Info on hydrogen

Hydrogen is a contentious and potentially explosive way of storing energy created by other means (and that’s the crux of the matter, along with whether hydrogen is the best energy to use in certain specialized situations). It’s in the news because under the Inflation Reduction Act, the US government is generously subsidizing research and models of use, and because the PA government has been committing big taxpayer funding in a bid to sponsor a plant tied to the fracking industry.

Here are some articles with links—not always in agreement with each other—contributed by several CCEA members who were present at our Jan. 21 meeting:

 “Hydrogen Folly Grows: 55% Used In Oil Refineries — Demand Will Drop, Not Rise,” by Michael Barnard, CleanTechnica, 3/13/21

“Reclaiming Hydrogen for a Renewable Future: Distinguishing Oil & Gas Industry Spin from Zero-emission Solutions ,” by S. Saadat and S. Gersen, EarthJustice, 8/21 (41 pages; see also “Summary for Policymakers“).

“How Green is Blue Hydrogen?,” by R Howarth and M. Jacobson, Wiley Online LIbrary, 8/12/21.

“Hydrogen: Future of Clean Energy or a False Solution?.” by Cara Bottorff, Sierra Club, 1/4/22.

“Environmental Health Project (EHP) Statement on the Public Health Impacts of Blue Hydrogen Production,” Environmental Health Project, by Alison L. Steele, 8/3/22.

Blue Hydrogen: A Threat to Public Health?,” Environmental Health Project, 8/16/22.

“The hydrogen bill gifts $4 billion to the fossil fuel industry, by Patrick McDonnell, PennFuture, 10/25/22.

“Biden’s dilemma: How do you define ‘green’ hydrogen?,” by David Iaconangelo, EnergyWire, 12/23/22.

“Should We Really Use Renewable Electricity to Make Green Hydrogen? Not Always,” by Gary J. DiElsi,  Power Magazine, 1/3/23

“Blue Hydrogen: What You Need to Know,” Environmental Health Project (video of panel discussion), 1/25/23.

“Cheap clean hydrogen? Not so fast, energy giants say,” by David Iaconangelo, EnergyWire, 2/9/23.

Thoughts on hydrogen and carbon

by Bill Haaf

Carbon capture is being recommended by climate scientists as mandatory to keep earth from overheating. There are lots of techniques with trade-offs and potential misuse by oil/gas companies but we still need it.

I am preparing a PowerPoint reviewing both nature-based and man-made technologies to capture CO2 and sequester it. This will review pros/cons and potential misuses. I could present a 45-minute talk to any groups that wishes, with Q&A on various carbon capture types including trees and soil and oceans.

in addition to the fact that climate scientists say we need carbon capture to stop the planet from overheating, the oil / natural gas companies are moving fast to build these units..

The government must require the fossil fuel industry to capture all the CO2 from the burning of their products – not just their site energy use but from the end users as well.

Green Hydrogen is overhyped and way too much $$ being  spent on it.

We should not use renewable electricity to manufacture green H2 — IF this means grid electricity is dispatched to fill those energy needs, since then non-renewable electricity will be used. Much better to send as much renewable as possible to the grid to lower carbon footprint.  

So when should renewable electricity be used to generate green H2 ? When the grid has excess renewable energy from too much wind at night or sunny days.

Some relevant questions:

• Why make green H2? What end uses of green H2 would lower the carbon footprint?

• H2 is the smallest molecule; it leaks easily and explodes easily. Facilities need special metal or plastic so the process does not embrittle metal or leak out of valves, etc.

• H2 takes energy to compress and pump.

• It does not contain as much energy as methane. so can only displace 5-10% methane in boilers. 

* Most H2 these days is used in refineries for fuel (which we hope will go away)

* EV cars are more efficient. 

• H2 is good to replace coke in steel manufacturing and to use in fuel cells; maybe for heavy trucks (or will batteries win?)?

