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That Smell - Renewable Natural Gas and Its Possible Role in Hydrogen Production

We’ve been writing on hydrogen for a few months now, covering everything from its physical properties to production methods and economics. Given the newness of the subject to most folks, who have spent their careers following traditional hydrocarbon markets, we have attempted to move methodically when it comes to hydrogen. However, we think that things may get more complicated in the months ahead. Why, you may ask. Well, the development of a hydrogen market — or “economy”, if you will — is going to be far from straightforward, we believe. Not only will hydrogen need some serious policy and regulatory help to gain a footing, the new fuel will have to become well-integrated into not only existing hydrocarbon markets, but also some established “green” markets, such as renewable natural gas, or RNG. So understanding how renewable natural gas is produced and valued is probably relevant for hydrogen market observers. In today’s blog, we take a look at the possible intersection of natural gas, particularly RNG, and hydrogen.

If you are new to hydrogen, or to our coverage of the subject, some background may be helpful. We covered the bare-bones basics of H2 late last year in our first hydrogen blog, and followed that up with a review of the most commonly discussed production methods for hydrogen and a high-level discussion of production economics. You might also find our blog on hydrogen conversion units useful when it comes to interpreting hydrogen news flow, which we also cover weekly in our free Hydrogen Billboard report. Hopefully, the knowledge foundation we’ve put down will make it easier to follow developments in the hydrogen market.

With that out of the way, it’s time to dive into today’s subject, which isn’t entirely focused on hydrogen. In fact, we will spend the better part of this blog discussing RNG. Why the focus on RNG? There are two primary reasons. First, natural gas is one of the primary feedstocks for producing hydrogen. In our view, that certainly makes all types of natural gas — including RNG — relevant when it comes to hydrogen. Second, there are features of the RNG market, such as its relatively strong regulatory support, that may be instructive when it comes to understanding how the hydrogen market may develop. So, without further ado, let’s delve into RNG and its potential interplay with hydrogen markets.

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