Oilpan4 wrote:Is there a way to liberate hydrogen that's more efficient than the steam reforming of natural gas?
One of the most promising I have read about is (very) high temperature electrolysis but I think it awaits advances in metallurgy to handle the high temps at reasonable cost over prolonged use. It would appear to be a natural fit for Solar thermal.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-temp ... ectrolysis
Hydrogen is not idiocy per se, although the usual discussions are.
If electricity is the main energy source used to make it -- don't. Use the electricity directly
If fossils are used to make it --- just don't.
If the hydrogen is used preferentially to make electricity -- don't. The conversion losses are too high and reliable, inexpensive fuel cells are no where on the horizon.
HOWEVER, hydrogen is almost a drop in replacement for NG, and its natural role is for heating.
Once hydrogen can be made efficiently it can be long term electricity storage, and heating when electrically driven heat pumps are inefficient.