Hydrogen

HYDROGEN

In the best of circumstances, hydrogen can be made from electrolysis of water, powered either by solar or wind. Theoretically, it can therefore store surplus renewable power when the grid is unable to absorb it, and most critically, it can help decarbonize hard-to-electrify sectors such as long-distance transport and heavy industry. It has emerged, in part, because of our need for a solution to the intermittency of renewables.

Originally used by the Nazis to produce synthetic fuels from coal, currently– as earthquakes and climate change turn natural gas from boon to bane—there is new hope for the use of hydrogen if it can be made “clean”.

Hydrogen is not a technology, but rather an energy carrier that can be produced either clean or dirty. The climate impact depends entirely on how it is made – if from natural gas, not so clean (called “grey”), if from natural gas with carbon capture and storage, better (called “blue”), and if from the electrolysis of water powered by renewables, very fine indeed (called “green”).

Nearly all the commercial hydrogen used in America today (2023) is created via the process called steam methane reformation, in which the methane in natural gas is subjected to high-temperature steam. The conversion creates free hydrogen but also the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide as a byproduct. That’s why scientists are racing to find ways to bring down the cost of green hydrogen solutions such as electrolyzers. They apply current to water to separate it into its component elements of hydrogen and oxygen, but they remain more expensive than current technology.

Some have posited that hydrogen has a future fueling private cars, but most believe that the future of automobiles is electric, although many suggest that long haul freight will be electric plus hydrogen. Philipp Niessen, director for industry and innovation at the European Climate Foundation, predicts its most important potential lies “in sectors such as heavy industry where there is no decarbonization alternative.”

Essentially, much of the summarized information above came from an utterly brilliant, articulate, and vastly more comprehensive article written by Sonja van Renssen, on August 27, 2020, in Nature Climate Change. A PDF of the entire article is here.

CURRENT NEWS

Few Stations and $200 to Fill Up: Life on California’s ‘Hydrogen Highway’

By Todd Woody 04/04/24
As California’s longtime chief climate regulator, Mary Nichols once championed hydrogen fuel cell cars. Just a few years ago, as the state spent tens of millions of dollars on a planned network of fueling stations…
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Green Hydrogen In Arizona’s Parched Desert?

By Michael Barnard 03/10/24
Green hydrogen is absolutely essential for decarbonizing the massive global warming problem that is current hydrogen use. Our current 120 million tons is a global warming problem on the scale of all of aviation. You…
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Hydrogen Heavy Vehicle Fleets Are Much Higher Maintenance

By Michael Barnard 03/07/24
One of the interesting things I’ve been doing is participating in a review group for a European study on heavy vehicle decarbonization comparisons and simulations. That means, among other things, that I’m poking at the…
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Scientists warn a poorly managed hydrogen rush could make climate change worse

By Kari Lydersen 02/28/24
As the federal government rolls out billions of dollars in subsidies to produce hydrogen fuel for use in vehicles, factories and power plants, a growing body of evidence is undercutting its clean credentials.
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Hydrogen emerges as path to clean steel

By Brian Dabbs 02/22/24
On a call with investors in late January, one of the most powerful figures in American steel laid out plans to get rich with hydrogen.
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Heavy-duty hydrogen trucks win out in California’s $1.9B EV plan

By Wes Venteicher 02/16/24
California’s nascent market for medium- and heavy-duty hydrogen trucks is getting a boost from the state Energy Commission’s new spending package for zero-emission vehicles.
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The New Hydrogen Rules Risk Opening the Door to Methane Offsets

By Emily Grubert and Danny Cullenward 02/09/24
In late December, the Treasury Department proposed draft regulations to implement the Inflation Reduction Act’s generous hydrogen production tax credit. Under Section 45V of the tax code, eligible projects must show that their life cycle…
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Environmental justice groups ask feds to resist weakening rules on clean hydrogen tax credit 

By Kari Lydersen 02/08/24
Almost 50 environmental justice groups on Tuesday sent a letter to leaders of the federally-funded Midwestern hydrogen hub, imploring them not to try to loosen requirements for tax incentives for hydrogen produced with clean energy.
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Hydrogen vehicles could finally have their moment

By Joann Muller 02/07/24
The outlook for hydrogen-powered vehicles is improving after decades of unfulfilled hype, thanks to unprecedented federal support and increased private investment.
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Should power plants burn clean hydrogen to make electricity?

