Regulating Blue Hydrogen: Ensuring it is a climate technology rather than a fossil fuels greenwashing tool

Publish date: April 23, 2024

The fully renewable based hydrogen production route is the one that can achieve the maximum decarbonisation potential in the long run. However, it is clear that in the upcoming decades renewable electricity will remain a scarce resource needed for transitioning the power sector and meeting the growing demand driven by deep electrification. Given the limitations and the urgency imposed by the climate emergency, as well as the need to meet our decarbonisation targets by mid-century,it is crucial that no source of low-carbon hydrogen is neglected, making abated methane-based (or so-called “blue”) hydrogen a necessary technology. However, it is crucial that the definition of blue hydrogen avoids becoming a greenwashing exercise for fossil fuels and, instead, effectively contributes to the decarbonisation of targeted sectors.

Article 8 of the Hydrogen and Decarbonised Gas Market Directive foresees that, for hydrogen to be defined as low-carbon, it must reduce emissions by 70% compared to the fossil fuel comparator, and that this must be calculated using a full LCA analysis, including upstream methane emissions and downstream capture rates. The European Commission is mandated to develop a Delegated Act to develop the methodology to define low-carbon gases.

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