Recent research has raised questions about the global-warming impact of uncombusted hydrogen. When it leaks from storage, pipes and other infrastructure into the atmosphere, new studies suggest hydrogen absorbs more heat than previously understood. And, perhaps more importantly, it extends the atmospheric life of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Proponents argue that hydrogen is a critical climate solution. “Green” hydrogen, for example, is made with zero-carbon electricity, effectively turning things like solar and wind energy into a storable fuel that can replace natural gas in many end uses. But could hydrogen’s warming impacts outweigh its advantages?

That depends on your assumptions about how and where we use it.

In this episode, Shayle talks to Thomas Koch Blank, senior principal at RMI, where he leads the organization’s Breakthrough Technology Program. Shayle and Thomas examine the new research and discuss topics like: 

Where we will use hydrogen and varying risks of leakage in those applications

Poor applications for hydrogen, like turning “blue” hydrogen derived from steam methane reforming into synfuel

Estimated leakage rates and the incentives for hydrogen producers to build low-leakage systems

Hydrogen’s total warming impact, factoring in how much natural gas it could replace

How natural gas and hydrogen compare kilogram for kilogram or megajoule for megajoule

The time horizon we should use to evaluate the global warming potential of hydrogen

Hydrogen leakage measurement, verification, and safety

Recommended Resources:

Environmental Defense Fund: Emissions of Hydrogen Could Undermine Its Climate Benefits; Warming Effects Are Two to Six Times Higher Than Previously Thought

RMI: Hydrogen Reality Check #1: Hydrogen Is Not a Significant Warming Risk

Columbia University’s SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy: Hydrogen Leakage: A Potential Risk for the Hydrogen Economy

Click here for a full transcript.

Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit to learn more.

Catalyst is supported by EnergyHub. The company’s platform lets consumers turn their smart thermostats, EVs, batteries, water heaters, and other products into virtual power plants that keep the grid stable and enable higher penetration of solar and wind power. And they are hiring! Learn more and see open roles at

Catalyst is brought to you by Sealed: The experts in home weatherization and electrification upgrades. Sealed is leading the way, with over a decade of experience being accountable to homeowners because they only get paid based on actual energy reductions. Visit to learn more.

Podden och tillhörande omslagsbild på den här sidan tillhör Post Script Media + Canary Media. Innehållet i podden är skapat av Post Script Media + Canary Media och inte av, eller tillsammans med, Poddtoppen.