to store wasted electricity for grid leveling contrary to Dr. Bossel’s anti-hydrogen thesis. Click here to see the source of this graph.  Click image to enlarge.

CAISO has been keeping curtailment data records for years but has specifically started detailing curtailment increases in the past few years when renewable energy generation started rapidly integrating onto the California grid. The graph to the left depicts historical curtailment data of renewable generation since 2014 and can be accessed directly from this link. This graph demonstrates clearly the irony and opposite nature of Dr. Bossel’s incorrect thesis. If electricity is supposed to be wasted by making hydrogen, why then are we wasting so much electricity now? Dr. Bossel’s argument doesn’t make any sense, yet it has been used to mislead many people into an irrational anti-hydrogen stance.   Junk science is being used to brainwash people into being against clean and sustainable hydrogen production based on emotional and incorrect information. The truth is that electricity is being wasted by not making hydrogen.  All of these wasted MWh of electricity could be turned into hydrogen to balance the grid and take pressure off of it. Furthermore, the number of curtailed MWh is trending upward which means even more wasted MWh are forecasted for the future if we don’t employ proven water to hydrogen electrolysis assets on our grids around the world. NEL hydrogen has been in the clean energy production business since 1927.   NEL has been growing their business and creating jobs to bring sustainably produced hydrogen to market for 90 years.  NEL’s contributions to a sustainable grid about are about to grow by exponential sales figures in the coming years.  Here’s a great presentation of what NEL Hydrogen does that defies Dr. Bossel’s thesis.  NEL is creating  jobs with a solution that relieves pressure on aging grids with otherwise wasted or curtailed electricity generation from renewable sources.

Thankfully CAISO has been collecting and publishing hourly usage & curtailment data for years so we can use real world data to refute phony arguments about how producing hydrogen would waste electricity. Furthermore, even if you didn’t understand much about high-voltage electricity grids, you can clearly see a trend in the graph showing the number of MWh of renewable electricity curtailed going up each year as a result of more solar and wind generation capacity coming online each year. While Dr. Bossel’s thesis statement does not extrapolate from the laboratory out to the real world at all, RMP’s thesis statement that curtailed electricity MWh will continue to go up each year can be extrapolated to every grid around the world. This phenomenon will increase as we construct more and more clean renewable electricity generation each year like wind & solar. Hydrogen can be made cheaply and in unlimited quantities wherever there is generation capacity being curtailed or wasted. While batteries can play an important part of working together with fuel cells to help in ramping flexibility so grid operators like CAISO can react quickly to changes in electricity net demand, batteries on their own are not economical for large storage that can feed electricity into the grid for days, weeks, or months when renewable generation is weak and unreliable. This is especially true in major cities north of the 40th parallel that experience long cold winters when the skies are mostly overcast for months at a time.

hydrogen electrolysers
NEL has been making clean green hydrogen since 1927 (that’s 90 years!) Today, NEL can turn water into 100 tons of hydrogen per day! That hydrogen can be stored to power cars, trucks, busses, and our grid.  The best part is that the hydrogen can be produced with electricity that would otherwise be wasted or curtailed. If you want a green grid, you should support hydrogen for situations where batteries don’t make economic sense.  Click image to enlarge.  Source NEL.

Making hydrogen from otherwise wasted electricity generation capacity takes pressure off the grid with the growth of intermittent renewables. Fast charging like Tesla’s Super Charging sites, however, are virtually all on grid, which adds pressure to the grid while also relying on transmission lines that are vulnerable to our increasingly volatile weather. If transmission is disrupted by felled power lines, so too would grid charging transportation be disrupted until power is restored. Hydrogen allows us to balance the grid as well as go off the grid because H2 fueling stations provide off grid storage. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said here via Twitter on June 9, 2017 that “All Superchargers are being converted to solar/battery power. Over time, almost all will disconnect from the electricity grid.” The truth, however, is I can find zero evidence of even 1 single Supercharger that is off grid. Wikipedia says that two Superchargers use solar but the reference links used are not credible sources. If you know of a single Tesla Supercharger that is off grid, please drop a comment in the comment section to let us know where it is. Many things Elon Musk says do not seem to be based in reality and he has continued to lose credibility with miss after miss on every production forecast he makes. According to a download of the AFDC database of alternative fueling locations on 11/11/2017, there are 2,389 charging locations in the U.S. Tesla network and 366 of those are Super Charging locations. If it’s true that zero Superchargers are known to be off grid solar, Tesla has long way to go to get to 1% let alone 100%. Numbers don’t lie, people do. As each day passes, more and more anti-hydrogen propaganda gets exposed as false. If you know of an off grid Tesla Supercharger location please let RMP know its location and a data source to prove it so we can update this file and calculate the percentage of Tesla Superchargers that are off grid.

