Colors of Hydrogen

By: Dawn Lima, Vice President of Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technologies, Foss & Company    Shades of Gray, Blue, Green – Why do we need a color wheel to describe hydrogen and what do the colors mean? If you have been following the headlines and reading recent articles about the future of energy, you’ve likely read about hydrogen and the many colors used to describe it. Green, blue, gray, yellow, pink, etc. Why does a naturally colorless gas have so many colors? Hydrogen is a very promising energy source in a decarbonized future as it does not emit carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned. Hydrogen energy could have many uses, particularly to decarbonize heavy vehicle transportation and construction. What these Colors Mean So, why are there so many colors to describe hydrogen? The different colors of hydrogen refer to how the hydrogen is made: mainly the source of the hydrogen molecule and the source of the power used to generate the hydrogen. The most common colors include gray, blue and green. Gray Hydrogen: About 80% of hydrogen produced is currently gray.  To make gray hydrogen, natural gas is burnt in a process called steam methane reform (SMR) and carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, not captured and sequestered.  The power to generate the hydrogen is typically the local grid (not necessarily renewable energy) so the source mix will depend on the location of the plant and now decarbonized the grid in the region is. Blue Hydrogen: Around 1% of hydrogen produced.  Blue hydrogen is slightly less environmentally harmful than gray.  Blue is produced in the same way as gray, but the carbon dioxide is captured and sequestered, not released into the atmosphere.  The power to generate the hydrogen is typically the local grid (not necessarily renewable energy). Green Hydrogen:  Green…

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Capture the Carbon, Capture the Message!

By: Dawn Lima, Vice President of Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technology, Foss & Company   I recently attended the Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS) Summit in League City, TX, and the Carbon Capture Coalition’s Annual Meeting in Denver, CO. These events were very successful as well as insightful and I left feeling energized and motivated. It’s always enjoyable to be surrounded by like-minded professionals while making many new connections. I wanted to share some key takeaways from both events. Capture the CO2: CCUS Summit I was very impressed with the active participation from stakeholders across the CCUS industry. There is incredible excitement around CCUS right now, fueled in part by the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in 2022, but mainly due to a motivation to decarbonize our energy sector and achieve climate goals. During the CCUS Summit, we had participants join all the way from Canada, Asia, Europe and South America. The US’ carrot versus stick approach to incentivizing investments through tax credits has certainly captured the attention of other nations and companies. This is evident as we have seen an increase in investment in US-based projects to capitalize on the US tax credit incentives. What was clear during this event is that innovation and collaboration is critical to reaching our climate and net-zero goals. What Are My Thoughts? As we sat down with industry leaders, during our discussions there were some interesting questions that had come up, include: Is the CCUS industry innovating equally in both important areas? Does the 45Q tax credit incentivize both sequestration and utilization equally? Are we – as a CCUS industry – working on CCU projects as well as CCS projects? The short answer? No. In its current form, the 45Q tax credit does not incentivize CCU equally compared to enhanced oil…

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