Fossil Fuel Companies Say Hydrogen Made From Natural Gas Is a Climate Solution. But the Tech May Not Be Very Green

As a committee of climate scientists and environmental officials deliberated over how to drastically cut New York State’s carbon footprint last summer, natural gas industry representatives were putting forward a counterintuitive pitch: hydrogen, made from fossil fuels. The concept was simple, explained natural-gas proponents serving on the state’s climate-action council. Industrial hydrogen suppliers had long used a process called steam methane reforming (SMR) to produce what the industry calls “gray” hydrogen from natural gas—a system that accounts for 95% of all current hydrogen production, but releases large amounts of carbon emissions. Emissions-free “green” hydrogen can be produced using water and renewable electricity, but that tends to be more expensive than making gray hydrogen. The solution, gas-industry representatives said, was to pursue a kind of carbon compromise. Instead of making expensive green hydrogen, industrial gray hydrogen facilities could be outfitted with carbon capture systems that buried their emissions underground. Voila: A new color in the hydrogen rainbow—safe, clean, abundant “blue” hydrogen to power the economy of the future. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Bob Howarth, a Cornell University climate scientist serving on the N.Y. State carbon-drawdown committee, decided to look into the gas industry’s arguments. “I’m not surprised that people in the natural ...
Source: TIME: Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: Uncategorized climate change TIME 2030 Source Type: news

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