There is a need to address one last point against Dr. Bossel’s anti-hydrogen thesis and this last point also applies more broadly to all anti-hydrogen activists in general. We need to see a plan of how an anti-hydrogen activist’s grid would work that can be peer reviewed. There was a long ramp to get into our current situation with base load coal plants still burning and belching SOx, NOx, COx, Hg, & PMs into our air and water around the clock. The ramp down of fossil fuels to a fossil free society must be explained in a manner that can be peer reviewed with substantive explanations.  We need an explanation that includes numbers and support not empty ad hominem attacks.  How are we going to decommission coal plants and replace the base load power they supply without using fuel cells? In the Hydrogen Economy, the Hydrogen Council, which is meeting in Bonn Germany in this month, just published this “Hydrogen Scaling Up” document that explains initiatives in detail and is open for peer review. The United States Department of Energy has a whole section on their website called H2@Scale explaining how the Hydrogen Economy works and is also peer reviewable public information. With so many credible sources publishing peer reviewable plans for the Hydrogen Economy, where are the plans showing a sustainable economy without hydrogen or fuel cells?

2016 Aggregate electricity generation data from the EIA shows that of 4.08 trillion kWh produced in the USA, over 30% of that production (1.24 trillion kWh) came from coal generation. There has to be a ramp to get down from where we are today. We need to see a plan from those who think a switch gets magically flipped and those 1.24 kWh of base load power are replaced. The same replacement explanation is needed to explain how natural gas (@ 1.38 trillion kWh), and nuclear (@ 803 billion kWh) would be replaced. How do you replace this generation without fuel cells? Show us the plan. If you were to cut out fossil fuel generation overnight, the effects would be devastating with a recent case & point being the island of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.   As of November 13, 2017, still half of Puerto Rico’s grid remains off line. People remain in desperate need of energy in order to have clean water and to generate power for their hospitals.  In a Hydrogen Economy with a distributed grid, power outages would be less wide spread. Natural gas lines generally run underground and can feed SOFCs and PAFCs that are powerful enough to provide electricity and hot water for hospitals & hotels at upwards of 85% efficiency. Natural gas lines are much less likely to be taken out by natural disasters like above ground power lines. If you have a BEV in Puerto Rico, you might be part of 50% of the population that has not been able to charge it since September. People in Puerto Rico at the date of this publication are still desperate for gasoline to power their vehicles. These serious issues deserve serious consideration.

2016 USA total electricity generation by source from the EIA. Approx 65% of 2016 electricity in the USA came from fossil fuels. We can help ramp down fossil fuel usage and imported oil by using wasted excess electricity to make carbon zero hydrogen. Click here for data source.  Click image to enlarge.

RMP compiled data from the EIA here to make a quick graph shown at the left to demonstrate the breakdown of our USA electricity generation. Total renewable generation makes up 16.1% of all generation of 4.08 trillion kWh while approximately 65% of that generation came from fossil fuels.   Of the 16.1% generation from renewable sources, hydropower leads the way at 6.5%. Wind comes in second at 5.6% and solar registers at less than 1% !!! The notion that we switch to BEVs only and put solar panels on our roofs and we’re all done is not a credible position to have.   Using BEVs and solar panels on our rooftops is a great idea and RMP supports those pioneers who are looking to help make the world a better place, but those efforts do not scratch the surface of the challenges we face in order to eliminate fossil fuels from our economy. We have to be much more thoughtful than that. There is no flipping a switch to get there and we need to see a thoughtful white paper from someone other than Dr. Bossel, because RMP has thoroughly debunked his myopic thesis.

RMP supports natural gas electricity generation coupled with molten carbonate fuel cells to capture CO2. RMP also supports CO2 sequestration for secondary oil recovery. RMP supports natural gas and liquefied natural gas infrastructure as priority #1 to ramp down from fossil fuels and eliminate CO2 in the coming decade. This means targeting coal and oil burning as the first fossil fuels for elimination from society as the Hydrogen Economy ramps upward and fossil fuels ramp down.   From there, the ramp down of fossil natural gas can begin as fossil natural gas is replaced by carbon neutral natural gas that comes from our farms, sewage, landfill waste, and other biomass.   By using SOFCs, PAFCs, and MCFCs for stationary generation, and PEMFCs for our transportation sector, we can gradually and responsibly migrate to a carbon neutral and even carbon negative Hydrogen Economy while creating high paying long term jobs. Many fuel cell systems will work together with batteries of some kind. Again, RMP supports battery manufacturing as an important and useful technology.   Battery advocates and fuel cell advocates can work together to eliminate coal and crude oil. We do not need to be at odds or adversarial as we look to generate a sustainable energy future for our children.