By Julian Spector 02/02/24
Utilities want to burn clean hydrogen in gas plants to unlock a reliable, carbon-free electricity system. But a lot of climate hawks have different words for hydrogen as a power-plant fuel: a colossal waste of…
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A Huge Underground Battery Is Coming to a Tiny Utah Town

By Henry Fountain 01/12/24
Outside Delta, a one-stoplight town in the scrublands of central Utah, a giant battery is taking shape underground.Two caverns, each as deep as the Empire State Building is tall, are being created from a geological…
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Hydrogen Is Just Another Hole for Natural Gas to Fill

By Zoë Schlanger 11/28/23
In a way, the story of American natural gas is a particularly American story, one of entrepreneurial hustle, booms and busts, and a will to find opportunity where nobody’s looked.
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KEY RESOURCES

U.S National Clean Hydrogen Strategy And Road Map

06/05/23
Executive Summary Given its potential to help address the climate crisis, enhance energy security and resilience, and create economic value, interest in producing and using clean hydrogen is intensifying both in the United States and…

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

03/06/23
Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are powered by hydrogen. They are more efficient than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles and produce no tailpipe emissions—they only emit water vapor and warm air. FCEVs and the hydrogen…

Impact Of Green Hydrogen Production On The Availability Of Clean Electricity For The Grid

02/01/23
Gas utilities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are proposing to use variable renewable energy sources, particularly wind power, to produce green hydrogen to replace various proportions of fossil methane (natural gas), now burned for heat…

Global Hydrogen Review 2022

09/28/22
Hydrogen demand is growing, with positive signals in key applications Hydrogen demand reached 94 million tonnes (Mt) in 2021, recovering to above pre-pandemic levels (91 Mt in 2019), and containing energy equal to about 2.5%…

MORE NEWS

Hydrogen-powered drones could fly longer, farther

By Joann Muller   11/27/23  
Hydrogen is having a moment, thanks to Biden administration incentives to boost production — and that's spurring development of hydrogen-powered transport, including drones.
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Biden wants hydrogen, carbon capture scaled up within a decade, but is the technology ready?

By James Osborne   11/14/23  
Clean hydrogen and carbon capture have for years been the next big thing, on the verge of revolutionizing the energy sector and providing a lifeline for fossil fuel producing economies like Texas.
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This Startup Hopes Its Nanomaterial Fuel Tanks Will Jumpstart The Hydrogen Revolution

By Alan Ohnsman   11/06/23  
H ydrogen is a promising form of carbon-free energy, but moving and storing the superlight element is costly and energy-intensive. So a California startup cofounded in 2022 by two leading chemists, including a Nobel laureate,…
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Climate Benefits of Hydrogen Are at Risk as Fossil Fuel Industry Pressures Mount

By Julie McNamara   11/06/23  
Hydrogen can play a critical role in the clean energy transition. However, hydrogen is not, and never will be, the core of the clean energy economy. Despite that, the littlest molecule has lately claimed the…
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The Green Fuel That Even Red America Loves

By Phred Dvorak   11/05/23  
The Biden administration’s climate push has gotten little love from the other side of the aisle.
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New Mexico’s Hydrogen Plans in Turmoil; Newsom Focuses on Oil Wells

By Marcus Baram   11/04/23  
New Mexico’s ambitions for hydrogen production in the state experienced a roller-coaster ride, with a panel recommending money for such projects, the federal government rejecting a state-led regional hydrogen hub proposal, and a state agency…
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New Mexico’s wild hydrogen days

By Jerry Redfern   11/01/23  
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham flew to Australia earlier this month with an oil and gas lobbyist and the head of a natural gas industry group to speak at a hydrogen conference. The trip…
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Column: Hydrogen is a crucial climate solution. It’s also a distraction

By Sammy Roth   10/19/23  
During a key scene in the Marvel film, “Avengers: Infinity War,” Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange character looks into the future for a preview of the challenges facing him and his superhero friends as they struggle…
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What is hydrogen energy, and is it a key to fighting climate change?

