HYDROGEN PRODUCTION

Hydrogen is playing an increasingly important role in the field of energy, serving both as an energy carrier and a key element in the sustainable transformation of the energy sector. Here are several key aspects highlighting the significance of hydrogen in the energy sector:

Energy Carrier:

  • Hydrogen can be used as an energy carrier that is easily storable and transportable.
  • It can be stored and utilized during periods when energy production exceeds demand, subsequently released when energy demand surpasses production.

Renewable Energy Storage:

  • Hydrogen energy storage can serve as a solution for storing excess electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind or solar power, for later utilization.

Transportation:

  • Hydrogen can serve as a clean fuel for powering vehicles, especially those challenging to electrify, such as airplanes, ships, or heavy-duty trucks.
  • Fuel cell hydrogen vehicles are employed in hydrogen-powered propulsion.

Emission Reduction:

  • The hydrogen sector can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in areas where emission reduction is challenging using other technologies.
  • Hydrogen production from renewable energy sources can be a part of a low-emission supply chain.

Industrial Applications:

  • Hydrogen gas is utilized in industries for the production of ammonia, petroleum refining, and steel manufacturing.
  • The application of hydrogen can contribute to the decarbonization of these industrial processes.

Hydrogen Electrolysis:

  • The process of hydrogen electrolysis, especially when powered by renewable energy, has become a key area of research and development, enabling hydrogen production from renewable sources.

Aviation and Maritime Energy:

  • Hydrogen is gaining importance as a potential fuel for the aviation and maritime sectors, where traditional electrical solutions are technically and logistically challenging to implement.

Low-Emission Technologies:

  • The hydrogen sector is evolving as an area of innovation, focusing on the development of low-emission and sustainable technologies.

All of this positions hydrogen as a crucial element in the future, sustainable, and diversified energy system. However, challenges such as production costs, process efficiency, and infrastructure need to be addressed for hydrogen to play an even larger role in the global energy system.

 

Hydrogen production technologies:

1. Steam Methane Reforming (SMR):

  • Widely used industrial method for hydrogen production. Chemical process where methane (CH₄), the main component of natural gas, reacts with steam (H₂O), resulting in hydrogen (H₂), carbon dioxide (CO₂), and heat.
  • SMR generates carbon dioxide as a byproduct, making hydrogen from this source not emission-free regarding CO₂.
  • The process requires a significant amount of energy, impacting the economic viability and sustainability of hydrogen production.

Currently, steam methane reforming is the most important commercial source of hydrogen, although alternative methods are being developed to enhance the sustainability of this strategic energy resource.

2. Autothermal Reforming with Steam (ATR):

  • Combines elements of steam methane reforming and combustion, providing process flexibility and increased efficiency.

3. Partial Oxidation (POX):

  • A process in which the amount of oxygen is limited during the reaction with natural gas or other hydrocarbons, leading to the production of hydrogen and carbon monoxide (CO).

 

Eco-Friendly Hydrogen Production Technologies:

1. Water Electrolysis:

  • Process in which water (H₂O) is split into hydrogen (H₂) and oxygen (O₂) using an electric current.
  • Water can be sourced from both drinking water and seawater.
  • Water electrolysis requires a supply of electrical energy, making it dependent on the energy source (e.g., renewable energy).

2. Photolysis:

  • Utilizes sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
  • Currently in the experimental phase and requires further research to enhance efficiency.

3. Hydrogen-Producing Bacteria:

  • Utilizes bacteria capable of fermentation, which release hydrogen as a byproduct.
  • An emerging technology with the potential to produce hydrogen from biomass.

4. Green Hydrogen:

Green hydrogen, also known as renewable hydrogen, is a variation of hydrogen produced using renewable energy sources. The process typically involves water electrolysis, utilizing electric current from renewable sources such as solar or wind power. Here are key pieces of information about green hydrogen:

  • In the case of green hydrogen, the electric current used for electrolysis comes from renewable sources, meaning it does not generate greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Solar and wind power are the primary sources of energy used in the production of green hydrogen. Solar energy is converted into electric current in solar power plants, which is then used in the electrolysis process. Wind power plants convert the kinetic energy of the wind into electric current, powering water electrolysis.

The significance of Green Hydrogen in Energy Transformation:

  • Green hydrogen plays a crucial role in the energy transformation, especially in areas where direct application of renewable energy sources is difficult or impossible.
  • It is considered a decisive element in creating sustainable and clean energy systems.

In the context of green hydrogen, water electrolysis is the most sustainable when electrolyzers are powered by electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind, or hybrid systems.

Water electrolysis plays a pivotal role in hydrogen production, especially in the pursuit of a green transformation in the energy sector. As technology progresses and the share of renewable energy sources in energy microgrids increases, water electrolysis may become an even more efficient and sustainable process.

Despite current challenges, green hydrogen is regarded as a crucial element in global efforts toward decarbonization and sustainable energy production.

Investments in research and development aim to refine production processes, enhance efficiency, and reduce costs, contributing to the widespread use of green hydrogen in the future.

The production of green hydrogen represents a significant step toward a more sustainable and clean energy future, simultaneously aiding in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.