Hydrogen is twice as strong a greenhouse gas as previously thought

A study released this Friday by Britain’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) found that hydrogen is twice as potent a greenhouse gas as previously thought.

The report explains that the molecule fromhydrogen exerts an indirect effect on the climate. She reacts with others greenhouse gas present in the atmosphere by increasing their global warming potential (PRG)[1]. The result of this study thus confirms the warning previously issued by other scientists.

Also read: Scientists warn: Hydrogen leaks are 200 times more harmful to the climate than CO2

Indirect adverse effect on global warming

While the hydrogen-induced degradation of methane and ozone in the troposphere – the lowest layer of the atmosphere – was already known, ” In our calculations for the GWP of hydrogen, we have now for the first time also taken into account the hitherto neglected influence of this gas on water vapor and ozone in the stratosphere explain the authors of the report, scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Sciences and the Universities of Cambridge and Reading. ” We now estimate that the GWP of hydrogen over 100 years is 11 on average, i.e. 11 times more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxide (CO2) ‘ they specify. A previous study published in 2001 and widely cited since then estimated the GWP of hydrogen at 5.8.

Any hydrogen leakage will indirectly lead to increased global warming and reduce the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that could result from replacing fossil fuels with hydrogen ‘ the researchers point out.

Also Read: The First-Ever Household Hydrogen Battery: What’s Their Interest?

Minimizing leaks should be a priority

However, the hydrogen molecule is much smaller than that of methane; it could therefore very easily leak from fossil gas transport equipment such as pipelines and pipes when used to transport hydrogen, especially around junctions, in fittings, filling station seals, etc. “Minimizing leakage must be a priority when introducing hydrogen as a major energy source” , concludes the report.

Also read: The GRHYD project is testing the injection of hydrogen into natural gas networks

Another study looked at the amount of leaks

A second study published on the same day by the BY Shas taken a close look at the volume of leakage in the production, transport, storage and end-use of hydrogen.
The reportFugitive hydrogen emissions in a future hydrogen economystates that when hydrogen is produced by electrolysis, 9.2% of the production escapes through “airing and purging”, but this loss is due to a “ complete hydrogen recombination from purge and cross-bleed “.

The study shows that transporting liquid hydrogen by road tanker is the worst solution, as 13.2% of the transported volume escapes into the air during operation. The storage of compressed hydrogen in surface tanks is responsible for losses of 6.52%, in fuel cells it is 2.64% and in distribution stations 0.89%. Less than 0.53% escape during other production, transport and storage processes.

Also Read: An Offshore Hydrogen Storage Project in Salt Caverns

Another risk

The other risk associated with hydrogen leaks is due to the high flammability of this gas, as accidents at hydrogen distribution stations have shown.

butHydrogen is more expensive than natural gas explains Gniewomir Flis, an expert at the German think tank Agora Energiewende. For these reasons, he, in turn, believes that manufacturers will be encouraged to prevent leaks in infrastructure.

Also read: Produce hydrogen with firedamp from old mines: It works!

Also Read: Hydrogen to Save the Climate: A False Good Idea According to Some Scientists


[1] The Global Warming Potential or GWP is a conversion factor that allows you to compare the impact of different greenhouse gases on global warming.

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