Blue hydrogen turned out to be more harmful to the atmosphere than coal, gas and diesel fuel


Researchers from Cornell and Stanford Universities found out that blue hydrogen is a bad compromise between gray hydrogen and green, that is, between the methane obtained during steam conversion without or with an additional step in capturing carbon. Calculations have shown that green hydrogen when burning causes an atmosphere by 60% more damage than burning diesel fuel. It is also worse than the direct burning of coal and natural gas.

Hydrogen is becoming an increasingly important part of the global transition process to clean energy, especially in such industries as aviation or steel production. Increasingly, it is started to divide the method of mining on colors: black hydrogen is obtained from coal gasification, gray — by steam conversion of methane, brown — from oxidation of brown coal under high pressure. Green — from renewable sources, but it requires high costs. Therefore, a cheaper and pure blue option was proposed — the same gray, but with an additional step in capturing and storing carbon. This is a relatively new idea that is implemented on an industrial scale in Canada and the United States.

Researchers from Cornell and Stanford Universities calculated, however, that blue hydrogen is a bad compromise between gray and green,

In the course of natural gas production, its considerable part is approximately 3.5% — enters the atmosphere. One ton of methane has an instantaneous effect of 100 tons of carbon dioxide. After 20 years, this effect is slightly softened, but still remains 86% worse than CO2.

The authors argue that their work is the first scientific review of an attempt to study the life cycle of greenhouse gas emissions in the production of blue hydrogen. The main problem of which, as they established, is that the carbon trapping process requires energy that, in this case, provides blue hydrogen. So even if the entire emission of the conversion process is captured to generate blue hydrogen, additional methane leakage negates almost all advantages.

Conclusion: Green hydrogen has great potential to reduce emissions and is better suited for transition to net energy.

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