A Climate Solution Lighter than Air

Updated: Oct 11, 2020

BC recently budgeted $10 million to install and operate ten public hydrogen refueling stations, hoping this will encourage greater use of hydrogen fueled cars and trucks. The refueling stations are just one of several initiatives BC has underway to promote a hydrogen industry.

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, it is lighter than air, and has an energy density three times that of natural gas. It is an ideal fuel that turns into water when burned. No more GHG emissions if your furnace, your car, or your manufacturing plant runs on hydrogen. Renewable energy advocates have long promoted hydrogen as an ideal, carbon free fuel that could knock BC’s GHG emissions down by a third.

The cheapest way to produce hydrogen in large amounts is by fractionating natural gas which produces lots of GHG as a waste product. Hydrogen produced in this way is called “gray hydrogen”. Natural gas fractionation can be combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS) to produce carbon free “blue hydrogen”. Truly “green hydrogen” is made by using electricity to fractionate water. With abundant natural gas, cheap renewable electricity, and geology suitable for CCS, BC is perfectly situated to produce both blue and green hydrogen, an industry that could be worth $15 billion by 2050.

Another plus is that we already have the pipelines to carry hydrogen to export markets. Companies are scrambling to get in on the action. Look for both BC and Canada to release hydrogen development strategies this fall.  For more information see: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/hydrogen-pipelines-clean-energy-1.5723541 https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/canada-national-hydrogen-strategy-1.5713137 https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/08/18/analysis/green-blue-or-grey-colour-coded-hydrogen-holds-keys-canadas-energy-transition#/analyze?country=CA&fuel=HY&hy_nonretail=true&access=public&access=private&status=E&status=P&status=T&show_map=true

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First Things First Okanagan is a non-profit society encouraging the public and all levels of government to take actions to halt climate change.