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Fossil Fuel Interests Are Behind Canada’s Blue Hydrogen Push

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#Fossil #Gasoline #Pursuits #Canadas #Blue #Hydrogen #Push

Yves right here. Put up writer Danielle Paradis seems to imagine readers are down the curve on the bogus claims made about blue hydrogen as a inexperienced power supply, though she does make that time late within the piece. By means of background, think about:

Touted as clean, ‘blue’ hydrogen may be worse than gas, coal, researchers say Science Day by day

By Danielle Paradis, an Indigenous (Métis) journal author, journalist, editor, educator, and podcaster who lives in Treaty 6 (Edmonton, Alberta) and has written for Canadaland, Chatelaine, Toronto Star (Edmonton), Gig Metropolis, BUSTLE, Canadian True Crime Podcast, and The Sprawl. Initially printed at DesmogBlog

Premier Jason Kenney, Vitality Minister Sonya Savage, and Affiliate Minister of Pure Gasoline and Electrical energy Dale Nally in Edmonton in October 2020. Credit score: Alberta Newsroom (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Speak to fossil gas execs, authorities ministers, and business reps lately and so they’ll all inform an identical story: Blue hydrogen is the clear gas of the long run that can assist Canada and the world get to net-zero emissions. It’ll energy every little thing from airplanes to long-haul vehicles and can even warmth our properties.

Canadian media has known as blue hydrogen, which is produced from pure fuel and has its emissions captured, “a key part” of the nation’s emissions-reduction technique and “fairly clean” — a declare that echoes an infographic from ATCO, a serious Canadian power firm, that stated blue hydrogen produces “nearly zero emissions.”

The Canadian authorities is relying closely on this gas supply to ship the guarantees in its net-zero emissions objectives. In December 2020, the federal government launched a hydrogen strategy that means that speedy enlargement of the hydrogen business — together with “large-scale blue hydrogen manufacturing” by 2030 — may assist the nation “obtain our net-zero aim all whereas creating jobs, rising our financial system and defending the surroundings.”

Alberta, lengthy the guts of Canada’s oil and fuel business, is banking on hydrogen, too. “It was actually beginning to settle in that we had in all probability had the final [oil and gas] increase,” then-Mayor of Edmonton Don Iveson told the Narwhal in early 2021. Hydrogen tantalizingly represents continued jobs and funding within the area.

Earlier this 12 months, Edmonton hosted the inaugural Canadian Hydrogen Convention, which was sponsored by metropolis and regional authorities, varied Alberta-based enterprise pursuits, and Canadian and worldwide fossil gas firms. Town can even be house to a hydrogen hub that paints a rosy image of a future during which “buses, trains, heavy vehicles, house heating, and farm gear all run on zero-emissions hydrogen” and the gas will “guarantee long-term financial competitiveness because the world shifts in the direction of a low-carbon future.”

“Our province is securing our future as a powerhouse in clear power manufacturing,” claimed Premier Jason Kenney final summer time when asserting Alberta’s $1.3 billion funding within the Edmonton hydrogen hub.

The issue with this blue rhapsody? It’s not what it appears.

The oil and fuel business is relying on each governments and the general public shopping for into blue hydrogen, which has been called a $100 billion greenback alternative and was featured at a gas industry conference earlier this 12 months. To gas this hype, the business has produced inaccurate or misleading information that claims a mixture of hydrogen as a gas supply and carbon seize will make blue hydrogen the power useful resource of the long run.

Kenney is a long-standing critic of climate science and booster of claims that foreign-funded environmental groups are undermining Canadian fossil gas pursuits. But, as DeSmog’s new map of hydrogen lobbying actors in Canada exhibits, among the many greatest beneficiaries and proponents of Alberta’s blue hydrogen push are U.S. firm Air Merchandise, Shell, Toyota, and France Hydrogène.

Credit score: Michaela Herrmann, Gaia Lamperti, Danielle Paradis

Blue Desires, Grey Realities 

Hydrogen can retailer and carry power, and most hydrogen is created through the use of warmth and stress to transform fossil fuels to hydrogen and carbon monoxide and dioxide. That is also known as “grey hydrogen.” It’s the addition of carbon seize and storage (CCS) to lure the CO2 that, in flip, makes some hydrogen “blue.” It’s additionally doable to extract hydrogen from water utilizing electrolysis and renewable power, leading to “inexperienced hydrogen.” Nonetheless, inexperienced hydrogen is prohibitively costly to make, and as of 2019, accounted for simply 1 p.c of hydrogen manufacturing.

