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Hydrogen blending not the answer

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

It is no surprise that Columbia Gas is testing hydrogen blending in gas appliances, despite the fact that scientists are warning legislators that hydrogen blending results in more warming emissions than if they were to just burn gas. In the second largest gas-producing state in the nation, Pennsylvania gas companies are scrambling to rebrand against the international push to eliminate fossil fuels that are responsible for global warming.

But even if gas wasn’t needed to make up the difference in pipes with up to 20% hydrogen, the carbon capture that producing hydrogen relies on is unlikely ever to be possible in a state punctured by far more orphaned and abandoned wells than the 8,500 known wells that would need to be regularly plugged in order to store carbon.

Blending hydrogen made from natural gas in pipes with still more natural gas, while not a green solution, will certainly put more green in the pockets of companies otherwise facing their inevitable end.

Fortunately for all of us — especially Pennsylvanians suffering from increased cancer and asthma risk living near fossil fuel infrastructure — there is an even more efficient, cheaper and readily available solution: All the appliances currently run by gas can be electrified and powered by renewable energy. The gas industry wants us to think we need them, but we can end this abusive relationship.

Originally published as a Letter to the Editor in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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