A new study for the UK government estimates the global warming potential of hydrogen at over double previously published estimates.

With hydrogen anticipated to be a major component of the future energy mix, this, in turn, has impacts on infrastructure and in particular the need for preventing leakage at any stage in the supply chain. The study from scientists at the universities of Cambridge and Reading and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science states that hydrogen is not itself a greenhouse gas but has global warming potential due to its impact on the major greenhouse gases methane, water vapour and ozone at different levels in the atmosphere.

For example, leakage of hydrogen into the atmosphere would decrease the concentration of hydroxyl radicals (OH) in the troposphere (the lowest level in the atmosphere) and thereby increase the atmospheric lifetime of methane and its impact on climate, the study states. In addition, the tropospheric ozone would be increased, while there could be decreases in ozone mixing ratios in the upper stratosphere (the second level in the atmosphere).

Moreover, hydrogen leakage would lead to increases in water vapour throughout the atmosphere, with potentially significant increases in the […]

Image: NCAS