Study exposes hydrogen leaks danger to climate

According to a recent study, under some conditions, hydrogen leaks might actually destroy the climate. Under no circumstances can the gas be allowed to escape into the atmosphere. If not, it might harm more than CO2 does.

Hydrogen is gradually emerging as a ray of hope, particularly in light of the current energy crisis. According to experts, gas has a bright future as a fuel for cars, airlines, and industries as a substitute for fossil fuels. However, the impact of the chemical element on the climate seems to have been overlooked in the discussion.

Hydrogen harms the atmosphere even if the only byproduct is inert water. And that’s when it spills or happens by mistake.

The German Academy of Science and Engineering has now looked into the causes of this (Acatech). Our atmosphere’s composition is modified by the reaction with oxygen and the resultant water.

The climate-destroying potential of hydrogen

The gas specifically reacts with molecules of hydroxide. However, this hydroxide is often used by our planet to degrade greenhouse gases. When fewer molecules are accessible, the amount of ozone in the atmosphere rises and chemicals that harm the climate, such as methane, break down more slowly.

According to the experts, hydrogen could have a 33 times greater climate impact than carbon dioxide in 20 years. However, this does not herald the demise of hydrogen. It is crucial to prevent it from escaping into the atmosphere during transport, much like with other gases.

The discussion must take into account potential dangers

But the chemical element is seen as a ray of hope, particularly for heavy industry. Due to their reliance on coal, Germany in particular has a big steel and chemical industry that produces tens of tons of greenhouse gases annually. The use of green hydrogen may significantly impact our climate balance.

But until that time, risk reduction requires a set of norms. These, however, are still unavailable. For instance, the Association of Transmission System Operators for Gas (FNB Gas) is aware that valves, particularly gate valves, can pose a concern.