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Hydrogen Blending – Not a serious decarbonization pathway

May 2, 2024 Category: Technology Work Area: Zero-Carbon Fuels
hydrogen blending

Hydrogen blending generally refers to the injection of low-carbon hydrogen into the natural gas grid to partially decarbonize natural gas users. This method may seem appealing since it can capitalize on existing natural gas transmission and distribution infrastructure. However, hydrogen blending is neither an economical nor an effective decarbonization strategy. 

This fact sheet provides an assessment of blending low-carbon hydrogen in gas grids as an environmental solution and finds: 

  • The capability of existing natural gas infrastructure to withstand hydrogen blends at low concentrations (eg. 1% – 10% volume) is dependent on a range of factors and needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Significant upgrades to the network are required at higher blends (eg. > 20% volume).
  • Estimated emissions reductions from hydrogen blending are insignificant at 20% volume and only meaningful at high hydrogen blends.
  • The carbon abatement costs associated with hydrogen blending may be prohibitive and exceed $300/tonne CO2.
  • Blending hydrogen into the grid is an inefficient use of a valuable resource better suited to directly decarbonize sectors that lack decarbonization alternatives, such as the industrial sector.
  • Hydrogen blending at low blends does not offer a clear or credible pathway for decarbonizing existing natural gas users which are better served by other technologies.