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Hydrogen is not a ‘silver bullet’ solution, report warns

Hydrogen is no ‘silver bullet’ solution when it comes to the climate crisis, warns Earthjustice in their new report.  

According to the report, hydrogen production is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire country of Germany.

The fossil fuel industry is currently America’s largest producer and consumer of hydrogen, with roughly 60% of the United States’ domestic supply deployed in crude oil refining. 

‘Green hydrogen’ can be made by using 100% renewable electricity to split hydrogen from water molecules.

However, at the moment less than 1% of the hydrogen used today is produced using renewable energy. 

brown electric post under blue sky during daytime

Sasan Saadat, co-author and Earthjustice senior research and policy analyst, said: ‘Hydrogen isn’t the silver bullet it’s marketed to be. Worse, the deluge of hydrogen hype from fossil fuel companies threatens to delay the clean energy transition by siphoning resources away from solutions like electric appliances and vehicles.

‘In the future, green hydrogen may help us carry renewable energy into the toughest corners of the energy system, but it’s no substitute for rapidly electrifying the bulk of our economy today.’

The report also highlights that for hydrogen to have a role in our clean energy future, the first priority should be deploying green hydrogen, helping to displace the millions of metric tonnes of hydrogen that the US already makes from fossil fuels. 

Sara Gersen, co-author and attorney on Earthjustice’s Right to Zero campaign added: ‘Contrary to industry marketing, it makes no sense to burn hydrogen in our homes. The gas distribution system can’t deliver significant volumes of hydrogen to homes and businesses without creating safety hazards in pipelines and household appliances. 

‘The solution for getting off fossil gas in our homes is to go all-electric – that’s the modern upgrade families deserve.’

Photo by Sigmund

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