Snam, an operator of natural gas networks in Italy and across Europe, has embraced hydrogen as a clean substitute for natural gas, because hydrogen fuel is free of emissions. The most common way to produce hydrogen requires fossil fuels, themselves heavy emitters, which would zero out the benefits of hydrogen use. There are clean ways to make hydrogen, with renewable energy — but then why not just use those clean energy sources as fuel on their own? The answer is storage. Excess renewable energy from wind and sun is often wasted. Using it to create hydrogen, which can be saved for later, is like having a large, relatively cheap battery.
By Stanley Reed. New York Times. May 27, 2020.