Potential importance of hydrogen as a future solution to environmental and transportation problems

TitlePotential importance of hydrogen as a future solution to environmental and transportation problems
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsBalat, M
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Date PublishedAug
ISBN Number0360-3199

Air pollution is a serious public health problem throughout the world, especially in industrialized and developing countries. In industrialized and developing countries, motor vehicle emissions are major contributors to urban air quality. Hydrogen is one of the clean fuel options for reducing motor vehicle emissions. Hydrogen is not an energy source. It is not a primary energy existing freely in nature. Hydrogen is a secondary form of energy that has to be manufactured like electricity. It is an energy carrier. Hydrogen has a strategic importance in the pursuit of a low-emission, environment-benign, cleaner and more sustainable energy system. Combustion product of hydrogen is clean, which consists of water and a little amount of nitrogen oxides. Hydrogen has very special properties as a transportation fuel, including a rapid burning speed, a high effective octane number, and no toxicity or ozone-forming potential. It has much wider limits of flammability in air than methane and gasoline. Hydrogen has become the dominant transport fuel, and is produced centrally from a mixture of clean coal and fossil fuels (with C-sequestration), nuclear power, and large-scale renewables. Large-scale hydrogen production is probable on the longer time scale. In the current and medium term the production options for hydrogen are first based on distributed hydrogen production from electrolysis of water and reforming of natural gas and coal. Each of centralized hydrogen production methods scenarios could produce 40 million tons per year of hydrogen. Hydrogen production using steam reforming of methane is the most economical method among the current commercial processes. in this method, natural gas feedstock costs generally contribute approximately 52-68% to the final hydrogen price for larger plants, and 40% for smaller plants, with remaining expenses composed of capital charges. The hydrogen production cost from natural gas via steam reforming of methane varies from about 1.25 US$/kg for large systems to about 3.50 US$/kg for small systems with a natural gas price of 6 US$/GJ. Hydrogen is cheap by using solar energy or by water electrolysis where electricity is cheap, etc. (C) 2008 International Association for Hydrogen Energy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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