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Blue hydrogen a ‘highway to climate disaster’: Andrew Forrest slams fossil fuel funding

  • Oct 4, 2021
The Sydney Morning Herald

Mining magnate Andrew Forrest has attacked public funding for use of gas, coal and carbon capture to make hydrogen fuel, which features in Australia’s climate policy....

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 5, 2021

"Hydrogen is typically extracted from water molecules, which can be done using fossil fuel energy (blue hydrogen) or renewable energy (green hydrogen)."

No, it's worse than that. If hydrogen was "extracted" from water molecules (H2O) but it was done using fossil fuel energy, the only carbon emissions would come from making the energy. Pull the hydrogen from the oxygen atom, and there's a little more free oxygen in the atmosphere. No problem.

But only 5% of hydrogen is made using water as a feedstock. The other 95% is made by steam reforming methane (CH4) which, once the four hydrogen atoms are stripped away, leaves that nasty carbon atom behind (the "C" in CH4). It promptly bonds to oxygen to yield carbon dioxide:

C + 02 → CO2


Kudos to Andrew Forrest for calling out blue hydrogen - but his green hydrogen plant won't go anywhere, either. Too expensive to make, too expensive to store, making hydrogen from sunlight uses the most diffuse source of energy to make the least energy-dense fuel. When you're done, you've got a whole lot of nothing (and even less money).

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