Environmental groups see hydrogen as a distraction by fossil fuel corporations away from carbon reductions and renewable energy technologies.
But MIT researchers say renewables still need a backup for when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow. The gap is currently filled by burning fossil fuels, which could be cost-competitively replaced by hydrogen.
The researchers found that there is a "promising role for hydrogen to play in the energy transition," even with high costs for production, transmission, and storage.
“As we move to more and more renewable penetration, this intermittency will make a greater impact on the electric power system,” says Emre Gençer, a research scientist at the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI). “If we’re to achieve zero-carbon electricity, we must replace all greenhouse gas-emitting sources."