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F1 and FIA form hydrogen working group


F1 is working with the FIA and the Extreme E electric racing series in a bid to bring hydrogen power to motorsport.

In fact, in 2025, Extreme E, which features teams 'owned' by three world champions - Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, and Nico Rosberg - will rebrand as Extreme H as the series switches from electric to hydrogen power.

Also, from 2026, Le Mans, the proving ground for numerous technical innovations over the years, will feature a class for cars running combustion engines powered by hydrogen and single fuel cell technology, with the aim of having the entire top category powered by hydrogen from 2030.

"Our sport has a tradition of bringing new technologies to the forefront of public perception in incredibly short timescales," said Pat Symonds, F1's chief technical officer, who will head the new hydrogen working group with the FIA's single-seater director Nikolas Tombazis, and Extreme E technical director Mark Grain.

"With climate change mitigation at the forefront of everyone's mind, we are committed to promoting sustainability," he continued, "and therefore need to explore all areas of decarbonisation of the mobility sector. This must include sustainable liquid hydrocarbon fuels, electrification, and hydrogen.

"This Working Group enables a collaboration which will allow us to gain first-hand experience and contribute to the understanding and development of the many aspects of hydrogen propulsion that Extreme H will embrace."

"The FIA Technical Department has experience and know-how in the area of hydrogen technology which we will bring to the Working Group, along with sporting, safety, and regulatory expertise," added Tombazis.

"As is currently the case across the entire FIA motorsport portfolio, we will take learnings from this collaboration for the benefit of our sport and mobility."

"It's a ground-breaking initiative," said Grain. "We look forward to collaborating with Formula 1 and Pat both technically and operationally, as we continue to champion new technologies and break boundaries on behalf of motorsport, with hydrogen at the forefront."


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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 12/12/2023 15:00

Thanks very much for your reply. A clear insight into a complex issue."

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2. Posted by kenji, 12/12/2023 12:28

"@MossMan....thanks for the comment. China currently operates 1142 coal fired power stations and in '23 they completed two new stations per week for an additional 104 units. They are the worlds biggest emitter yet they are a'developing nation and enjoy non participatory status in the global 'cash con'. They must be having a great big laugh at the West's expense. One of the major headaches for the West is what to do with discarded wind farm components, currently being buried!! Massive problems. Not only do I treat anything emanating from the UN with serious scepticism but I seriously doubt the ability of humankind to change/alter global weather systems and patterns. There are many highly qualified people who share that belief. The science is not in 100%. "

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3. Posted by MossMan, 12/12/2023 11:29

"@kenji: "the Chinese. This vast country claims to be a 'developing nation' and as such excludes itself from the 'climate race'" - yet this vast country is also the largest market for / producer of solar, wind, EVs, etc. Despite all the environmental rhetoric against them they are actually pioneering and rapidly doing something about it. For example, yes they had/have a lot of coal power - but for every coal plant being opened there are multiples of solar or windfarms. They are also switching entire city bus networks to electric power overnight (literally) and electric is where their investment is heaviest."

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4. Posted by MossMan, 12/12/2023 11:22

"@elsiebc... "Why on earth would such a successful racing series drop the propulsion of the future for a technology that was ditched decades ago by almost all of the auto manufacturers after our governments determined what we were going to buy?" because Toyota management has a weird pathological hatred of electric-only and the fossil-fuel industry is lobbying for all it's worth. It's the last gasp."

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5. Posted by kenji, 11/12/2023 23:27

"@ Dirt....many thanks for an informative and educating response. Enjoyed that."

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6. Posted by Dirt, 11/12/2023 16:11


Remember, you asked for it... <cracks knuckles> ;)

Hydrogen in my field is primarily used to produce liquid ammonia and urea-based granular or liquid fertilizer.

From a very high level, the traditional, "dirty" production of gaseous hydrogen (H2) involves combining natural gas (CH4) with steam (H2O) and using a catalyst to convert the mixture into H2 and carbon dioxide (CO2) gases. The CO2 is vented (current practice) and the H2 is then combined with nitrogen gas (N2) and converted with a different catalyst into liquid ammonia (NH3). The NH3 is then sold as a liquid product or further converted into urea (CH4N2O) and ultimately sold as granular or liquid fertilizer.

The established technology used to produce hydrogen is called Steam Methane Reforming (SMR). The CO2 produced with this technology is more difficult to extract in the quality needed for sequestration because it comes off in a downstream process, but it is possible. I'll spare you the technical details. For the newer hydrogen plants being discussed a newer Autothermal Reforming (ATR) technology is now commonly available (but not widely used yet) which produces pure CO2 as a byproduct gas as part of the initial reforming process, which makes it easier to handle. ATR technology can capture up to 99.9% of the CO2 produced converting natural gas to hydrogen.

