The Hydrogen Economy
The Hydrogen Alternative
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is a clean fuel for many current and emerging industries, including the power generation and transportation sectors.
The combustion of hydrogen produces heat and emits only water, which is essential for the emerging decarbonized economy. The heat released from the combustion of Hydrogen is four times higher than the heat released from the combustion of natural gas per unit weight. For example, 6.5 kilograms (14.3 lb) of hydrogen can replace a full tank of gasoline in a typical car.
Unlike natural gas or oil, Hydrogen is not a prime energy resource and cannot be found naturally. Hydrogen needs to be produced from naturally occurring resources.
The Hydrogen Economy
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Hydrogen Economy is strategic for our energy future in the decarbonized world. In its initial phase it will reduce carbon emissions by 16% and create $140 billion in revenues, with 700,000 new jobs by 2030.
The Federal Government allocates $9.5 billion for the development and commercialization of a set of Hydrogen Hubs throughout the Country, that will complement its existing H2@Scale strategy.
Currently, hydrogen from renewable energy costs about $5 per kilogram. DOE’s Hydrogen Shot initiative seeks to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen to $1 per 1 kilogram in 1 decade (“1 1 1”), which will unlock new markets for hydrogen.
There are a few known processes for the production of Hydrogen:
Gasification of coal, natural gas, or biomass
Chemical reforming of natural gas
Hydrolysis where a water molecule decomposes to hydrogen and oxygen
The Amiren process was found to be suitable for the chemical reforming of natural gas and gasification.
Chemical reforming for the production of hydrogen includes two processes:
“wet methane reforming” where the methane in natural gas reacts with water to produce hydrogen, and –
“dry methane reforming” where the methane in natural gas reacts with carbon dioxide to produce hydrogen.