And that’s how the debunking of Dr. Bossel’s anti-hydrogen thesis ends. RMP does not mean to pick on Dr. Bossel in a personal way but must stand up to protect the truth when someone gets the science wrong. Dr. Bossel has made good contributions to the science of physics and makes good points about the energy density issues of methanol and ammonia versus those of compressed or liquefied H2. To those points, RMP finds common ground with Dr. Bossel. But, where economic science is concerned, Dr. Bossel’s thesis quickly falls apart and becomes not credible.

Dr. Bossel’s failure to include natural gas in his analysis shot his argument in the foot from the very first paragraph. By failing to demonstrate knowledge of how a high-voltage electricity grid works, Dr. Bossel further disqualifies himself as a credible source.

As I finish this post I’m reminded of a quote from Charles Montesquieu’s famous book the Persian Letters that characterizes Dr. Bossel’s status in the energy debate very well. The quote reads as follows:

‘We have a maxim in France,’ he replied, ‘never to give high rank to officers who have spent their time patiently waiting in junior positions.  We consider that they will become narrow-minded by attention to detail, and that, because they are accustomed to little things, they will have become incapable of anything greater.  We believe that if at the age of thirty a man does not possess the qualities required of a general, he will never possess them; that the man who lacks the vision to imagine a battlefield several leagues in extent in its different aspects, and who lacks the presence of mind to use every advantage in victory and every resource in defeat, will never acquire these talents.  It is for this reason that we have positions of preeminence for the sublimely great men to whom Heaven has granted the heart, as well as the ability, of a hero, and subordinate posts for those whose talents are subordinate too.  Among them we include men who have grown old in unimportant wars; they will succeed, at best, only in what they have been doing all their lives; they should not be overburdened when they are beginning to weaken.

The quote is a very appropriate one to describe Mr. Bossel’s work while acknowledging his contributions to science. If we pan through mud and gravel of some of Mr. Bossel’s thesis points, we find bits and chunks of gold. The physics, chemistry, and mathematics described in Mr. Bossel’s work are fascinating and valuable contributions to the scientific community.   Much of Dr. Bossel’s work helps further the advancement of the impending Hydrogen Economy regardless of the fact that his thesis simply misses the mark.   RMP loves tackling topics of economics, as it is the trickiest of all the sciences. In cases like this, the complexity of the subject of economics has demonstrated how an otherwise intelligent man can only see a narrow part of a much wider theatre of considerations.

You will always notice this key piece of information missing from what I call the “anti-hydrogen” community: there is no substantive plan for providing the decarbonized heat, electrical, and chemical needs that society demands. Hydrogen solves the heat, electricity, and chemical needs of society with infinite substantive examples; this is demonstrated in RMP’s entire body of research which is published on this website.   Empty attacks on the merit of the Hydrogen Economy all have the common denominator of not having an alternative holistic plan that solves the needs of a demanding world.   People who make anti-hydrogen arguments and comments need to address these questions before they can have any credibility whatsoever:

  • Show us your plan for a fossil free energy solution that supports every citizen of society that does not include fuel cells?
  • Fossil fuels made up approximately 65% of US Electricity generation in 2016, how would your plan that does not include fuel cells or carbon dioxide sequestration ramp that number down to zero?
  • Wastes like human sewage, animal farm waste, landfill wastes, and other biomass can be used as feedstocks to create synthetically manufactured carbon neutral and even carbon negative natural gas and hydrogen.  If these feedstocks are not capitalized on, they decompose into GHGs and toxic leachate that threatens our drinking water. These biomass feedstocks, if put to use in a Hydrogen Economy, would not only eliminate those wastes from polluting our air and water like they do currently, they would create high paying jobs and reduce our import export deficit with countries that export oil to the USA. How would your plan that does not include hydrogen fuel cells address these waste concerns from an environmental and an economic perspective?

Feel free to tell RMP where we you think we got it wrong and please leave a comment whether you support or disagree with RMP.   Click here to follow our Twitter feed and click here to like RMP on facebook.  Thanks for reading and please share this post on your social media by clicking the share links below.  If you can afford to support our Michigan based 501(c) non-profit organization in a financial way please click here to make a tax deductible donation (only deductions made in the USA are tax deductible but we would welcome international contributions too).  If you would like to join us and publish your articles right here on  RMP’s website and you can support your arguments for green energy with verifiable references, please contact RMP by leaving a comment below or writing to us at  We would love to publish more content that debunks junk science.  Thanks for reading.

3 thoughts on “Debunking Dr. Bossel’s Anti-Hydrogen Thesis”

  1. Important issues. Difficult to read.
    The main facts and points are mixed up and confused with comments about the Anti Hydrogen people.
    Ken points should be stated simply and directly without a lot of unnecessary comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *