Another “option” has been on the lips of numerous of all pollical persuasions: hydrogen. The latest ruse is that carbon capture will allow this new savior of our climate.
Should we concentrate on carbon capture or more renewable resource?
Trees alone will not save us. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images).
Its surprising to hear so numerous namedrop hydrogen in conversations of the current gas lack concerns, when nearly all present hydrogen is made from natural gas. As Ive argued in the past, hydrogen is currently not very green. The hydrogen itself may be zero-emissions when utilized, but its production will have created as much CO2 as fossil fuels before that.
Get In Blue Hydrogen
This is where the blue hydrogen idea is available in. This is a process whereby the CO2 produced when creating hydrogen is captured and buried, or perhaps utilized for something else. There are big debates about this going on at the moment, starting with whether it actually works at all considering the failures of some of the biggest tasks such as Chevrons Gorgon job in Western Australia, the biggest one worldwide. This was supposed to bury 80% of the CO2 from gas wells in Western Australia over 5 years, but hasnt even accomplished half that, and doesnt do anything for the gases burnt to liquify output for export.
Its easy to fall under the area of conspiracy theories in this age of common social media, but it would likewise not be an exaggeration to argue that vested interests in the fossil fuel industry are waging a significantly vicious battle versus electric lorries, with blue hydrogen their latest counter argument. Chevron CEO Mike Wirth has actually even declared we must simply plant trees to combat the environment crisis, and some are arguing for “direct air capture of CO2” as a method to allow the continued usage of fossil fuels. If trees can do it, why cant we? However with current technology, this would take in almost as much energy to attain as that produced by all the fossil fuel power generation it is implied to clean up.
BP in contrast is investing hugely in transitioning itself to an renewables business, presumably seeing that fighting for the ongoing supremacy of fossil fuels will be a losing fight. BP likewise owns the largest charging network in the UK, although it has come under some criticism for the irregular reliability of that network. Shell has invested greatly in charging network ownership too, purchasing the NewMotion network in 2017 and Ubitricity in the UK at the start of 2021.
Its extremely hazardous to propose simply one innovation to resolve the climate crisis. We need a mix. Blue and green hydrogen have their locations, however they are not a remedy that repairs all issues simply as battery-electric lorries wont fix every transport need either. What we really require, though, is politicians who comprehend the technology properly to focus investment on the ideal innovations for the ideal applications. Otherwise, we will see money lost on wild goose chases that dont have the results we need to conserve the environment. Carbon capture could quickly be one of those goose chases after, when a higher number of more diverse sustainable energy sources, with a concomitant decrease in nonrenewable fuel source usage, could be a much more reliable– and genuine– route to lowered carbon emissions.
There are a couple of problems with blue hydrogen. The very first is “fugitive emissions”, where a few of the gas (methane) escapes into the air, and methane is 84 times even worse for the greenhouse impact than CO2. The second one is the inefficiency of the capture process itself, although there are ways this could be much better. The 90% figure is not absolutely no emissions, whereas anything working on pure electrical energy might still attain that with a totally eco-friendly grid.
Carbon capture can still release a great deal of methane into the atmosphere.
Its unexpected to hear so numerous namedrop hydrogen in conversations of the present gas scarcity concerns, when nearly all present hydrogen is made from natural gas. Translating this into accessible car terms, the world record for “hypermiling” a Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell EV is 623 miles from 5.6 kg of hydrogen. For existing hydrogen use cases, its plainly better than grey or black hydrogen. In general, beyond changing “dirty” grey and black hydrogen, the benefits appear to be more for the incumbent fossil fuel companies that produce the raw gases used to make blue hydrogen, rather than the environment. The really green variation of hydrogen, produced by means of electrolysis, cuts the oil and gas industry out of the image as much as battery-electric vehicles, so they are pushing the expense advantages of blue hydrogen instead.
Translating this into available cars and truck terms, the world record for “hypermiling” a Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell EV is 623 miles from 5.6 kg of hydrogen. With 90% capture blue hydrogen, that corresponds to an extremely remarkable 5.6 g/km of CO2, 15 times less than a Toyota Yaris hybrid (although that does not take into account the CO2 produced when creating its fossil fuel).
Lets put aside the lorry production emissions for another time, and just think about the energy production used by propulsion. The CO2 emissions of grids vary a lot, even within nations, with Vermont in the USA using much more renewable energy than Texas. Blue hydrogen would be a significant emissions enhancement there as a source of energy for transport.
Who Gains Most From Carbon Capture?
Overall, beyond replacing “dirty” black and grey hydrogen, the advantages appear to be more for the incumbent fossil fuel business that produce the raw gases used to make blue hydrogen, rather than the environment. The truly green variation of hydrogen, produced by means of electrolysis, cuts the oil and gas market out of the image as much as battery-electric cars, so they are pressing the expense benefits of blue hydrogen instead.