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The Emperor's New Hydrogen Economy

A book by Darryl McMahon


Last updated 2021.10.13


We Have a Winner!!

Dateline: San Francisco CA - Thursday May 12, 2011 - The International Green Book Festival announced the results of its competition, and awarded The Emperor's New Hydrogen Economy with Runner-up (second place) in the non-fiction category, coming in ahead of entries by many notable 'green' authors such as David Suzuki.


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The Emperor's New Hydrogen Economy in the news

October 2021

It's a long time since I revisited my book or this part of the website. It was always my intention that the book was strong enough, backed copiously with solid research citations, that it would would stand on its own. In the past year, I have seen a resurgence in the hydrogen hype, unaccompanied by any substantive advances in the technology. Other than a 'hail mary' by the nuclear and fossil fuel industries (notably fracked natural gas) to soak up more taxpayer money to greenwash their dismal businesses, I don't understand the play. The technology is substantially the same as it was 150 years ago, with incremental improvements. But the fundamentals of the laws of thermodynamics and economics have not changed.

I have also had multiple requests to update and republish the book. I recently went through the book again, and it has held up remarkably well over 15 years. I will happily update the book if someone wants to pay for my time to do so. Otherwise, not interested. It's still a solid read, educational and occasionally entertaining as is.

I was asked to do an update presentation to a group of which I am a member starting a year ago. I relented this past spring, but have not published the slide deck until now, because I did not have the time to deal with the flame wars that would ensue. I HAVE been here before.

Anyway, with winter approaching, I may have a bit more time for this, as COVID-19 seems to continue pushing off work on my other projects to infinity. Here's the slide deck, and possibly in future some additional articles which shine the reality light on the hydrogen hype. (Intermittent and as time permits)

The Emperor's New Hydrogen Economy - Update 15 years on (March, 2021) (PowerPoint PPSX file)

How green is blue hydrogen? April 2021

TL;DR "This best-case scenario for producing blue hydrogen, using renewable electricity instead of natural gas to power the processes, suggests to us that there really is no role for blue hydrogen in a carbon- free future. Greenhouse gas emissions remain high, and there would also be a substantial consumption of renewable electricity, which represents an opportunity cost. We believe the renewable electricity could be better used by society in other ways, replacing the use of fossil fuels."

This is a bit of a slog - about 3 hours - but it's an eye-opening reality check from the October 28, 2021 conference on Hydrogen (what's needed to make the hydgrogen economy real). TL;DR - it's not ready, funding is a huge problem because lenders see the technology as very risky, and while taking climate change seriously is necessary to give the hydrogen economy a push forward, the case for hydrogen as a climate change solution is shaky. Industry promoters still can't bring themselves to give straight answers about GHG emissions, continually blurring the impacts of grey vs. blue ve. green hydrogen. A bit problem for green hydrogen is that there simply isn't enough primary green energy available to power the electrolysis. (My addendum: because it takes 7 times as much energy to power the green hydrogen energy cycle as it does to use green primary energy to charge batteries and power homes, industry and transportation. See my March 2021 PowerPoint deck referenced above.)
Hydrogen - Is it rocket science? (Wikborg|Rein)

October 31st, 2021 - It is not only All Hallows Eve, but scarier still, it is also the eve of the Conference of the Parties 26th annual gathering of the apologists and deniers (COP 26) creating massive GHGs from jet travel for the self-congratulatory PR fest for the powers that be, and where true advocates and problem solvers are left outside the gates. I'll state now that the end-of-event statement will once again mouth platitudes about the scope of the problem, that we must act now, and then serve up zero hard commitments that any government or corporate entity will have to stand to account for, or suffer any penalties for simply continuing the charade as staged regularly since Rio. Happy to have saved you some time with this spoiler.


The Emperor's New Hydrogen Economy now cited by [*dead link: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/resources/db/higheredcatalogs/H2.do?state=book&bookId=195" the U.S. Department of Energy as a textbook on Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology

Book review in the Spring 2009 Greenlife Ottawa magazine

Book review at Journey to Forever 2008

Book Review in Current Events magazine (Electric Auto Association) June/July 2007

The Oil Drum article, Kyoto, Canadians, Energy and the Environment 2007.02.22

Autobloggreen article on The Emperor's New Hydrogen Economy 2007.01.13

The Green Majority (CIUT radio 89.5 FM Toronto) 2006.12.29
(interview starts at about 32:30 into the broadcast)

Canadian Newsblog Interview 2006.12.23

Article in the Ottawa Citizen 2006.12.15 (reprinted in Montreal Gazette 2007.01.08)

More News


A Local Review

The Emperor's New Hydrogen Economy by Darryl McMahon

This book is a great read for the energy conscious person who is concerned with the environment and how ours and future generations will cope with our depleting fossil fuels. At present, McMahon believes hydrogen is not the answer. He reviews the many ways that hydrogen can be produced.

McMahon points out that although hydrogen is an exceptional environmentally friendly fuel, its production uses fossil fuels which contribute to global warming. Hydrogen is not viable at present but can be a very clean and efficient 'future fuel' when technology finds ways of manufacturing it using alternative energy sources.

With the world's fossil fuel supply quickly running out, the author uses the latter portion of the book to suggest ways of conserving energy. This section is a must read for everyone who wants to use less energy and save money at the same time.
( Peter Bayfield )


The Personal Energy Plan ¤ Browse the book ¤ More News
Book Updates¤ About the Title ¤ On Being an Author


Edmonton (Alberta) Outlets for the Emperor's New Hydrogen Economy

Audrey's Books 10702 Jasper Avenue NW

North Bay (Ontario) Outlets for The Emperor's New Hydrogen Economy

[Link has bitrotted: http://www.gulliversbookstore.com] Gulliver's Books 157 Main Street West

Ottawa Outlets for The Emperor's New Hydrogen Economy

Check your favourite bookstore to get your copy of The Emperor's New Hydrogen Economy to prepare yourself for a future of rising energy prices.

Arbour Environmental Shoppe (800 Bank Street)

Ridemore 456 McArthur (at St. Laurent)

Perfect Books (258 Elgin Street, near MacLaren)

(If your favourite store for new books does not have The Emperor's New Hydrogen Economy, ask them to get it for you.)


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