BORIS Johnson’s Net Zero dreams hit a fresh bump in the road today as a groundbreaking study warns “blue hydrogen” could be a fifth more polluting than fossil fuels.
Switching to the unstable hydrogen replacement for gas to heat our homes and cook is a key plank of PM’s plan to go carbon neutral.
But now experts warn it could be 20 per cent WORSE for the climate than burning natural gas.
Researchers at Stanford and Cornell Universities found that so-called “blue hydrogen” – which captures carbon from natural gas to store emissions rather than releasing them into the air – emits more methane instead.
The first peer-reviewed paper on the top reveals that the greenhouse gas footprint is a fifth worse than burning gas or coal, and two thirds worse than burning diesel.
The authors of the study conclude that “there really is no role for blue hydrogen in a carbon-free future.
“We suggest that blue hydrogen is best viewed as a distraction, something that may delay needed action to truly decarbonize the global energy economy.”
‘DIFFICULT TO JUSTIFY’
They say it would be “difficult to justify” using it “on climate grounds”.
Robert Howarth, co-author of the study and Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology at Cornell University said: “This is a warning signal to governments that the only ‘clean’ hydrogen they should invest public funds in is truly net-zero, green hydrogen made from wind and solar energy.”
Juliet Phillips, Senior Policy Advisor Clean Economy at E3G added: “Today’s new report warns that fossil fuel derived blue hydrogen is far from a truly zero emissions fuel.
“There is no time left to waste in second rate solutions to the climate emergency.”
Ministers are due to reveal their new hydrogen strategy and how it can be used across industry later this month.
It’s expected that it will be used in industry and to help decarbonise sectors such as steel and cement, but others are lobbying for it to be used in homes and transport too.
Some say it should be used in boilers instead of gas, meaning millions won’t need to rip them out to put in pricy heat pumps.
But there is also a higher risk of accidents as the gas can be more unstable without extra ventilation.