- Nov 12, 2020 6:13 am GMT
Aided by tens of billions in public subsidies, gas companies want to make large-scale investments that will repurpose existing gas pipelines, storage facilities and import terminals for hydrogen, as well as build new hydrogen infrastructure from scratch.
Initially, the infrastructure would be used to supply fossil hydrogen. Then at some point in future, industry argues, it would switch to delivering what it claims are more sustainable types of gas, largely in the form of renewable hydrogen, or ‘green hydrogen’ as the industry likes to call it.
But renewable hydrogen is a decade or more from commercial viability, and even then will be a scarce resource that needs careful targeting to sectors that cannot use other, more plentiful sources of clean energy.
Indeed, credible estimates show that there won’t be anywhere near enough renewable hydrogen or other types of carbon-neutral gas to justify the large-scale investments in infrastructure being pushed for by industry.
Critics say the promise of ‘fossil hydrogen now, renewable hydrogen later’ will never materialize, and that infrastructure will continue to support the use of fossil gas for decades to come.
Photo: The Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline will begin pumping billions of cubic feet of fossil gas from Russia into Germany by 2022. German officials say their country should "take advantage of years of their successful partnership in the oil and gas industry to closely cooperate in the development of hydrogen", noting that "Russia, as a superpower for raw materials [gas] with huge water reserves* would be an ideal partner for hydrogen cooperation."
*"Huge water reserves", of course, is an awkward attempt by Germany to imply the source of its hydrogen will be water, and not dirty Russian gas.
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