It’s possible to produce hydrogen gas using many different methods and raw materials to the extent that it has potential to be the most flexible and abundant resource for creating fuel on the earth. Producing hydrogen gas in a typical factory environment starts with raw materials including algae, natural gas, water, coal, and biomass, which is made up of naturally organic composting materials.
Gasification is the technique used for producing hydrogen gas from coal, biomass, or other solid material. It involves subjecting the material or feedstock to extreme heat, cooling it, separating the hydrogen gas, and purifying it for use as automotive or electrical fuel. Production plants that gasify coal to distill hydrogen gas as a fuel for electricity generation will produce much less pollution that regular coal-fired power stations.
Producing hydrogen gas using water is one of the greenest production methods possible when the energy source can be generated from renewable energy sources like solar power or wind generators. The principle method is electrolysis which means that electric current is passed through water and an electrolyte. This separates water into its component parts of hydrogen gas and oxygen. Nuclear energy or even the earth’s own geothermal energy may also be used as an energy source for the electricity requires to make the process work.
The Thermochemical Water Splitting method of producing hydrogen gas separates hydrogen from water using a chemical reaction between water and certain chemicals at high temperatures. This is primary accomplished at nuclear plants. High-temperature Electrolysis is the same basic concept as fueled by electricity except this method uses the heat generated by nuclear power production to bring the water to the correct temperature instead of electrical current.
Steam Methane Reformation is the name of the technique used to extract hydrogen from natural gas. When natural gas is burned to create steam, a synthesis gas is produced that hydrogen is then extracted from. Ninety five percent of all the hydrogen used in the United States is produced this way; even though it is not as, “green,” as electrolysis.
Hydrogen can also be produced from algae or bacteria found in wastewater using a method called Photo-Biological Production. Using this method the algae are deprived of sulfur, which causes them to stop emitting oxygen and emit hydrogen. This method of producing hydrogen gas is currently receiving a great deal of attention because it is the greenest of all the methods utilizing both renewable and waste material by products as its primary ingredient or “feedstock”.
When compared with fossil fuel production, producing hydrogen gas to be used to power any form of motor or engine seems to be a better proposition going forward. Fossil fuels are a finite resource that has a limited future. As abundant in supply as hydrogen naturally is, it will be an important fuel in the future, no matter how it is generated.
Author: Adrian HardmannThis author has published 6 articles so far.