• By The Financial District

U.S. Study Raises Doubts On Hydrogen As Clean Energy Source

Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, is increasingly viewed, along with electric vehicles, as one way to slow the environmentally destructive impact of the planet’s 1.2 billion vehicles, most of which burn gasoline and diesel fuel, Mark Gillespie and Tom Krisher reported for the Associated Press (AP).

Photo Insert: Contrary to popular belief, studies find that, rather than reduce it, hydrogen production actually causes more pollution.

To be sure, hydrogen remains far from a magic solution. For now, the hydrogen that is produced globally each year, mainly for refineries and fertilizer manufacturing, is made using natural gas or coal.

That process pollutes the air, warming the planet rather than saving it. Indeed, a new study by researchers from Cornell and Stanford universities found that most hydrogen production emits carbon dioxide, which means that hydrogen-fueled transportation cannot yet be considered clean energy.

Hydrogen has long been a feedstock for the production of fertilizer, steel, petroleum, concrete, and chemicals. It’s also been running vehicles for years: Around 35,000 forklifts in the United States, about 4% of the nation’s total, are powered by hydrogen.

Its eventual use on roadways, to haul heavy loads of cargo, could begin to replace diesel-burning polluters. Hydrogen fuel is included in President Joe Biden’s plans to cut emissions in half by 2030.

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

The infrastructure bill the Senate approved passed this week includes $9 billion for research to reduce the cost of making clean hydrogen and for regional hydrogen manufacturing hubs.

And for now, hydrogen production is adding to rather than reducing pollution. The world produces about 75 million tons a year, most of it in a carbon emission-creating process involving steam reformation of natural gas.

Government & politics: Politicians, government officials and delegates standing in front of their country flags in a political event in the financial district.

China uses higher-polluting coal. So-called “blue” hydrogen, made from natural gas, requires an additional step. Carbon dioxide emitted in the process is sent below the earth’s surface for storage.

The Cornell and Stanford study found that manufacturing blue hydrogen emitted 20% more carbon than burning natural gas or coal for heat.


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