Although H2 fuel is used as a carbon-free fuel, it can be made from coal.
Congress sent a bipartisan infrastructure bill to the Senate to include “clean hydrogen” hubs, but this bill now seeking a Senate vote could use coal to produce H2.
The bill would set aside $ 8 billion for the construction of at least four of these regional hubs.
The “regional clean hydrogen hubs” would be used as production sites for H2 fuel for use in areas such as heating, transportation and manufacturing, according to a Bloomberg report. At least two of the regional hubs would be built in places “with the greatest natural gas resources,” the bill says. Other sources of energy for producing H2 include nuclear power, renewables (such as wind and solar), as well as biomass. That said, coal is also under discussion for this purpose.
Many analysts point to an H2-based energy system as one of the best opportunities for the United States to meet climate change and decarbonization goals. However, when it comes to implementation, much of the construction of such a system would be largely based on the use of fossil fuels as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that senators will vote on.
How clean hydrogen is produced plays a central role in how green it is.
Despite the fact that using H2 as a fuel only produces water vapor as an emission, the way it is produced in the first place decides whether it is truly greenhouse gas free. . The use of this renewable energy source has the potential to play a huge role in a zero carbon future, as it can be used to power furnaces, turbines and fuel cells without emitting greenhouse gases.
However, most of today’s H2 production is powered by fossil fuels, mainly natural gas. This production of carbon dioxide results in what is often referred to as “blue hydrogen” or “gray hydrogen” instead of having the green label associated with producing the fuel with renewable energy sources. In order to control the impact of H2 production on climate change, carbon emissions from anything but green hydrogen must be captured and stored permanently. Nuclear hydrogen does not produce carbon emissions, but leads to nuclear waste, which is a problem for another article.
The Clean Hydrogen Bill would also authorize $ 1 billion in grants for projects to improve the efficiency and profitability of electrolyzers.