Hopkins: Carbon emissions from North Dakota’s blue hydrogen hub will be comparable to green

August 25, 2021

A recent study out from Stanford and Cornell universities claims that blue hydrogen production releases more greenhouse gases than simply burning natural gas. But the study looks at an out-dated process for producing blue hydrogen, the CEO of a company that plans to start a blue hydrogen hub in North Dakota says.

“Not many companies that are actually intending to do clean hydrogen from natural gas want to use steam methods,” Bakken Energy CEO Mike Hopkins told the Williston Herald’s Energy Chaser. “It’s a very old process. It does have absolute limitations as to just how much carbon you can capture. And it’s quite energy inefficient. So it’s got the two burdens of being energy efficient and very limiting in the ability to capture carbon.”

North Dakota’s hydrogen hub, on the other hand, will use an entirely different and newer process, auto thermal reforming.

“It’s not commonly used for the production of clean hydrogen because of the capital costs,” Hopkins explained. “It’s not so much the capital cost of the authothermal reforming. It’s the fact that you’d need an air separation unit. In the case of the Dakota Gasification plant, because of how it has operated as a gasification plant, it already has a perfectly good air separation unit.”

Once operational, the company estimates it will be capturing 95 percent of carbon emissions for its blue hydrogen — taking 6 million tons of carbon out of the annual emissions stream or the equivalent of removing a million cars from the road.. Read more here.

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