With hydrogen, ‘clean’ should be colorblind

December 20, 2021

As the world looks for ways to decarbonize, hydrogen has emerged as a leading candidate for this transition. In addition to filling an important role for electric power reliability, hydrogen offers carbon-free energy for large-capacity transport and other hard-to-decarbonize industrial applications.

The potential market for hydrogen is huge: hundreds of billions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of jobs, in the U.S. alone.

Early efforts to brand hydrogen by color — primarily blue, green, pink or gray — have led to confusion over the end goal of a decarbonized economy. Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy has started using the term “clean hydrogen.” That’s a goal-focused characterization agnostic as to method of production, and encourages technology innovation and environmental progress. Clean hydrogen focuses on the environmental qualities of the final product, regardless of the technologies used.

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