There’s a lot of talk about blue hydrogen being a big energy efficiency factor in the future of energy. But new research shows that Blue Hydrogen actually increases our dependence on fossil fuels.
What is Blue Hydrogen
This much talked about energy source is created by splitting natural gas and capturing process emissions. Essentially taking a byproduct of burning natural gas to create more energy.
But Isn’t All Hydrogen Green?
Oil and energy companies want to appear to be doing their part, as well as to keep the money rolling in. Positioning this process and fuel as blue hydrogen initially lowers scrutiny, it sounds great! But not all hydrogen is created equally. Blue hydrogen could generate 20% more emissions over its lifecycle than burning natural gas alone. That means this not-so-revolutionary ‘green energy’ is actually doing more harm than good.
Green Washing is Trending
While the renewable energy revolution marches on, green-washing is becoming more prevalent. Companies want the praise and appearance of helping to move the future of energy forward, but in reality aren’t willing to sacrifice profits in the short term for cleaner energy in the long term.
The Research Is In
That 20% more emissions came from the conclusion of a new study published in the journal Energy Science & Engineering today (12 August) by a team of researchers at Cornell University, New York, and Stanford University, California. Beyond being potentially more harmful than the status quo, the researchers also found that using blue hydrogen is inefficient, requiring many tonnes of natural gas to produce one tonne of blue hydrogen.
Governments and Businesses Are Betting On Blue Hydrogen
It’s important to follow the research and know where the money is going—and big bets are being placed on this by governments and global organizations. Plans for Equinor’s blue and green hydrogen production in the UK have sights set on 1.8GW capacity by 2030, and BP recently lined up corporate buyers for an upcoming blue hydrogen production facility in Teesside.
Why Some Still Support Blue Hydrogen Efforts
Supporters like to cite a claim that more than 90% of the emissions that come from the production proves can be contained with carbon capture storage or carbon capture and utilization arrays. It is believed that the capture rate varies from 10% to 90% for business operations. But these capture rates come from heating the methane component of natural gas with steam, creating a mix of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.
It could be possible to lower CO2 emissions for blue hydrogen by 56% to 90% compared to grey hydrogen—BUT there is no data that supports those claims, as they don’t include emissions associated with the energy required to drive carbon capture.
Optimism Not Required
We all want to hope for a brighter renewable energy future, but pinning our dreams on blue hydrogen is actually taking us backward. We hope that governments and investors look into the details before moving forward.