Biden administration and industry alike see hydrogen as ‘Swiss Army knife’ for eliminating emissions

April 16, 2021

The Biden administration and all types of industry see developing a domestic hydrogen economy as a linchpin in the effort to eliminate U.S. emissions by 2050.

The uptick in interest in the technology comes as many governments and companies have set their sights on reaching net-zero emissions by the middle of the century. To achieve that goal, they’ll have to find ways to decarbonize the hardest-to-abate sectors, such as heavy-duty trucking, marine shipping, and industrial manufacturing.

Hydrogen increasingly looks like the answer because it’s a versatile, zero-carbon fuel, so long as it can be produced without emitting carbon.

“Twenty years ago, when people were talking about hydrogen, almost exclusively people were talking about use in light-duty vehicles. Today, people are talking almost exclusively about everything else,” said Julio Friedmann, a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

“Hydrogen is the Swiss Army knife of decarbonization,” added Friedmann, who served as the principal deputy assistant secretary for the Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy in the Obama administration.

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