How green is blue hydrogen?

Cornell University Professor Dr Robert Howarth spoke to ELN about the dangers of blue hydrogen

Big Zero Report 2022

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Hydrogen has become an integral part of the decarbonised energy future – but how ‘green’ is one of the most common forms, blue hydrogen?

Dr Robert Howarth, Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology at Cornell University spoke to ELN about his recent study that found that blue hydrogen could be 20% worse for the climate than burning natural gas: “The problem with blue hydrogen is that it sounds like it’s a good thing for the climate, right? It’s taking hydrogen made from natural gas, which has been done for well over 100 years, but with carbon capture to try and reduce those emissions.

“What our paper concluded is that the carbon dioxide emissions go down a little bit with blue hydrogen compared to normal hydrogen. But it takes a tremendous amount of natural gas to power this process and there are methane emissions associated with that use of natural gas.

Dr Howarth stresses the dangers of blue hydrogen: “When we looked at the overall footprint of blue hydrogen, it’s marginally better than hydrogen from natural gas. But it’s actually worse than if you were to simply burn natural gas directly for fuel.”

Listen to the podcast to hear the full interview.

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