Myth #5: Making Hydrogen From Renewables Isn't Practical
- There aren't enough renewable resources to support all the carbon-free hydrogen production needed
- Renewables should only be used to directly meet the electrical demand; producing hydrogen with them is wasteful
- Conclusions regarding hydrogen production from renewables specific to a particular region are globally true everywhere
Myth #6: Hydrogen Isn't Green
- Since most hydrogen has historically been produced with steam methane reforming (SMR), it isn't a solution to climate change
- Hydrogen may contribute to global warming
If hydrogen were to be produced in the quantities required to replace fossil fuels; and large aggregate leaks of hydrogen were permitted to occur throughout this new global hydrogen infrastructure; and furthermore, these leaked quantities of hydrogen managed to reach the upper atmosphere without already combining with oxygen in the lower atmosphere or water; it may combine with hydroxides in the upper atmosphere to form water vapor.
So what's the issue? Keep reading...
This process may inhibit the amount of upper atmosphere hydroxides available to react with the large amounts of leaked methane; thereby inhibiting the ability to mitigate the impact of methane sources and leaks.
While methane is a very potent and prevalent greenhouse gas, it's rather difficult to overlook the circular argument of this scenario. Namely, that transitioning to hydrogen might inhibit the upper atmosphere mechanism that helps to mitigate the greenhouse gas effects of one of the fossil fuels that hydrogen will replace.
The study goes on to recommend that implementation of global hydrogen infrastructures should address leakage to ensure very little reaches the upper atmosphere. The methods and technologies for minimizing hydrogen leaks are well known within the hydrogen community and are already used in any appropriately designed system.
This is a key takeaway and valid consideration as we transition to hydrogen. Unfortunately, that valuable nugget rarely seems to make its way into the subsequent articles that misrepresent the findings. Instead, a more sensationalized tale is spun about the effects of large scale hydrogen usage and greenhouse gases. While that may draw a lot of readers, click-throughs, and online traffic, it is clearly misleading.