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210911 hydrogen

It is seen by many as the clean energy of the future. Billions of dollars from the bipartisan infrastructure bill have been teed up to fund it.

But a new peer-reviewed study on the climate effects of hydrogen, the most abundant substance in the universe, casts doubt on its role in tackling the greenhouse gas emissions that are the driver of catastrophic global warming.

The main stumbling block: Most hydrogen used today is extracted from natural gas in a process that requires a lot of energy and emits vast amounts of carbon dioxide. Producing natural gas also releases methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas.

And while the natural gas industry has proposed capturing that carbon dioxide — creating what it promotes as emissions-free, “blue” hydrogen — even that fuel still emits more across its entire supply chain than simply burning natural gas, according to the paper, published Thursday in the Energy Science & Engineering journal by researchers from Cornell and Stanford Universities.

Read more in The New York Times

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