Hydrogen Transitions in a Greenhouse Gas Constrained World

In order to realize the promise of a hydrogen economy in this United States, it is essential to couple it with a simultaneous commitment to improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy. This study, which uses detailed scenario analyses for the country as a whole and for urban areas, finds that a large-scale switch to hydrogen produced by a clean energy system would lead to twice the environmental benefits compared to what would be achieved in a hydrogen transition under a business-as-usual energy mentality. By 2050, when a “clean” transition to hydrogen would be nearly complete, greenhouse gas emissions would be roughly half of what they are today, compared to about a billion tons more, even with hydrogen produced from coal and natural gas.