• Good for making NH3 as fertilizer OR use NH3 as fuel in ships or large vehicles.

Some background info:

“Hydrogen Folly Grows: 55% Used In Oil Refineries — Demand Will Drop, Not Rise,” by Michael Bernard, CleanTechnica, 1/13/21.

Summary: “Governmental expenditures on hydrogen are very useful, … but should be very carefully targeted to where they actually add value, which is almost entirely in displacing black and gray hydrogen in non-oil and gas markets with green hydrogen.”

“Should We Really Use Renewable Electricity to Make Green Hydrogen? Not Always,” by Gary J. DiElsi,  Power Magazine, 1/3/23.Summary: “There’s a growing belief that hydrogen will play a key role in lowering CO2 emissions. However, there are several caveats in realizing that vision, and in some cases, hydrogen may not be the right choice.” In addition, “Green hydrogen is not always free of CO2.”

Common Environmental Agenda for Chester County, 2022

Download the full 26-page pdf HERE.

CCEA’s Common Environmental Agenda is a comprehensive series of recommendations made to the Chester County Commissioners by some of the member groups of CCEA plus other organizations. Thanks to all who participated in creating it and in advance to the Commissioners for their careful attention to it!

From the Introduction:

As time passes, it is increasingly clear that our environment needs to become a higher priority for us all. We deserve — as written into the Pennsylvania Constitution (Article 1, section 27) — clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and protected natural spaces. All of these rights, unfortunately, are threatened by many circumstances….

Man-made climate change has gone from a distant threat to a present danger; it is time for us all, as a Countywide community, to do our part to usher in new ways of sustainable living and long-term decision-making….

Brandywine in flood, Pocopson, 2021

We commend the Chester County Commissioners and the Environmental and Energy Advisory Board for finalizing the County’s first Climate Action Plan in 2021, giving our County a road map of how to mitigate our own impacts on climate change and improve the resiliency of our communities.

As groups that focus on environment and sustainability, we are conscious also of working within a society that prioritizes human needs such as housing, health care, education, and family-supporting jobs… Our solutions moving forward must be creative, just, and intersectional. This Common Environment Agenda is just the beginning.

Geothermal plant, West Chester University

The undersigned groups have come together to present achievable solutions to the Chester County Board of Commissioners, divided into eight issue areas, with a specific list of recommendations for each topic. Many of these solutions and programs are already being discussed or acted upon in many parts of Chester County….

We believe that the county is the best governmental entity to lead in environmental progress because it is of manageable size and united purpose, its municipalities need coordinated guidance and assistance, and we cannot always count on the state and federal governments to implement far-sighted policies. Therefore, we look forward to working with the Commissioners and the Chester County Environment and Energy Advisory Board as well as the County’s various departments to implement the following solutions.

Backyard compost pile


Open Space & Development
Clean Energy
Public Health & Toxins
Consumption & Waste

Chester County Climate Action Plan

Happy Climate Week in Pennsylvania (Sept. 18-25)!

We are fortunate to live and carry out our activities in a county whose Commissioners adopted a Climate Action Plan in October 2021.

“The plan was prepared by the Chester County Planning Commission in partnership with the County’s Environmental and Energy Advisory Board. The Climate Action Plan provides a blueprint for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy efficiency at County government facilities and community-wide.”

See full details on the County’s Climate Action page.

West Chester Porchfest, May 21, 2022

by Margaret Hudgings

Inspired by Transition thinking, the West Chester Green Team formed a committee and created a music festival for West Chester. 

What is Transition?  It is an international movement started in the UK whose goal is helping communities as they transition to a new economy–away from fossil fuels and to healthier forms of energy.  When people are in transition, they can feel isolated and lost.  They can also lack the skills needed to thrive in a new economy.  Transition towns try to address these issues.  They focus on teaching and modeling skills such as gardening, repairing items of all sorts, founding a buy nothing economy so people can offer items they no longer need to others who need them, and also creating celebrations to help everyone through challenging times.  Thus, WC Porchfest was born.

