US has high hopes for hydrogen: academic
All the leading energy companies working in the US market are exploring hydrogen as a source of energy in one form or the other, a leading research professor said September 29.
Amy Myers Jaffe, a professor at The Fletcher School at Tufts University and the managing director of the university’s climate policy lab, addressed the energy transition during a State Department forum.
Globally, she said, there is general sense that lowering emissions can be a difficult task, in part because of climate change. Droughts are impacting hydroelectric capacity, while storms such as Hurricane Ida are curtailing production of fossil fuels, for example.
“We’re seeing a shift back to coal in some places, so this is a big challenge globally,” she added.
Soaring natural gas prices are indeed pushing some economies to cheaper coal. That said, Jaffe said the US economy has cut more than 800mn metric tons of carbon emissions over the last decade or so by shifting to natural gas.
For the energy transition – the global shift toward cleaner sources of energy – Jaffe said there is a tremendous interest in hydrogen.
“All the leading companies are doing some pilot or another on hydrogen,” she said.
Chevron’s clean energy division said recently that it anticipated gains in output of cleaner fuels such as hydrogen and renewable natural gas, a byproduct of the decomposition of organic waste.
Natural gas and hydrogen go hand-in-hand. So-called blue hydrogen uses a steam reformation process to draw hydrogen out of natural gas, though CO2 is a byproduct that necessitates storage technology in tandem.
And while the private sector is doing its part, Jaffe said there is room for federal involvement. There is a lot going on without federal intervention, she said, “and I think with a little bit of a push in assistance from the federal government, we could see that accelerate.”