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Investor Trevor St Baker rubbishes 'dumb' hydrogen supporters

Business

Queensland energy investor Trevor St Baker, who has made a fortune from picking the market, has rubbished hydrogen and described government advisers who back the fuel as dumb.

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St Baker is a major investor in energy having founded ERM, which he sold to Shell, while also backing electric vehicle fast charging company Tritium and battery materials manufacturer Novonix.

But St Baker also owns the Vales Point coal fired power station in NSW.

In response to comments from Elon Musk about the viability of hydrogen as a base load energy source, St Baker was sceptical and questioned the intellectual capacity of its believers.

“The idea that electricity produced from hydrogen produced by electrolysing water using electricity could power e-transportation at a lower cost than the original electricity is so “futuristic” it is showing up the mental capacities of many hydrogen enthusiasts,” he said.

“If it attracts private capital from venture capitalists without any experience in low-cost electricity gentailing (generator-retailing) and in e-transport clean electricity energy retailing, let them risk their investment, but how it could attract any grants of government funds could only be the result of advice from the dumbest government advisers.”

The Palaszczuk Government is pouring millions into hydrogen as are private sector investors including Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest who is currently building a factory in Gladstone that will produce hydrogen electrolysers.

The Federal Government recently announced a $45 million grant to Forrest’s Gladstone project.

Musk, who owns electric vehicle company Tesla, also rubbished hydrogen, describing it as “the most dumb thing I could possibly imagine for energy storage.”

In an interview with the Financial Times, Musk said as a means of energy storage it was a bad choice because it would need “gigantic tanks” to store it in a liquid form, even bigger tanks to store it as a gas and the efficiency of electrolysis was poor.

However, hydrogen has powerful backers apart from Forrest, who see it as the only viable option to get to net zero.

Companies like Korea Zinc’s Sun Metals as well as a host of Japanese companies are making big bets on hydrogen, which can be made with renewable energy to create a fuel the has no CO2 emissions.

However, its cost of production makes it uncommercial with current technology.

Ampol also has thrown its weight behind hydrogen. It has signed a heads of agreement with Fusion Fuel Green to develop green hydrogen at the Lytton oil refinery in Brisbane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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