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Could Hydrogen Be the Key to Full Decarbonization in Washington?

You remember hydrogen: simplest element, number one on the periodic table? Experts say that this humble atom could play a key role in the future of clean energy, and Washington — along with other partners in the Pacific Northwest — is positioning itself to be a leader in hydrogen energy technology.

In 2021, the Washington state Legislature passed the Climate Commitment Act, codifying a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 95 percent by 2050. The abundance of hydroelectricity in the state, as well as big leaps in electric vehicles over the past decade, have made that goal much more feasible.

However, a big question has hovered over a handful of fossil fuel-reliant sectors such as heavy industry, maritime transportation, freight shipping and aviation. For example, manufacturing steel and concrete requires high heat, which is most easily achieved through burning fossil fuels. Electric battery technology is not yet advanced enough to deliver sufficient power to justify its weight on big machines, such as jetliners.

This is where hydrogen comes in.

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