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Bridging the hydrogen transportation gap

Alan Neuhauser
Apr 13, 2023
Illustration of a retro gas pump with H2 on the pump.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Making green hydrogen is one thing, moving it to where it needs to go is an entirely different challenge.

Why it matters: Transporting the low-carbon gas was a key topic of conversation at the MIT Energy Conference in Boston this week.

The big picture: Both investors and founders are optimistic about hydrogen, but cautious:

  • "We're hopeful, but it's been slow," one founder told Axios, an observation others echoed.

Of note: With tech ready to deploy, red tape rather than funding has followed.

  • "In the past, it was about developing more efficient technologies and finding the funding. Now it's about the permitting," a climate consultant said on the sidelines of the event.
  • The permitting challenges are interfering with building the pipelines needed to transport the hydrogen.
  • "We need to invest a huge amount in distribution and storage." Belén Linares Corell, innovation director at Acciona Energía, said on a panel.

Yes, but: Incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act make hydrogen blending with natural gas a potential cost-effective option — meaning it could be moved through existing pipeline networks.

  • Projects that are making hydrogen at $4 or even $4.50 per kilogram "start to make sense," as incentives drop the price to near-parity with natural gas, said Supratim Das, a senior associate at Electric Hydrogen.
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