The carbon sequestration by itself is relatively straight forward and doesn't involve new technology. For older SMR plants one could capture the CO2 currently being vented, but it would involve plant upgrades to capture the CO2 and, possibly, further process it to a purity level that would allow it to be sequestered. That would take lots of $$$ for zero saleable product, so it's extremely unlikely to happen unless forced by legislation. For the new Blue hydrogen ATR plants being designed, sequestration simply involves compressing the byproduct CO2 gas to well storage pressure levels and injecting the gas into a CO2 well. The possible hang-up in either case is finding a well that can hold the CO2 and, subsequently, permitting the well which can take years. Then there's the pipeline you'll need to transport the CO2 from the production plants to the wells. It'll take a while.

In the context of "clean" hydrogen, the predominant use will likely be hydrogen in fuel cells to support green climate initiatives, though liquid ammonia and fertilizer are also viable downstream products. The plant I'm working on is producing gaseous hydrogen to be liquified for use in hydrogen fuel cells for heavy goods vehicles (over the road trucking), plus liquid ammonia and urea for product sales. To be clear, fuel cell trucks are aren't on the road yet, but the technology is there and the industry only needs a motivated company to kick off fuel cell truck manufacturing on a large scale.

All that said, the US legislation stops counting energy and CO2 at the production "gate" where the product is sold to an end user. For practical reasons, hydrogen will most often be liquified for transport and storage reason. The refrigeration and compression process for liquification is all downstream of the gate, and involves huge quantities of electricity which may or may not be clean. What you end up with is "clean" hydrogen that may be clean in name only, because to use it requires further processing not considered by the legislation.

As for using hydrogen gas in combustion turbines/engines, it's possible, but the technology is not mature yet. Hydrogen is a very fast burning gas and you can't simply replace natural gas with hydrogen as a fuel in a power plant without substantial upgrades to, or even outright replacement of, your combustion turbines. While almost all turbine manufacturers are working on hydrogen combustors, there are very, very few who have the technology on the market. In essence, hydrogen combustion turbines exist in theory, but not in practice. It'll likely be 10 years before we see significant use of hydrogen as a power plant fuel.

I have no idea about hydrogen as an auto fuel, but given the technical combustion problems to solve, and the safety risk of highly compressed and highly flammable hydrogen gas in the context of consumer automobiles, I'd wager hydrogen for fuel cells will win out over hydrogen for combustion engines."

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7. Posted by Spindoctor, 11/12/2023 10:56

Thanks for your "insider" view. I'm pleased to hear that in USA\Canada at least there are currently environmental protections in place. I suspect a Trump or extreme Republican presidency might change that...
I've always assumed that without cheap fusion power, "cracking" water for hydrogen would largely happen where there's lots of Solar and\or reliable wind....

I'm rather surprised to hear that Carbon Sequestration is so far advanced as you suggest. In UK\Europe it is still seems at a pretty experimental POC stage.

Can I ask (just out of curiosity) what the intended uses are for the hydrogen produced in Plants you're working on. In UK a lot of noise is being made about replacement of Domestic Natural Gas, with a suggestion that it might also fuel private cars. I've always thought that Hydrogen is more suited to large scale transport (trains etc) and\or heating\process in large scale industrial applications.

I'd very much appreciate your thoughts..."

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8. Posted by kenji, 11/12/2023 1:36

"@ Spindoctor...I'm confused? I prefer a good Pinot Noir to the UN labelled Kool Aid currently on offer.

@ elsiebc...good post. Agree.

@ Dirt....interesting to get comments from active participants in the industry. Am following the hydrogen activities of Porsche/Siemens et al in their Chilean enterprise. Fascinating project."

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9. Posted by elsiebc, 10/12/2023 23:33

"@Spindoctor correction: Climate Science has not been subjected to more intense scrutiny than almost any other branch of science; vast sums have been spent on quasi-scientific institutes being heavily funded by governments and interested parties that seek to prove only one thing, the link between manmade (and cow farts) CO2 & other gases & global temperature rise.
Short term models of a couple decades are not forecasts and they've been in place long enough to witness their validity. I've been to Manhattan several times since its been underwater. I don't even wear my galoshes.
And regarding those few wealthy idiots, they're in the driver's seat, making the rules for the rest of us. And dont forget the other less wealthy idiots that sail halfway across the world because she's so concerned about the planet's future. And how did she get home? How dare she!

And nobody bites the hand that feeds them. As a musician and architectural photographer, I'm not going to start telling people about the evils of music or that all construction should be halted so I don't take much stock of what people "in the industry" have to say. I just observe and use common sense."

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10. Posted by Dirt, 10/12/2023 14:19


I'll add one point regarding Blue hydrogen, and that is that the CO2 produced during its production in the future will likely be sequestered, and thus not be emitted to the atmosphere. The hydrogen hub legislation in the US includes the CO2 produced and the "cleanliness" of the electricity consumed within the tax credit calculations. If one builds a Blue hydrogen plant creating Blue hydrogen from natural gas without sequestering the CO2 produced and using "dirty" electricity to power the process, one forfeits most or all of the tax credits.

