Touted as clean, ‘blue’ hydrogen may be worse than gas, coal.

This article from ScienceDaily written by Blaine Friedlander, courtesy of the Cornell Chronicle

“Blue” hydrogen — an energy source that involves a process for making hydrogen by using methane in natural gas — is being lauded as a clean, green energy to help reduce global warming. But Cornell and Stanford University researchers believe it may harm the climate more than burning fossil fuel.

The carbon footprint to create blue hydrogen is more than 20% greater than using either natural gas or coal directly for heat, or about 60% greater than using diesel oil for heat, according to new research published in Energy Science & Engineering.

Robert Howarth, professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell, together with Mark Z. Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, authored the report.

Blue hydrogen starts with converting methane to hydrogen and carbon dioxide by using heat, steam and pressure, or gray hydrogen, but goes further to capture some of the carbon dioxide. Once the byproduct carbon dioxide and the other impurities are sequestered, it becomes blue hydrogen, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The process to make blue hydrogen takes a large amount of energy, according to the researchers, which is generally provided by burning more natural gas.

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Source: Cornell University. “Touted as clean, ‘blue’ hydrogen may be worse than gas, coal, researchers say.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2021. <>.

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