Hydrogen energy is clean and storable with no tailpipe emission except water vapor after combustion. It produces neither carbon dioxide.
Unfortunately, most hydrogen energy still produces the carbon dioxide that contributes to climate change. Across the world, more than 95% of hydrogen energy is produced using fossil fuels containing carbon. As a result, the emissions avoided at the tailpipe are shifted to the production process upstream.
Why low carbon hydrogen now? In order to make low carbon hydrogen, there are two options.
Carbon dioxide emissions from the production of hydrogen can be abated with carbon capture and storage technologies or it can be produced using renewable electricity- often called renewable hydrogen or green hydrogen. Low carbon hydrogen is an important initiative right now for countries around the world and particularly in China, one of the world's largest producers of hydrogen energy. In 2020, the world's production of hydrogen was 72 million tons. China produced about 20 million tons in 2019.
A version of this article appears in the print on August 16 2021, of The Himalayan Times.