Carbon capture retrofits and blue hydrogen development
are the worst way to decarbonize. Learn why below.
What would hydrogen
& carbon capture mean for our region?
What is hydrogen?
Carbon capture and hydrogen mean more drilling, more compressor stations, more trucking, and more fracking waste. Blue hydrogen is made from fracked methane gas. Increasing hydrogen production, especially through the development of regional hydrogen ‘hubs,’ will likely expand fracking operations in our region.
Carbon pipelines are leak-prone and dangerous. Existing natural gas pipelines cannot safely transport carbon dioxide. New pipelines will have to be constructed to carry captured CO2 emissions to storage caverns. These pipelines are volatile and unsafe: condensed CO2 can corrode steel, particularly if exposed to water, increasing the risk of dangerous leaks, ruptures, and explosions. A carbon dioxide pipeline rupture in Satartia, MS in 2020 released a noxious, green fog that poisoned dozens in their cars and homes, leaving many hospitalized and some with permanent injuries.
A regional hydrogen and carbon capture hub would be wildly expensive, and the cost would fall largely on taxpayers or ratepayers. According to federal estimates, hydrogen hubs could cost as much as $230 billion just to construct. And retrofitting just the nation’s coal and gas-fired power plants with carbon capture and storage technology would add about $100 billion per year—$1 trillion over 10 years—to Americans’ electric bills, an increase of 25%.
The hydrogen and carbon capture hub likely won’t address other hazardous air pollutants from carbon-emitting facilities. Depending on the type of carbon capture technology that is used, power plants and industrial facilities could continue to spew nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compounds, and other health-endangering pollutants into the air. The demand for methane that new blue hydrogen facilities would create would also mean more air and water pollution from fracking operations.
Few new jobs.
Hydrogen and carbon capture development would not stimulate major job growth or prosperity and would lock in a fossil fuel economy that has caused the region to shed jobs and population. Except for a temporary blip in construction jobs, the hub would do nothing to create new permanent jobs.
The hydrogen hub would do a poor job of capturing carbon. Carbon capture does nothing to reduce the “upstream” emissions that are produced when natural gas is extracted and transported. Frack pads and compressor stations release huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere. And, carbon capture technologies are only expected to capture a maximum of 90% of plant and factory emissions. Existing pilot projects often capture far less than that. Transitioning to renewable energy is a far cheaper and more effective way of decarbonizing our region’s economy.
Hydrogen's carbon footprint depends on how it's produced. Gray hydrogen and blue hydrogen, both made from fracked methane, are highly carbon-intensive. Green hydrogen powered by renewable energy is truly clean.
What is carbon capture?
Carbon capture technology is used to collect and compress carbon dioxide (CO2) from high-emissions sources. Carbon capture, use, and sequestration (CCUS) refers to the end destination of captured carbon. In theory, CO2 collected from high-emitting facilities would be stored underground beneath rock layers or within salt caverns or depleted oil and gas fields. Captured carbon can also be used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).
Hydrogen & Carbon Capture Aren't Worth the Hype.
Regional and federal decision-makers are pushing to develop a blue hydrogen and carbon capture hub in the Ohio River Valley. But research shows that expensive, unproven hydrogen and carbon capture technologies harm communities, cost billions, and do little to reduce climate-warming emissions.
Why is carbon capture the
worst way to decarbonize?
Carbon capture hasn’t worked for 40 years, and it may not ever. The technology has been in development for more than four decades and received over 15 years of government subsidies for research and development. Yet, today, it’s still not used in any large American power plant.
It's really expensive.
Widespread adoption of carbon capture in the nation’s power system would cost $100 billion per year, according to ORVI research. That’s $1 trillion over 10 years. The massive cost would raise annual household electric bills by more than $293, on average.
Click here to see how much more you would pay for carbon capture.
It prolongs fossil fuels.
CCS is a false solution that will prolong oil & gas production. CCS development will block the expansion of clean, renewable resources and leave unaddressed certain hazardous pollutants, such as nitrous oxide and VOCs, from coal- and gas-fired power plants. CCS would also add few or no permanent jobs, lock the region into a failing fossil fuel economy, and prevent the creation of hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs. A February 2022 study by researchers at Radboud University in the Netherlands found that 32 of 40 carbon capture projects they reviewed actually resulted in increased carbon emissions.