Industry Insights on Fugitive Hydrogen Emissions

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How might transition to a hydrogen economy change the greenhouse effect? We take a look at the BEIS report on changes in atmospheric greenhouse gases that might follow hydrogen leakage into the atmosphere and ask whether regulations on how hydrogen is produced, transported, stored, and utilized may temper transition incentives.

PGS technology commentator Andrew Long examines a recent report commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in the UK that considers the possible implications of fugitive hydrogen (H2) emissions from an illustrative future scenario where widespread use of H2 has been adopted globally. In their scenario, the authors of the BEIS report assumed that set percentages of the final energy consumption in specified energy sectors, currently supplied by fossil fuel, switch to H2.

The scenarios modeled for different amounts of fugitive H2 leakage indicate that H2 will affect the concentration of methane, ozone, and water vapor in the atmosphere. The changes in methane and ozone are driven by changes in the hydroxyl radical, OH, which is the major atmospheric oxidant and a key player in the chemistry of the atmosphere. Modeled changes in radiative forcing, like the modeled changes in atmospheric composition, indicate that to maximize the climate and air quality benefit of a transition to a hydrogen-powered economy, minimization of both fugitive hydrogen leakage and a reduction of the ancillary emissions of, for example, CO, NOx, and VOCs is required.

PGS' commitment remains steadfast as such climate modeling developments arise, to reduce relative CO2 emissions (t CO2 per CMP km) from fleet activities by 50% by 2030, compared to 2011. The findings discussed in this article add an additional dimension, they also reinforce the value of digitalizing fleet operations to better facilitate the measurement and reporting of emissions.

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