“Blue” hydrogen is thought to be pure energy, but it can actually be worse than gas and coal.

Hydrogen fuel

“Blue” Hydrogen – a source of energy that involves the process of producing hydrogen using methane in natural gas – many, like pure, green energy, help to reduce global warming. But researchers at Cornell and Stanford University believe that fossil fuels can do more harm than good.

A new study published in Energy Science and Engineering on August 12 found that the carbon footprint of green hydrogen is more than 60% higher than the direct use of natural gas or coal for heating or diesel oil.

“Most of the hydrogen in the United States and Europe is natural gas, using steam and pressure to convert methane from natural gas into ‘gray’ hydrogen and carbon dioxide,” says Robert R. Atkinson, professor of David R. Atkinson. Ecology and Environmental Biology at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Howard, from Mark Z. Jacobson, Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering, asks, “How green is hydrogen?”

Blue hydrogen begins by converting methane into hydrogen and carbon dioxide using heat, steam, and pressure, or gray hydrogen, but it retains some of the carbon dioxide. After US carbon dioxide and other pollutants are identified, the U.S. Department of Energy says it will be blue hydrogen.

According to the researchers, the production of blue hydrogen consumes a large amount of energy, which is generally used to burn natural gas.

“In the past, no effort has been made to capture gray hydrogen carbon dioxide, and greenhouse gas emissions have been huge,” Hawart said. “The industry is now introducing blue hydrogen as a solution, and methane is still used in natural gas as it seeks to capture natural carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, emissions are huge. ”

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, Hawart said. When it is first released, it is 100 times more potent as carbon dioxide. According to the United Nations Climate Change, released on August 9, the total contribution of carbon dioxide to global warming has contributed to global warming over the past century.

Considering the emissions of unburned carbon dioxide and non-combustible methane emissions using natural gas, carbon dioxide emissions are more than 20% more direct than natural gas or coal for direct combustion. , Or, according to the new paper, diesel oil is about 60% more efficient than heat.

Blue hydrogen emissions are lower than gray hydrogen, but not too high – perhaps only 9% to 12%.

“Blue hydrogen emissions are not free,” say the researchers. Blue hydrogen is used as a strategy only to store carbon dioxide for a long period of time before it is released into the atmosphere.

There is an eco-friendly “green” hydrogen, but it remains a small sector and is not commercially recognized. Water is hydrolyzed (by solar, wind or hydroelectric) When green water is separated into hydrogen and oxygen, green hydrogen is present.

On August 10, the U.S. Senate approved a $ 1 trillion infrastructure investment and labor law version to develop, support, and strengthen hydrogen technology and industry.

“Political forces have not yet mastered science,” Hawart said. Even progressive politicians may not vote for the electorate. Blue hydrogen looks good, it looks modern and it looks like it will determine the future of our energy. no I do not.”

“The best hydrogen, the green hydrogen from electrolysis – if used wisely and efficiently – could be the way to a sustainable future,” Hawart said. Blue hydrogen is completely different.

Reference “How green is green hydrogen?” By Robert W. Howart and Mark Z. Jacobs, August 12, 2021. Energy Science and Engineering.
DOI: 10.1002 / ese3.956

This research was supported by the Park Foundation. Howard is a member of the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.

Leave a Comment