Hydrogen may seem to be a clean, green energy source. It’s carbon-free at the point of use, and it can store energy for long periods of time. It’s safer than nuclear power, and doesn’t create major environmental impacts like hydroelectric projects.
The problem is that the production of hydrogen can be extremely carbon-intensive, unless produced using clean renewable energy sources. Fossil fuel companies are claiming that using carbon capture technology can keep hydrogen production clean by sequestering the CO2 created during the process, but the evidence to date indicates that their process still releases more than half the CO2 created in hydrogen production.
There are limited uses for hydrogen produced using renewable electricity, such as in steelmaking and as a means of storing energy when renewable supplies are low. But it’s generally both cheaper and more efficient to simply use renewable electricity directly, rather than adding the extra step of producing hydrogen.
Learn More about the Role of Hydrogen:
Impact of Green Hydrogen Production on the Availability of Clean Electricity for the Grid
“Using green hydrogen to heat homes in Massachusetts is a dead-end climate solution that will fail to meet our state mandated emissions reduction goals at huge costs to ratepayers.”
By Martyn Roetter, D. Phil (Physics) and Gordon Richardson for Gas Transition Allies, a voluntary association.
»The EPA’s hydrogen push is a federal endorsement of greenwashing
Burning hydrogen in power plants is no silver bullet for meeting decarbonization goals, in part because leaks could lead to higher levels of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
By Abbe Ramanan, Utility Dive, March 22, 2023
»Ban hydrogen in homes? Mass. debate mirrors national quandary.
Plans by Massachusetts utilities to blend low-carbon hydrogen into natural gas distribution networks to feed homes and other buildings has sparked a national debate over “green” hydrogen’s reliance on renewables and what that might mean for the electric grid.
By David Iaconangelo, Energy Wire, March 20, 2023
»‘Green Hydrogen’ Would Squander Renewable Energy Resources in Massachusetts
Using heat pumps to heat buildings would be a better use of limited clean energy resources, a new report concludes.
By Phil McKenna, Inside Climate News, March 6, 2023
» A utility plan to replace gas with climate-friendly fuels is deeply flawed, according to new report
Using so-called green hydrogen to heat homes and other buildings would require so much electricity to simply manufacture the gas that it would “cannibalize” all the wind power Massachusetts expects to be generating by the end of the decade, a new report concludes.
By Sabrina Shankman, Boston Globe, March 6, 2023
Hydrogen and Renewable Natural Gas (RNG)
From Gas Transition Allies
November 10, 2022
No matter how hydrogen is made, it’s not a viable solution for heating our buildings.
Piping hydrogen to our homes and businesses is not efficient, affordable, equitable, safe, or healthy. Heating with hydrogen will increase rather than lower emissions.
The Dirty Side of “Green” Hydrogen
by Jasmin Vargas and Mia DiFelice, Food and Water Watch
October 24, 2022
Proponents laud green hydrogen as a new zero-carbon energy in the fight against climate change. But “green” hydrogen is not that simple — and not that green.
The Problem with Hydrogen
From The Global Alliance
September 1, 2022
Hydrogen could be an important part of the renewable energy transition, but not if the fossil fuel industry has its way.
Hydrogen: Future of Clean Energy or a False Solution?
By Cara Bottorff, Sierra Club
January 4, 2022
The fossil fuel industry is hyping hydrogen of all kinds as a low-carbon replacement for all sorts of uses of fossil fuels—from powering vehicles and heavy industry to heating buildings. In reality, many hydrogen projects will only lock us in to continued fossil fuel use and additional investments in fossil fuel infrastructure.
Clean energy superstar or smokescreen for fossil fuel use? Here’s what you need to know about hydrogen.
By Tik Root, Washington Post
March 17, 2022
The gas releases relatively few planet-warming emissions as a fuel source, and proponents say it could be key in the fight to curb climate change. But some urge caution, noting that almost all the hydrogen currently produced is derived from fossil fuels, especially natural gas. And a study published last year found that, if those embodied emissions are considered, purportedly “clean,” hydrogen can have a greater climate impact than natural gas or oil.