Due to the limitations to inexperienced hydrogen — the one type of the gas that’s really “clear” — blue hydrogen has been getting rising quantities of consideration as an power supply that may assist us transition away from coal, oil, and fuel. The truth is, Canada’s net-zero emissions technique hinges on hydrogen being the clear gas of the long run.

Since 2019, there was a renewed focus for a Canada-first power technique and a homegrown resolution to local weather change that can positively influence different elements of the world. When Alberta’s Premier Kenney ran for workplace, a key a part of his marketing campaign was the promise to investigate the alleged affect of international funding in undermining the area’s power business. The ensuing report into “anti-Alberta Vitality Campaigns” discovered a path of international cash however no proof of wrongdoing or criminality. The report additional discovered that it couldn’t be determinedwhether or not international funding for environmental campaigns was solely answerable for killing or delaying oil and fuel tasks.

Paradoxically, the hydrogen fervor has international fingerprints throughout it. The multinational power firm Enbridge, alongside Canadian power firm TC Vitality, have been concerned in pushing hydrogen in Canada. Shell is engaged on making a carbon seize and storage (CCS) facility in Alberta. Nikola Company, an American entity, is working with TC Vitality to discover joint growth of hydrogen hubs in the USA and Canada. And Air Merchandise and Chemical substances Inc., an American firm, is a part of the multi-billion-dollar plan to construct Edmonton’s hydrogen hub, which can even depend on CCS to sequester a reported 95 p.c of its CO2 emissions.

Blue Is the New Greenwashing

Regardless of the passion for hydrogen from the power business and sectors of the Canadian authorities, local weather scientists are rebuffing the concept that blue hydrogen is a clear gas. Methane — a greenhouse fuel greater than 80 times extra highly effective than CO2 — that’s vented or leaked within the manufacturing and transportation of pure fuel wouldn’t be captured by CCS. And doubts abound about how efficient CCS expertise is.

“The one argument for blue hydrogen is, ‘let’s maintain the fossil gas business in enterprise,’” stated Mark Z. Jacobson, the director of Stanford College’s environment/power program. The declare by oil and fuel firms that blue hydrogen is clear is missing verified information on methane emissions and ignoring the infrastructure wanted to provide the gas, he defined.

In 2021, Jacobson and Robert W. Howarth printed a peer-reviewed examine in Energy Science and Engineeringwanting on the lifecycle of blue hydrogen’s greenhouse fuel footprint.

“Removed from being low carbon,” they wrote, “greenhouse fuel emissions from the manufacturing of blue hydrogen are fairly excessive, notably because of the launch of fugitive methane.”

There’s additionally a usability downside. “The one actual helpful purposes of hydrogen are long-distance heavy transport and metal manufacturing,” Jacobson informed DeSmog. With regards to vehicles or family heating, he defined that hydrogen is a much less environment friendly gas supply than battery storage.

In response to the 2021 examine, 96 p.c of hydrogen is presently generated from fossil fuels.

A separate examine by researchers together with Joule Bergerson from the Division of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering on the College of Calgary, concluded that blue hydrogen can solely be thought-about low-emission if the pure fuel provide alongside the whole provide chain, together with extraction, storage, and transport, stays underneath 0.5 p.c.

Nations similar to Norway, the UK, and the Netherlands declare to have met these targets, however Jacobson stated that it is a declare offered with none proof. A study printed earlier this 12 months discovered that oil and fuel infrastructure in New Mexico’s Permian Basin was releasing greater than six occasions extra methane than beforehand estimated by the EPA.

In Canada, there may be vital proof that the oil and fuel business is underreporting methane emissions in Alberta. In response to the federal authorities’s official greenhouse fuel stock, methane presently accounts for 13 percent of Canada’s GHG emissions. Environmental Defense Canada studied a report by GreenPath, an Alberta-based power companies firm, and the Alberta Vitality Regulator, in addition to infrared video footage and located that the emissions have been 60 p.c larger than reported, and gear is routinely malfunctioning and leaking methane.

All the basis of Canada’s technique for reaching net-zero emissions rests on the widespread adoption of hydrogen. However, more and more, that vision for the future appears unsure.

“Issue within the inevitable leaks of methane from the extraction and processing of the pure fuel feedstock (round 3.5 p.c for Alberta), and the idea of manufacturing clear hydrogen from pure fuel seems more and more uncertain,” Martin Bush, a renewable power guide, wrote in Coverage Choices.

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