By Kate Gibson   10/18/23  
Word from the Biden administration that the U.S. will invest $7 billion to create seven regional hydrogen hubs may have left some Americans wondering how such facilities can help in the flight against climate change.
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The hope and hype of hydrogen

By David Gelles   10/17/23  
Imagine a fuel capable of powering cars, planes and factories, just like gasoline or natural gas. But instead of emitting greenhouse gases, it releases only water vapor. Spoiler alert: It’s hydrogen.
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Groups blast fossil fuel focus of DOE hydrogen hub selections

By Emma Penrod   10/17/23  
Environmental organizations and think tanks criticized the Department of Energy’s selection of multiple hydrogen hubs that plan to use fossil fuels as a feedstock for hydrogen production. The majority of the hubs selected by the…
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‘So many ways hydrogen can go wrong’: Hub announcements viewed with caution

By Robert Zullo   10/16/23  
The Friday announcement that seven projects had been selected to receive $7 billion in seed money to kickstart the production of clean hydrogen across the country was billed by President Joe Biden’s administration as a…
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Biden Administration Awards $7 Billion for 7 Hydrogen Hubs Across the U.S.

By Brad Plumer   10/13/23  
The Biden administration announced plans on Friday to award up to $7 billion to create seven regional hubs around the country that will make and use hydrogen, a clean-burning fuel with the potential to power…
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U.S. Amps Up Clean Energy Push With $50 Billion ‘Hydrogen Hub’ Plan

By Alan Ohnsman   10/13/23  
The U.S. intends to turbocharge hydrogen as a tool to curb climate-warming emissions from industry and transportation — and create new jobs — by designating seven “hubs” across the country that will receive tens of…
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Press Release: Biden Funding for Hydrogen Hubs Threatens Communities,Exacerbates Climate Crisis

10/13/23  
The Biden administration announced today that it will fund seven hydrogen hubs with $7 billion in taxpayer dollars to rapidly expand the production, transport, and use of hydrogen across the nation – sacrificing communities, worsening…
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To rein in climate change, Biden pledges $7 billion to regional ‘hydrogen hubs’

By Susan Phillips   10/13/23  
Seven regions across the U.S., from Pennsylvania to California, will share $7 billion to build the country's first regional hubs to develop hydrogen as an alternative fuel to oil and gas. President Joe Biden announced…
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Will Hydrogen Fuel a Clean-Energy Future, or Fizzle?

By David R Baker   10/12/23  
A basic problem plagues the clean-energy transition: Some things can’t easily be powered by electricity. Think steel mills, cement plants and long-distance passenger jets — they need a clean fuel that can be stored and…
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USA’s Hydrogen Strategy Still Mostly About Saving Fossil Fuel Industry

By Michael Barnard   09/12/23  
Back in November, I assessed the first draft of the US hydrogen strategy, released in September 2022. The title summarized the problem with that iteration nicely, I think: New US Hydrogen Strategy: Wrong Department, Wrong…
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U.S. bets it can drill for climate-friendly hydrogen—just like oil

By Eric Hand   09/07/23  
A dark horse concept in the race to develop clean and sustainable energy sources is getting its first major investment from the U.S. government. Today, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the high-risk, high-reward arm…
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The Guardian view on hydrogen hype: it’s perhaps not as green as you think

08/27/23  
Tunisia is one of the driest countries in Africa, and has just suffered three years of drought. Yet the EU sees the country as key to producing “green hydrogen” for export to Europe. The trouble…
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Clean Hydrogen Innovation (PON 5500)

