Texas Water Fight Shows Pushback on ‘Clean’ Hydrogen

A Texas hydrogen project is under scrutiny regarding its potential water supply issues, highlighting how local conflicts over matters such as pipelines and air pollution could impede the industry’s expansion.

According to E&E News, the fight underscores how some proposed hydrogen projects face state- and city-level obstacles that could slow down an industry central to President Joe Biden’s climate goals. Biden has called for the production of 10 million metric tons of “clean” hydrogen annually by 2030. Currently, the U.S. produces little clean hydrogen, which is made from renewables or natural gas tied to carbon capture.

The Texas debate also comes as the energy sector is facing increased scrutiny for its water needs, particularly as climate change worsens and electricity demand grows. Widespread adoption of carbon capture and storage, for example, could double humanity’s water footprint, according to a 2021 study in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

With hydrogen, the International Renewable Energy Agency said in a December 2023 report that a majority of operational and planned U.S. clean hydrogen production capacity in 2040 is likely to be located in “medium to extremely high” water-stressed areas.

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