The Green Team followed the model of another international movement in creating this event locally.  PORCHFEST originated in Ithaca NY in 2007.  It has now spread across the US and Canada. Porchfest events bring local musicians and neighborhoods together to celebrate and create a sense of community.  We used the blueprint of Porchfest in Binghamton, NY provided to us by a member who has attended other Porchfest events.

Our committee had representatives recruiting bands and front porches, getting sponsorships, interfacing with local government, making maps, arranging food trucks, interfacing with the local community and handling publicity.  Saturday, May 21 is Porchfest Day.  Hoping now for lovely weather and lots of fun.

The GT Porchfest Committee projected about 20 musical acts for our first year but closed registration when we reached 52.  We also have 36 front porches and a local church which is welcoming attendees by setting up outdoor tables with seating for 50, adjacent to a gathering of food trucks. 

The musical acts range from jazz to classical with lots of rock and some unique additions such as a performance of organ grinder music boxes by a local collector and a Japanese singer who will also demonstrate how to dress in kimono.  A local dance studio will perform in the park. Children’s activities will be there and include arts and crafts, planting and a musical instrument petting zoo. 

The local food co-op will provide free strawberry shortcake, and the Buy Nothing group will host an old fashioned white elephant fishing pond.  We have also added in 2 porch displays of our environmental work, one based on Doug Tallamy’s vision of planting native species of flowers and trees and another featuring our newest Dark Sky Committee.  

We benefited from the help of local leaders with Mayor Lillian DeBaptiste cosponsoring the event.  We highly recommend the Porchfest model for community outreach, as we are connecting with a new demographic.  We are not preaching to the choir as so often happens with green events. And Porchfest is upbeat.  It is essential to inspire and energize our supporters and this event seems an excellent vehicle for delivering our message.  

CO2 Budget Trading Program / RGGI

On Earth Day, fittingly, Pennsylvania joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Year by year, the cap on CO2 emissions from power plants decreases and as a result utilities will have to decrease their carbon pollution or pay more to pollute the rest of us.

The state will then invest hundreds of millions of dollars in fees to improve air quality through measures like energy efficiency and clean energy promotion.

It’s about time for this, because for over a century our state’s power plants have been paying no compensation to emit pollutants that damage the environment and human health. Now, they stop or they pay!

Finally PA joins the northeastern states and the large embarrassing gap in the map of RGGI states from C2ES can be colored in!

Read more from the Sierra Club , the RGGI site, and on our own site.

Tredyffrin Rain Garden Program

from Tredyffrin EAC

Tredyffrin Rain Gardens is a program started in 2021 by the Tredyffrin Environmental Advisory Council and the TE Green Team to take action on stormwater and water pollution in our Township. This volunteer-led group has installed an educational rain garden at the Tredyffrin Public Library and will be launching the residential rain garden program in 2022.

Rain gardens are excellent for areas like Tredyffrin, which has seen significant damage from stormwater. …

Beginning on January 10, 2022, residents of Tredyffrin can apply to receive a rain garden on their property. Residents will have a co-pay of $100 and will have an obligation to take care of the garden for many years, will have to display a sign, will have to volunteer hours back to the program and more. However, the remaining cost of installing the garden will be covered by a grant the Township received and with volunteer hours. This is neighbors helping neighbors to solve a problem that affects us all.

Read the full post at Tredyffrin EAC

AG Shapiro, halt construction!

Today, Monday January 10th, contact PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro and demand that he file the emergency injunction of Mariner East pipeline construction and the nuisance lawsuit, as requested by Pennsylvania legislators last week. 
In October 2021, the PA Attorney General’s office announced 48 criminal charges for environmental crimes against the operator of this dangerous pipeline. Despite this, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection approved new permits at this site. And now Marsh Creek lake continues to be contaminated as construction resumes.

