Utilizing low carbon hydrogen for heating is more harmful to the environment than using natural gas or diesel, says a new scientific study by researchers at Cornell and Stanford Universities. It has 20% more impact than conventional natural gas.
The report’s authors said, “There really is no role for blue hydrogen in a carbon-free future. We suggest that blue hydrogen is best viewed as a distraction, something that may delay needed action to decarbonize the global energy economy truly.”
The process of heating blue hydrogen releases a byproduct of carbon dioxide and methane, which fossil fuel companies plan to trap using carbon capture technology.
However, even the best technologies cannot capture every bit of the emission, and some of it will increase global warming, says Jillian Ambrose, Energy correspondent of The Guardian.
A Cornell University professor and co-author of the study, Robert Howarth, asserted that the research was the first of its kind to be published in a peer-reviewed journal that discloses the “significant lifecycle emissions intensity of blue hydrogen”.
The researchers recommended a shift to “green hydrogen”, created using renewable electricity to extract hydrogen from water and leaves only oxygen as a byproduct.
The Joe Biden-led government has sanctioned an extensive infrastructure by allocating billions of dollars bills to stop the climate crisis by promoting the use of blue hydrogen, the tenacity of which has been put into doubt by this new study, said another report by The Guardian.
“It’s pretty striking, and I was surprised at the results. Blue hydrogen is a nice marketing term that the oil and gas industry is keen to push, but it’s far from carbon-free.
I don’t think we should be spending our funds this way on these sort of false solutions,” said Professor Howarth.
The latest IPCC report has emphasized that if the emissions are not reduced soon, there would be “irreversible” consequences on the earth.
It also highlighted methane, produced from oil and gas drilling and animal agriculture, contributing the most to greenhouse gas emissions.
If it’s possible to reduce the utilization of methane by 50% in this decade, it would help reduce the global temperature by 0.3C by 2040.
Talking about the bill in the US Senate, Carroll Muffett, chief executive of the Center for International Environmental Law, said, “We look at that bill and see massive giveaways to fossil fuel infrastructure that is incompatible with serious climate action.
Congress went out of its way to not specify green hydrogen, so this funding helps prop up the fossil fuel industry. The potential of these technologies is being routinely overstated even as the impacts are being understated.”
Many oil and gas companies are looking forward to taking up blue hydrogen to achieve the milestone of net-zero emissions that could fit into distribution networks along with natural gas reported by S&P Global Platts, which needs scrutiny now.
The study noted that emissions from blue hydrogen could be reduced by optimizing the creation of renewable electricity.
However, “the fugitive methane emissions from the natural gas would remain, and are substantial, it added, with total greenhouse gas emissions still almost half of those from burning natural gas”, the report added.