Among the most prominent options for replacing fossil fuels is the use of hydrogen. A priori, hydrogen is a fuel that can be qualified as ecological since when it burns, it only produces water vapor. Some companies are also starting to use hydrogen as an energy source. A climate researcher, however, has just published an opinion piece stating that using hydrogen cars would not be such a good idea when thinking about solving the current climate crisis.
The researcher in question is Anthony Patt, and he is a professor in Zurich, Switzerland, in the Department of Environmental Systems Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. On the institute’s website, he wrote that fossil fuels used for heating and transportation should instead be replaced with renewable energy sources, but not with hydrogen.
Patt said in her article that one of the most serious threats to the energy transition process is hydrogen, and it is “disguising itself as a friend of clean energy.”
The reasons behind the scientist’s position
According to Patt, hydrogen works as an energy carrier, not as a source of energy. He added that this substance can be created using three different methods, and those three methods are not as environmentally friendly as you might think.
First of all, there is gray hydrogen which is produced the most today. Its production would generate carbon dioxide and methane emissions. Then there is the blue hydrogen which is produced from natural gas, which is not a sustainable solution. And finally, there is green hydrogen. The latter does not directly produce emissions, however, electricity is required to create it. Patt thus wonders whether it would not be better to use electricity produced from renewable sources instead.
A political reason
In this case, if the hydrogen is not entirely ecological, one can wonder why it is regarded as a source of energy of the future. According to Patt, the strategy adopted by the European Union concerning hydrogen proposes to use it for heating and land transport. The EU intends to dedicate billions of euros for infrastructure and planning. But Patt says that “enthusiasm” is due to the fossil fuel industry.
” The European hydrogen lobby spends more than 50 million euros per year. This is the fossil fuel industry’s last chance for survival “Said the scientist.
This is a debate that takes place between the proponents of hydrogen and those behind the use of batteries. So far, the most chosen option is still the latter.