This is an opportunity for Josh Shapiro to show us what kind of leadership Pennsylvanians could expect from him, should he be elected to Governor in 2023. Help protect the clean water and natural beauty of Pennsylvania. 
📞 570-904-2643

Outline of Chesco clean energy tour

See the calendar on our home page for details of the tour, Oct. 2-3, and how to take it virtually.

Name of SiteName of SubmitterFeatures
Hillside Elementary School Green Roof
Berwyn, PA
Jennifer Cox/ Conestoga High School studentsSustainable Features: Green Roof Site Type School Organization: Hillside Elementary School, in the Tredyffrin-Eastown School District
West Chester University Geothermal Exchange System
West Chester, PA
Brad Flamm, Director, Office of Sustainability, WCU
Sustainable Features Geothermal Site Type University Organization: West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Haaf Home Energy Tour
Kennett Square, PA
Bill Haaf
Sustainable Features Composting, Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Geothermal, Heat Pump(s), Passive Solar, Other Other Sustainable Features: • Advanced lighting (LEDs), programmable thermostats, native plants/water-retentive plantings, spray PU foam insulation, strategies for energy efficiency in existing home. System Size (in kW): 6.7 Solar Site Type Home
Energy Efficiency Beats S&P
West Chester, PA
Bryan Hutchinson
Sustainable Features Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Heat Pump(s), Solar PV – Rooftop System Size (in kW): 7.14 Solar Site Type Home
Solar Stone Barn
Chadds Ford, PA
Richard Leff
Sustainable Features Battery Storage, Electric Vehicle(s), Geothermal System Size (in kW): 10 Solar Site Type Home
Central Baptist Church, Wayne, Gets to Zero Net Emissions
Wayne, {A
Chuck Marshall
Sustainable Features Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Net zero, Solar PV – Rooftop Solar Site Type Religious Institution
Rooftop Made for Solar
Chester Springs, PA
Kathy McDevitt
Sustainable Features Electric Vehicle(s), Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Solar PV – Rooftop System Size (in kW): 13.26 kW Solar Site Type Home
The McGowan Home
Coatesville, PA
Brian McGowan
Sustainable Features Battery Storage, Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Solar Thermal, Wind Turbine(s) System Size (in kW): 3.96 kW Solar Site Type : Home
Stroud Water Research Center’s Moorhead Environmental Complex

Avondale, PA
Jessica Provinski, Stroud Development Department
Sustainable Features Composting, Electric Vehicle(s), Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Geothermal, Grey Water System, Heat Pump(s), Integrated Systems System Size (in kW): 17.860 kW Solar Site Type Nonprofit Organization
Geothermal Township Building /West Bradford
Downingtown, PA
Cheryl Wanko

Sustainable Features Geothermal Solar Site Type Government Building Organization: West Bradford Township
Geothermal Home
West Bradford, PA
Cheryl Wanko
Sustainable Features Geothermal Site Type Home
Nature Farm Solar Home
Chester Springs, PA
Dave Weber
Sustainable Features Composting, Electric Vehicle(s), Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Heat Pump(s), Passive Solar, Solar PV – Rooftop, Other Other Sustainable Features: Electric mower, on-demand electric hot water heater System Size (in kW): 10+ Solar Site Type Home
West Chester Borough Chestnut Street Garage Solar Canopy (drone video)
West Chester, PA
Jim Wylie,  the chair of the Southeastern PA Group, Sierra ClubSustainable Features Solar PV – Rooftop Other Sustainable Features: System Size (in kW): 79 Solar Site Type Government Building Organization: Solarize Greater West Chester
Strategies for a More Sustainable Home
Wayne, PA
Rutger Boerema
Sustainable Features Battery Storage, Composting, Electric Vehicle(s), Heat Pump(s) System Size (in kW): 8.16 Solar Site Type Home
Speksnijder Solar Site
West Chester, PA
Will ClaudioSustainable Features Battery Storage, Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Net zero, Solar PV – Rooftop Solar Site Type Home