Mark Barrett and Tiziano Gallo Cassarino
Hydrogen produced from natural gas with steam methane reforming coupled with carbon capture and sequestration (SMRCCS) is proposed as fuel for consumer heating and cooking systems. This paper presents estimates of the energy losses and methane and carbon dioxide emission and global warming across the whole gas to hydrogen heat supply chain – from production to consumer.
Processed natural gas is typically about 95% methane which is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential (GWP) such that, with 20 year and 100 year GWP horizons, about 4% and 8% leakage respectively will cause as much global warming as the carbon dioxide formed when burning the methane. Data on gas emissions and SMRCCS costs and performance are sparse and wide ranging and this presents a major problem in accurately appraising the possible role of hydrogen from methane. The survey indicates emissions between 50 and 200 gCO2eq per unit of heat (kWhth) for SMRCCS H2 heat depending on leakage and GWP time horizon assumed.
The second part of the paper reviews gas supply pricing and security and presents a cost minimised configuration of a SMRCCS hydrogen heating system derived with a simple model. Uncertainty in SMRCCS greenhouse gas emissions coupled with a net zero emission target and the long term issue of the physical and economic security of natural gas supply, bear on the potential advantages of SMRCCS as compared to other options, such as heating with renewable electricity driving consumer or district heating heat pumps.
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Barrett, M. and Gallo Cassarino, T. 2021. Heating with steam methane reformed hydrogen – a survey of the emissions, security and cost implications of heating with hydrogen produced from natural gas. Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions. Oxford, UK.
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