HYDROGEN PRODUCTION – Current Methods to Extract Hydrogen

HYDROGEN PRODUCTION – Current Methods to Extract Hydrogen


Because pure hydrogen does not occur naturally on Earth in large quantitie. Hence it takes a substantial amount of energy in industrial hydrogen production. There are different ways to produce it, such as electrolysis and steam-methane reforming process, etc. In electrolysis, electricity is run through water to separate the hydrogen and oxygen atoms. This method can use wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, fossil fuels, biomass, nuclear, and many other energy sources.

Obtaining hydrogen from this process is being studied as a viable way to produce it domestically at a low cost. Steam-methane reforming, the current leading technology for producing hydrogen.Hydrogen in large quantities extracted from methane. However, this reaction causes a side production of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. These gases are greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming and other drastic effects.


Hydrogen is locked up in enormous quantities in water, hydrocarbons, and other organic matter. One of the challenges of using hydrogen as a fuel comes from being able to efficiently extract hydrogen from these compounds. Currently, steam reforming, or combining high-temperature steam with natural gas, accounts for the majority of the hydrogen produced.

Hydrogen can also be produced from water through electrolysis, but this method is much more energy intensive. Once extracted, hydrogen is an energy carrier (i.e. a store for energy first generated by other means). The energy can be delivered to fuel cells and generate electricity and heat, or burned to run a combustion engine.
In each case hydrogen is combined with oxygen to form



Methods of extraction Process Implementation
Steam reforming of methane gas In presence of nickel catalyst & at 973-1373K:
CH4(g) + H2O(g) = CO(g) + 3H2(g)

Next reaction at lower temperature:
CO(g) + H2O(g) = CO2(g) + H2(g)

Current major source of hydrogen
Hydrogen from coal (Gasification) At high temperature and pressure:
Coal + H2O(g) + O2 = syngas

Syngas is H2 + CO + CO2 + O2(g)

Current method of mass hydrogen production
Electrolysis of water Electric current passed through water:
2H2O(l) = 2H2(g) + O2(g)
Not in widespread use due to cost of electricity
Solar – Hydrogen system Electric current passed through water:
2H2O(l) = 2H2(g) + O2(g)
Not in widespread use due to cost of renewable energy sources



Methods Advantages Disadvantages
Steam reforming of methane gas -65 to 75% efficiency
-Economical (least expensive method)
-Establisheed infrastructure
-Non-renewable resource
-Produces CO2emissions
Hydrogen from coal (Gasification) -Large supplies of coal
-Inexpensive resources
-Produces CO2emissions
-Carbon sequestration would raise costs
-45% effenciency
Electrolysis of water Depend on electricity source -Input into production may require more energy than released
-Produces CO2emissions if coal is energy source
Solar – Hydrogen system -No emissions
-65% efficiency


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