08/22/23  
The NYSERDA Clean Hydrogen Innovation program focuses on accelerating innovative solutions in clean hydrogen to decarbonize hard-to-electrify sectors and to support the transition to a resilient, zero-emission electric grid. Through this program, NYSERDA has up…
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Hydrogen Tax Credit Rules Are Delayed Till at Least October

By Emily Pontecorvo and Robinson Meyer   08/10/23  
The Biden administration is planning to publish rules governing one of the most generous subsidies in its new climate law — a tax credit for clean hydrogen — no earlier than October, missing a key…
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Bill Gates Is Backing A Secretive Startup Drilling For Geologic Hydrogen

By Alan Ohnsman   07/19/23  
It’s been 37 years since a subterranean coal fire forced Tom Darrah’s family to flee their home in Centralia, Pennsylvania. Decades later, the fire that started in the Kennedy era still burns underground through fractured…
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Xcel Energy wants to mix hydrogen into the natural gas system. It’s starting with this neighborhood.

By Sam Brasch   07/18/23  
Standing at her front door, Ashley Livesay couldn't mask her surprise after learning her stove and furnace could soon be fueled partly with hydrogen.
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Hydrogen, nuclear among winners in last-minute changes to Ohio budget bill

By Kathiann M. Kowalski   07/06/23  
Policies for new utility charges, natural gas, nuclear power promotion and solar energy were scattered throughout the 6,198-page two-year budget bill passed by Ohio lawmakers on June 30. Line item vetoes released in the wee…
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Biden’s hydrogen bombshell leaves Europe in the dust

By Gabriel Gavin and Ben Lefebvre   07/03/23  
European leaders have devoted tens of billions of dollars toward encouraging production of hydrogen, a clean-burning fuel that advocates say will create jobs and help fight climate change. But now, many of those jobs will…
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The Case for the Hydrogen Truck

By Andrew Moseman   06/23/23  
The hydrogen car lost. Not long ago, it seemed like hydrogen fuel cells would power the next generation of climate change-fighting vehicles. Instead, batteries won the future. Americans now buy hundreds of thousands of electric…
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This startup is zapping seawater to tackle climate change

By Justine Calma   06/06/23  
A new California-based startup is trying to take on climate change by simultaneously taking carbon dioxide out of the ocean and air while creating hydrogen as an alternative fuel. Boeing has already inked an agreement…
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Biden-Harris Administration Releases First-Ever National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap to Build a Clean Energy Future, Accelerate American Manufacturing Boom

06/05/23  
The Biden-Harris Administration today released the U.S. National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap, a comprehensive framework for accelerating the production, processing, delivery, storage, and use of clean hydrogen—a versatile and flexible energy carrier that can…
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Biden Pressed to Limit Hydrogen Credits Key to New Industry

By Jennifer A Dlouhy   05/24/23  
Some Senate Democrats are pushing the Biden administration to impose tough limits on hydrogen tax credits they say will ensure the fuel lives up to its climate-fighting potential. Hydrogen advocates warn that could end up…
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$10 Million Initiative Announced to Advance Clean Hydrogen Innovation

05/24/23  
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a $10 million initiative to advance innovative clean hydrogen research, development and demonstration projects that address the challenge of replacing fossil fuel usage in hard-to-electrify sectors. This solicitation is open…
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Colorado is poised to set the nation’s first standards for green hydrogen. Will the federal government follow suit?

By Sam Brasch   05/18/23  
Inside a lab at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, a team of scientists bustles around a tall stack of metal plates known as an electrolyzer.
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Before We Invest Billions in This Clean Fuel, Let’s Make Sure It’s Actually Clean

By Leah C. Stokes   04/14/23  
Down on Page 118 of the ambitious climate law Congress passed last summer is a detail that has the potential to transform America’s energy system: a tax credit for what’s known as “clean hydrogen,” a…
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Is cheap, clean hydrogen possible? The ​‘green hydrogen’ battle, continued

By Jeff St. John   03/29/23  
Big oil and energy companies say strict rules for hydrogen tax credits could kill a nascent industry. Clean-energy advocates say that’s dead wrong.
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The great ​‘green hydrogen’ battle