I am involved in a proposal for just such a plant and we've spent months working to eliminate the plant's carbon footprint and have it down to almost zero. It is difficult, but certainly achievable with motivation and $$$. Most of the future Blue hydrogen plants in the US will likely follow similar models with similarly low carbon footprints to maximize the tax credits.

As for Green hydrogen and its similarly large (if not larger) energy requirements, the gentleman sitting next to me is working a Green plant in Canada similar to my Blue plant in the US and he is jumping through myriad hoops to keep the electricity supply clean else the project will not be viable. I'd wager it's easier in practice achieve carbon neutrality with a Blue plant than a Green plant due to the relative ease of sequestering CO2 vs. the difficulty in sourcing reliable 24 hr/day 365 day/yr carbon free electricity."

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11. Posted by Spindoctor, 10/12/2023 12:41

You seem a bit confused. On the one hand discounting Climate change (caused by global warming) as some kind of scam, but on the other calling-out a few wealthy idiots who contribute a lot more than their fair share to it & engaging in a diatribe about the evil Chinese...

Aaah yes, the scientific method. You're quite correct inasmuch as it is dialectical & relies on hypotheses constantly to be tested against reality\data. Climate Science has probably been subjected to more intense scrutiny than almost any other branch of science; with vast sums spent on quasi-scientific institutes being heavily funded to attack it's integrity. Thus far all have failed to undermine the link between increasing CO2 & other gases & global temperature rise. If anything the models have underestimated those effects.
Global temperature rise on its own might not be an issue. But temperature rise brings with it changes to weather. As all fans of the IC engine will know heat & energy are intimately linked and the more energy you put into the earth's atmosphere, the more "weather" you tend to get out & that's before we factor in matters such as melting icecaps, changes in Earth's albedo etc.

"Climate models" aren't about short-term prediction - that's called a weather forecast.

As to conspiracy theories about wealth-transfer to poorer countries, you're welcome to your opinion, but please don't discount the science behind climate change as part of your reaction to that.
As for Bezos et al, these guys are the poster boys of the "greed is good" system which took root in the 1980s. By funding research they're simply covering as many bases as possible, hoping they'll never be personally affected by the consequences."

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12. Posted by kenji, 10/12/2023 0:16

"@Elsiebc. you have correctly identified the hypocrites amingst us as those who are able to bypass scrutoiny but you somehow forgot to add to the list of major polluters, and I mean, the really bad dudes, the Chinese. This vast country claims to be a 'developing nation' and as such excludes itself from the 'climate race'. China dwarfs the USA by over 100% in CO2 emissions and contributes just under 30% of global total [July '23 ] They have the worlds largest standing army and can afford sophisticated defence mechanisms including vast arrays of spacecraft and other space systems in place. Yet they are classified as a Developing Nation under the auspices of the UN/Guterres socialist clique. When facts like these emerge the UN says nothing, does nothing and we all have to pay.... like $75 for a 350G rib eye......really."

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13. Posted by Editor, 09/12/2023 19:03

""How passionate are the ones telling us that we must change our lives while they continue to take such risks as buying multi million dollar beach front properties, catering extravagant steak dinners, and criss-crossing the globe in private jets."

Bang on!

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14. Posted by elsiebc, 09/12/2023 16:42

"In Introduction to Physical Sciences class in 9th grade we learned about the scientific method. Part of that is forming a hypothesis and then testing that hypothesis. If the test fails to prove the hypothesis you either discard the hypothesis or alter it and retest. I have yet to see a climate model make an accurate short term prediction. Now I do know a couple folks that may discount the 10 day forecast in favor of the Farmer's Almanac, but I also know folks that swear by the wooly bears to predict the winter. And if you haven't been to Manhattan since 2017 at least use some common sense. The answers for global warming, rebranded "climate change" so that it stays relevant regardless of direction, as kenji pointed out, always involves transferring wealth. That part wasn't covered in IPS so pardon my skepticism. The other thing is how passionate are the ones telling us that we must change our lives while they continue to take such risks as buying multi million dollar beach front properties, catering extravagant steak dinners, and criss-crossing the globe in private jets. If you really believed that striking matches and tossing them towards thatched roofs could send the town into total conflagration, wouldn't you stop doing that while trying to get the rest of the townspeople to stop, too? Jeff Bezos' new yacht produces greenhouse gases at the rate of 447 average Americans. But it's okay because he gives a lot of money to climate research. Like I said, I must have been absent that day in IPS class."

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15. Posted by kenji, 09/12/2023 14:12

"I'm with the 'Tyrebiter' here. Some people tend to ignore the fact that we 'exist in a dynamic environment' and as such climate variation is with us as the most constant of constants. Yesterday was different to today etc etc etc. Hidden under the guise of 'climate change' is the UN/Guterres agenda which is to effect the greatest transfer of wealth that has ever occurred from rich nations to the poorest. being This is all being done under the guise of Climate Change. Yes, we all need to be constantly looking for ways and means of cleaning up our varoius acts when it comes to pollution. No one would argue with that being a very worthy cause. "

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