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Hydrogen Europe welcomes the publication of the European Commission’s joint research centre (JRC) report on ‘Hydrogen emissions from a hydrogen economy and their potential global warming impact’.
The report was organised by the Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking and US Department of Energy with the support of Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research, as well as the European Commission, the Hydrogen Council, and the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy. Hydrogen Europe has backed the report from the very beginning, and we thank the JU and DoE for their stellar and thorough work.
The report indicates that hydrogen losses (aka leakage) into the atmosphere will impact the lifetime of greenhouse gases such as methane, ozone, and water vapour, and indirectly contribute to a short-term increase of the Earth’s temperature. Moreover, the constraint of current loss rates along the hydrogen supply chain, currently estimated between 1-4% for compressed hydrogen and up to 10-20% for liquefied hydrogen, must be improved.
The authors present three recommendations: a) that the sector invest in developing the ability to accurately quantify hydrogen emissions, as well as engage in more research on hydrogen leakage prevention and monitoring systems, b) that more data from the hydrogen industry and improved observational capacity are needed to improve the accuracy of the global hydrogen budget, and c) to always report the amount and location of hydrogen emissions when environmental assessments are performed.
Hydrogen Europe wholeheartedly agrees with these recommendations and adds that it is imperative to avoid as much hydrogen leakage as possible. The reduction of losses should be a primary guiding principle as we build out the necessary infrastructure. As we are building much of this from scratch, we have a golden opportunity to ensure that hydrogen is much better and cleaner than other energy carriers.
We welcome and openly support any and all reports that help us better understand the sector and how it impacts our lives and our environment. Hydrogen is not a miracle, but a tool with great potential we can exploit and with limitations we must control to the best of our ability.