By Jeff St. John   03/28/23  
Tens of billions in federal tax credits could build a vital low-carbon hydrogen industry — or increase carbon emissions. We tackle the complexities in a series.
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Splitting seawater could provide an endless source of green hydrogen

By Robert F. Service   03/15/23  
Few climate solutions come without downsides. “Green” hydrogen, made by using renewable energy to split water molecules, could power heavy vehicles and decarbonize industries such as steelmaking without spewing a whiff of carbon dioxide. But…
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Nine Mile Point Begins Clean Hydrogen Production

03/07/23  
Clean hydrogen production is underway at the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station in Oswego, New York. The facility is the first-of-its-kind in the United States to generate clean hydrogen using nuclear power.
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California declared war on natural gas. Now the fight is going national

By Sammy Roth   02/09/23  
In July 2019, elected officials in the Bay Area city, a national leader in progressive politics and environmental protection, voted to ban gas hookups in most new homes. That meant no gas furnaces, boilers or…
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Guest post: Can ‘green hydrogen’ grow fast enough for 1.5C?

By Adrian Odenweller and Others   01/23/23  
Hydrogen is expected to become one of the building blocks for reaching global climate goals, yet current production is almost exclusively from high-carbon sources.
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Study touting hydrogen — a technology favored by gas firms — was funded by gas interests, e-mails show

By Shabrina Shankman   11/17/22  
A study by researchers at UMass Lowell on hydrogen's potential seemed innocuous enough. But hundreds of pages of e-mail correspondence now ...
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DOE touts nuclear-powered hydrogen production projects with Xcel, Constellation, 4 other partners

By Rod Kuckro   11/10/22  
The U.S. Department of Energy on Wednesday highlighted plans to fund projects at four nuclear plants to demonstrate the clean production of hydrogen.
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Is hydrogen really the Holy Grail of green energy?

By Mark Brownstein   10/27/22  
Driven by severe price shocks in the oil and gas market combined with the urgent need for low-carbon fuels to stave off a climate crisis, hydrogen is being aggressively promoted as a cure for climate…
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Breakthrough Twin-Fuel Hydrogen Engine Could Cause A Revolution

By Will Lockett   10/22/22  
We are in a desperate race to halt our rampant carbon emissions and save the planet from our self-created catastrophe. Some of the most prominent technologies helping us achieve this venture are EVs and hydrogen…
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Why Would You Make Hydrogen From Aluminum?

By Lloyd Alter   10/18/22  
Everyone loves "green" hydrogen these days. It's the miracle fuel. The trouble is, it takes a lot of renewable or clean energy to make it through electrolysis, and the process is only about 80% efficient.…
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Oakland tests electric transit buses for resilience in vehicle-to-building pilot

By Robert Walton   10/12/22  
The city of Oakland, California, will be the site of a vehicle-to-building pilot analyzing how zero-emission transit buses can maintain critical loads during emergency conditions, project participants announced Tuesday.
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I come bringing good news about hydrogen

By Noah Smith   10/02/22  
The is a techno-optimist blog, and it’s time for another techno-optimist post. By now, everyone knows about the importance of solar and wind power. Some people still argue against these technologies, but the brute logic…
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Alternative Fuels Data Center

08/16/22  
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (Public Law 117-169) amends the Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit (IRC 30D), now known as the Clean Vehicle Credit, and adds a new requirement for final assembly…
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Hydrogen for heating? A comparison with heat pumps (Part 1)

By David Cebon   04/15/22  
The two most frequently proposed ways to heat buildings in a low-carbon future in the UK are: hydrogen to power hot water boilers, or electricity to power heat pumps. Hydrogen is being suggested in two…
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Is hydrogen a climate savior or a disaster? Cutting through the hype

By Sammy Roth   03/24/22  
As I admired the beach views from Scattergood Generating Station — a sprawling mess of electrical wires, gas-fired generators and towering red-and-white smokestacks — I couldn’t stop thinking about how this power plant could never…
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