Phillip Riley

Hydrogen blues: Is this the gas industry version of “clean coal”?

You remember “clean coal?” It bought the coal industry an extra decade of social licence. It was the technology promised as just around the corner. Eventually it would allow us to burn coal with no climate impact.

Clean coal attracted billions of dollars of taxpayer-funded government support, but today there’s nothing to show.

After cost blow-outs, technical failures and legal roadblocks, globally no projects are planned that will capture all the greenhouse gases from burnt coal and guarantee to lock them away underground (and here is the “F’ word), forever.

But clean coal did its job. This clever strategy, with its techno-hopes and shiny websites kept coal in business for an extra ten years.

Indeed, it’s only the plunging cost of electricity generated by the sun and wind that now point us to the end of coal.

And thanks for that, because as the kids in our streets and various United Nations committees remind us, we have very little time left to fix our climate mess.

Fossil gas, cleaner than.. what?

As coal wanes, people are now thinking about the impacts of fossil gas.

For the last decade, the gas industry built its social licence on the theory that gas was “cleaner than coal”. But with coal now facing its end, that makes gas cleaner than what exactly?

The gas industry needs a new social strategy. It’s come up with one in “blue hydrogen”.

If you’ve been keeping track of the full spectrum of hydrogens, “green hydrogen”, made with renewable electricity (via the hydrolysis of water), can play a large role in our future zero-emission societies, in Australia and around the world.

Read full article here.

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