The work to be presented is a comparative analysis of deep decarbonization strategies for the natural gas grid. The analysis is based on California supply and demand scenarios and unit costs, but results are broadly applicable to other markets seeking deep decarbonization. To achieve deep reductions in economy-wide GHG emissions, the fuel delivered over the natural gas system must be replaced by zero or near-zero-carbon substitutes. Electrification of many end uses will reduce the need for gaseous fuel over time. However, the least-cost approach to economy-wide decarbonization will likely include continued use of decarbonized forms of methane and expansion of the use of hydrogen for a range of applications. Low-carbon gaseous fuels are well suited for current uses of natural gas, those of conventional hydrogen (predominantly refining and ammonia production) and applications served by liquid fuels. Hydrogen and methane can be decarbonized through production pathways that use renewable energy sources and feedstocks, or through carbon capture and sequestration in geological formations or solid products. The presentation will compare the long-term costs of alternative strategies for decarbonizing the gas grid, including cost of potential transition from natural gas to pure hydrogen. Preliminary results show that decarbonized hydrogen is the most cost effective energy vector to serve zero-carbon gaseous fuel demand in the deeply decarbonized future economy.
Keywords natural gas, decarbonization, hydrogen, renewable hydrogen, pipelines, hydrogen pipelines, renewable natural gas, carbon capture