Hydrogen’s Growing Role in Washington’s Decarbonization Strategy

In Washington, turquoise hydrogen should emerge as a front-runner in the state’s ambitious decarbonization efforts. The state of Washington is a leading champion of clean energy. Experts believe turquoise hydrogen could herald a major shift in the state’s energy dynamics, leveraging Washington’s distinctive resources and policy approach.

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Hydrogen as Energy in Washington

A closer look at hydrogen reveals its vast potential as an energy resource. Naturally energy dense, once hydrogen is isolated from other atoms, it stands as a formidable energy carrier — with a single kilogram yielding 33.33 kWh of energy.

Historically, industries across Washington, from ammonia production to steel manufacturing, have capitalized on hydrogen. Moreover, specific industries — including the state’s flourishing craft brewing scene, its rapidly growing tech campuses, and the paper and pulp industry – requiring sustainable heating solutions, and the timber processing industry — could significantly benefit from decarbonized natural gas for heating.

The alignment with clean heating fuel is evident considering Washington’s renewables account for a majority of its electricity. “In 2022, Washington produced one-tenth of the nation’s total renewable-sourced utility-scale electricity generation,” according to the U.S. Energy Information Association.

Turquoise Hydrogen in Washington

Today’s energy conversations should prominently feature turquoise hydrogen. Unlike traditional hydrogen production​ processes, turquoise hydrogen’s production, through methane pyrolysis, yields hydrogen and solid carbon, eliminating the CO₂ emissions typically related to hydrogen extraction. With Washington’s existing natural gas infrastructure, this production method becomes not just viable but also economically appealing, especially when it is generated when and where it is needed.

Geographical advantages place Washington at the forefront to exploit turquoise hydrogen’s benefits. With the state’s intent on slashing greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2035, the future seems optimistic.

Hydrogen Policy Nationwide and in Washington

In the June 2023 article It’s Time to Pay Attention to Turquoise Hydrogen, the American Gas Association stated, “There are few areas of the economy where carbon-neutral or low-carbon hydrogen, whether turquoise, green, or blue, could not help to lower emissions. Thanks to the startlingly low production cost, it could do this while potentially even lowering energy prices for customers. States and cities alike should keep this in mind when deciding whether to risk locking themselves into higher emissions, higher energy costs, and lower reliability by banning the infrastructure needed to enable them to take full advantage of these innovations.”

With federal instruments like the 2022 U.S. Inflation Reduction Act offering incentives for clean hydrogen and bolstered by state-driven initiatives, a formidable framework is emerging to augment the hydrogen revolution.

Overall, Washington’s resource wealth, its forward-leaning policies, and the undeniable advantages of turquoise hydrogen suggest a promising, low CO2 future for the state.