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Letters to the Editor: ‘No word on where the Hindenburg will be parked’ -- readers reject hydrogen plant

Los Angeles plans to burn hydrogen to generate electricity at the Scattergood Generating Station.
Los Angeles plans to burn hydrogen to generate electricity at the Scattergood Generating Station.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: If we want to protect local neighborhoods from the burning of natural gas or hydrogen to produce electricity, think of stored hydrogen as a battery. (“L.A. is shutting down its largest gas plant — and replacing it with an unproven hydrogen project,” Feb. 8)

The current plan is to use excess solar and wind to produce hydrogen for burning later, with the burning to occur at the Scattergood Generating Station near El Segundo. This would require moving the hydrogen — no simple process without risk — from solar fields to the city.

Why not keep the hydrogen “batteries” at distant solar fields or wind farms, where hydrogen could be produced using excess renewable energy? Then, burn the hydrogen there when the sun’s not shining or the wind’s not blowing or when peak power is needed, and transport the electricity over existing power lines.

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This would eliminate the need for moving hydrogen and for burning anything locally.

In the long run, no energy production should occur in cities, except for rooftop solar. That doesn’t even need power lines. Maybe we could even re-purpose local power station land for much-needed housing.

Fred Forster, Corona del Mar

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To the editor: “Green hydrogen” is the new “clean coal.”

It would seem that the parties promoting the conversion of Scattergood into a hydrogen-burning power plant never took any physics or chemistry in high school. If they had, they would know that burning hydrogen to generate electricity is the least efficient use of this gas — and even “efficient” uses of it all remain net-energy losers due to the “losses from transference.”

In other words, you never get as much energy back out of it as you put in to produce it. Splitting water molecules to produce hydrogen takes a high amount of energy.

Example: Given the same amount of energy, a battery-electric system for cars will travel four times as far as a hydrogen-powered fuel-cell system for cars. Burning hydrogen for fuel is worse by an order of several magnitudes.

J. Marvin Campbell, Culver City

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To the editor: The Southern California Gas Co., which messed up the Aliso Canyon storage facility near Porter Ranch in 2015 and mismanaged the supply chain this winter to bring you astronomical gas bills, wants to build a hydrogen pipeline and storage facility in Los Angeles.

No word on where the Hindenburg will be parked.

Roger Walton, North Hills

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