Addressing Climate Change with Renewable Hydrogen
An important article on addressing climate change with renewable hydrogen was published in Scientific American recently, and I wanted to share some important takeaways in the piece. For example, it notes that:
- Plans to fully power nations with renewable electricity will not succeed unless countries reconfigure all their energy systems, including fuels.
- Existing electric grids do not have enough capacity to handle the large amounts of renewable energy needed to put fossil-fueled power plants out of business.
- As grids move to 100% renewable energy, costs are projected to rise exponentially—if large-scale batteries have to be installed.
- Hydrogen offers a solution. Excess solar and wind energy can be used to convert water into hydrogen, which can be distributed in pipelines and converted back into electricity when needed.
- Regardless of how much solar- and wind-generated electricity we put on the grid, backup power plants would still be needed for long stretches of dark or windless weather. Carbon-free renewable hydrogen could fuel those power plants with no greenhouse gas emissions.
- Hydrogen can be stored underground, forming a network that can energize industry and back-up electric grids.
- Renewable hydrogen is already being used to partly replace natural gas in pipelines in tests in France.
This issue is particularly salient in California, and Jack Brouwer, an energy expert at the University of California, Irvine is quoted as saying, “Far too many people have been misled into believing that electrification is the entire [carbon] solution, and many of our state agencies and legislators have bought in.”
There is a paywall associated with this publication. If you do not already subscribe to Scientific American, the digital February issue is available for $6.99.