The natural gas industry is now campaigning to save its business by extolling the alleged virtues of converting gas heating to supply by ‘blue’ hydrogen. This blue hydrogen production would be done using natural gas to produce the hydrogen whilst capturing and storing carbon dioxide produced in the process. But this is a facade that will delay transition to a sustainable clean energy economy and waste renewable energy into the bargain. Blue hydrogen is not a substitute for energy from renewable energy. Even if the hydrogen was sourced from renewable energy (and not much of it will be) the result would be a grandiose waste of renewable energy. This is because using hydrogen from renewable energy to heat buildings is around four times less energy efficient compared to using heat pumps (using renewable electricity) to supply heating in buildings. The gas industry’s plan is to start off with blue hydrogen, after which at an unspecified period this would be replaced by green hydrogen generated from renewable energy like wind or solar. There are three big reasons why hydrogen in general is a bad choice for our heating networks. First, carbon capture, in the blue hydrogen production process, is unlikely to be close enough to 100 per cent. Second, such a programme will provide support for a continued fossil fuel industry. A third reason is that using ‘blue’ hydrogen, in as much as it succeeds in paving the way for supply of renewable hydrogen, will lock in a huge wastage of renewable energy compared to using this renewable energy much more efficiently.
Dave Toke’s Blog 22nd March 2020 read more »