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Greenhouse Gas Reduction Potential and Cost-effectiveness of Economy-wide Hydrogen-natural Gas Blending for Energy End Uses


North American and European jurisdictions are considering repurposing natural gas infrastructure to deliver a lower carbon blend of natural gas and hydrogen; this paper evaluates the greenhouse gas reduction potential and cost-effectiveness of the repurposing. The analysis uses a bottom-up economy-wide energy-systems model of an emission-intensive jurisdiction, Alberta, Canada, to evaluate 576 long-term scenarios from 2026 to 2050. Many scenarios were included to give the analysis broad international applicability and differ by sector, hydrogen blending intensity, carbon policy, and hydrogen infrastructure development. Twelve hydrogen production technologies are compared in a long-term greenhouse gas and cost analysis, including advanced technologies. Autothermal reforming with carbon capture provides both lower-carbon and lower-cost hydrogen compared to most other technologies in most futures, even with high fugitive natural gas production emissions. Using hydrogen-natural gas blends for end-use energy applications eliminates 1–2% of economy-wide GHG emissions and marginal GHG abatement costs become negative at carbon prices over $300/tonne. The findings are useful for stakeholders expanding the international low-carbon hydrogen economy and governments engaged in formulating decarbonization policies and are considering hydrogen as an option.

Funding source: The authors are grateful to the Alberta Department of Energy (ADOE), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), and the British Consulate General, Calgary for the financial support to carry out this project.
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Canada

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