July 21, 2024

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Joe Biden’s flagship hydrogen project faces growing opposition

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One of the Biden administration’s flagship projects to derive energy from hydrogen faces an uncertain future due to strong community opposition, underscoring the difficulty in rolling out a technology once hailed as key to the green transition.

The Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2), spanning the prolific Marcellus shale basin in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, is designed to produce hydrogen using primarily gas and carbon capture by mid-2030. But the $6bn project, which includes fossil fuel companies EQT, CNX and Marathon Petroleum as developers, faces opposition from local communities and green groups over its environmental footprint and doubts over its commercial viability.

Last month more than 50 local environmental groups urged the Department of Energy in a letter to suspend negotiations on ARCH2 until more clarity was provided on the project.

“This is just the latest reinvention of the [oil and gas] industry in an attempt to stay relevant and reposition themselves as a solution to a problem that they created, the climate crisis,” said Tom Torres, hydrogen campaign co-ordinator for the Ohio River Valley Institute, and one of the letter’s signatories.

Clean hydrogen has been touted for its potential to green hard-to-abate sectors such as shipping and cement production. America’s abundant cheap gas resources have made it an attractive destination for projects such as ARCH2, which use gas and carbon capture, also known as blue hydrogen.

But the rollout of blue hydrogen is controversial because it generates emissions and relies on carbon capture technology, which has yet to be proven cost-efficient at scale. A study by researchers at Stanford and Cornell found that the emissions footprint of blue hydrogen was 20 per cent greater than burning gas or coal for heat.

Green groups claim blue hydrogen projects hand…

2024-06-23 12:00:41

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