Feds look to kill the hydrogen "rainbow"
The Department of Energy is moving to replace “green hydrogen,” “blue hydrogen” and similar color labels with a single Clean Hydrogen Production Standard.
Why it matters: The standard won't be a regulation — but it will help determine which hydrogen projects get federal money. And the DOE has at least $7 billion to dole out.
Driving the news: The DOE last week closed the window to submit feedback on its Clean Hydrogen Production Standard.
Context: The type of energy used to produce hydrogen has traditionally determined whether the hydrogen was low-carbon or not. That’s what created the initial rainbow of labels (green, blue, etc).
- "That connection is becoming more and more flaky," said Bob Hebner, director of the Center for Electromechanics at the University of Texas at Austin, citing better tech as the reason.
Of note: The proposed standard considers life cycle emissions — which means it takes upstream electricity generation and leaks and any downstream sequestration into account.
- The new standard is based on “carbon intensity”: the amount of carbon produced for each kilogram of hydrogen.
- The proposal sets the baseline at 4 kilograms of carbon dioxide-equivalent for each kilogram of hydrogen.
What we're watching: How the standard, once finalized, influences private investment — and whether it sets the stage for a formal, enforceable regulation.