Unless hydrogen is “green” hydrogen, or all CO2 produced is…

unless-hydrogen-is-“green”-hydrogen,-or-all-co2-produced-is…

Unless hydrogen is “green” hydrogen, or all CO2 produced is…

Unless hydrogen is “green” hydrogen, or all CO2 produced is genuinely stored for ever, it is not a low carbon fuel
2021-08-21 09:03:00
The DfT is pushing the idea of planes fuelled partly by hydrogen, as part of its “Jet Zero” strategy – hoping to find ways in which people can continue to fly, without huge carbon emissions that make reaching the UK target of net zero impossible. However, the Government’s “Jet Zero Council” said, at the end of June, that government was launching “the first round of £3 million Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure (ZEFI) competition, supporting development of infrastructure required to aid electric and hydrogen aircraft such as charge points for planes.” Hydrogen can be produced in various ways, most using a fossil fuel and producing CO2 in the process. The hydrogen could only be a “low carbon” fuel if all this CO2 is captured and stored, for ever – not just reused (which is what usually happens at present.) Now a study by academics at Cornell and Stanford universities in the US, warned that blue hydrogen (produced by ‘steam reforming’, needing carbon capture and storage for the CO2 created) could be up to 20% worse for the climate than fossil gas owing to the emissions that escape during its production, multiplied by the amount of gas required to make the equivalent amount of energy from hydrogen. .Tweet     Study finds blue hydrogen worse than gas or coal By Adis Ajdin (Splash247) August 16, 2021 The carbon footprint of creating blue hydrogen is more than 20% greater than using either natural gas or coal directly for heat, or about 60% greater than using diesel oil for heat, according to joint research by Cornell and Stanford universities in the US. The paper, which was published in Energy Science and Engineering, warned that blue hydrogen may be a distraction or something that may delay needed action to truly decarbonise the global energy economy. A research team claimed blue hydrogen requires large amounts of natural gas to produce and said that even with the most advanced carbon capture and storage technology, there are a significant amount of CO2 and methane emissions that won’t be caught. Blue hydrogen sounds good, sounds modern and sounds like a path to our energy future, it is not Professors from the universities calculated that these fugitive emissions from producing hydrogen could eclipse those associated with extracting and burning gas when multiplied by the amount of gas required to make an equivalent amount of energy from hydrogen. The paper comes hot on the heels of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report claiming methane has contributed about two-thirds as much to global warming as CO2 and as many governments are looking to invest in hydrogen production. Robert Howarth, a Cornell University professor and co-author of the study, said: “Political forces may not have caught up with the science yet. Even progressive politicians may not understand for what they’re voting. Blue hydrogen sounds good, sounds modern and sounds like a path to our energy future. It is not.” The UK is high up on the list of countries aiming to put blue hydrogen at the core of its energy transition agenda. UK energy consultancy Xodus recently launched a new report urging a bolder vision to enable the country to become a global leader in the adoption of hydrogen. The researchers, on the other hand, recommended a focus on green hydrogen, which is made using renewable electricity to extract hydrogen from water, leaving only oxygen as a byproduct. “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 renewable electricity could be better used by society in other ways, replacing the use of fossil fuels.” https://splash247.com/study-finds-blue-hydrogen-worse-than-gas-or-coal/   . Energy Science & Engineering MODELLING AND ANALYSIS   Open Access How green is blue hydrogen? Robert W. Howarth, Mark Z. Jacobson First published: 12 August 2021 https://doi.org/10.1002/ese3.956 Funding information:   Funding was provided by the Park Foundation and by Cornell University Abstract Hydrogen is often viewed as an important energy carrier in a future decarbonized world. Currently, most hydrogen is produced by steam reforming of methane in natural gas (“gray hydrogen”), with high carbon dioxide emissions. Increasingly, many propose using carbon capture and storage to reduce these emissions, producing so-called “blue hydrogen,” frequently promoted as low emissions. We undertake the first effort in a peer-reviewed paper to examine the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of blue hydrogen accounting for emissions of both carbon dioxide and unburned fugitive methane. Far from being low carbon, greenhouse gas emissions from the production of blue hydrogen are quite high, particularly due to the release of fugitive methane. For our default assumptions (3.5% emission rate of methane from natural gas and a 20-year global warming potential), total carbon dioxide equivalent emissions for blue hydrogen are only 9%-12% less than for gray hydrogen. While carbon dioxide emissions are lower, fugitive methane emissions for blue hydrogen are higher than for gray hydrogen because of an increased use of natural gas to power the carbon capture. Perhaps surprisingly, the greenhouse gas footprint of blue hydrogen is more than 20% greater than burning natural gas or coal for heat and some 60% greater than burning die

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