Hydrogen by application

Introduction

This section looks at the users of hydrogen either as a feedstock or as an energy vector. The map shows the application of hydrogen in these sectors. Principle projects shown here are in the transportation and industrial use.

Additionally, we have included hydrogen research projects, some of which are exploring new methods to produce or use hydrogen.
Field Description
Type Type of hydrogen
Project Project Name
Technology Technology type or process
Scope Description of the project
Status Phase of project
Sub-status Additional stage of the project
Operator The project operator or promotor
Region Which continent
Country Name of the country
Location Name of nearest town or city
Announced start date Date at which the project will start

Hydrogen as feedstock

Hydrogen can be used in several industrial processes. Hydrogen is an essential element for making ammonia, fertilizers, and methanol, used in the manufacture of many polymers. Refineries, where hydrogen is used for the processing of intermediate oil products.

About 55% of the hydrogen produced around the world is used for ammonia synthesis, 25% in refineries and about 10% for methanol production. The other applications worldwide account for only about 10% of global hydrogen production. (Source: Hydrogen Europe)

Principle applications are:
Industrial: Metal working (alloying), glass production, in electronics industry and applications in electricity generation.
Fuels: Process crude oil into refined fuels (gasoline and diesel), removing contaminants (sulphur etc.)
Ammonia: Through the Haber-Bosch process hydrogen-nitrogen compound form ammonia (NH3). This in turn is used in the production of fertilisers.

Hydrogen as energy vector

Hydrogen can be used in the energy transition as an energy vector. Combined with a fuel cell, hydrogen is a clean energy vector that does not release any CO2 locally. It releases only water. Fuel cell electric vehicles produce 20% less greenhouse gas than combustion engine vehicles when the hydrogen used is made from natural gas. Hydrogen is thus a vector of clean energy that respects the environment.

Principle applications are:
Transportation applications: Cars, buses, industrial vehicles, and aircraft
Station energy applications: Electricity generation, domestic energy, or industrial purposes

H2 Usage graphs

Based upon data from the map above

Total number of projects

By region

Total number of projects

By country

Technology types

Low temperature electrolysis (LTE)

Electrolytic

Low-temperature electrolysis (e.g., see Alkaline or Polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolysis) enables high-performance and compact hydrogen production that can be combined with energy storage and transport systems.

High temperature steam electrolysis (HTSE)

Electrolytic

High-temperature steam electrolysis is a technology for producing hydrogen from water at high temperatures. The process utilises thermal energy released from the nuclear reactors.

Carbon capture & Storage (CCS)

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide before it is released into the atmosphere. The technology can capture 90% or more of carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels in electricity generation and industrial processes such as cement production.

Carbon capture, Utilisation & Storage (CCUS)

Carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS), also referred to as carbon capture, utilisation and sequestration, is a process that captures carbon dioxide emissions from sources like coal-fired power plants and either reuses or stores it so it will not enter the atmosphere.

Polymer electrolyte membrane electrolysis (PEM)

Electrolytic

Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) is the electrolysis of water in a cell equipped with a solid polymer electrolyte (SPE) that is responsible for the conduction of protons, separation of product gases and electrical insulation of the electrodes. The PEM electrolyser was introduced to overcome the issues of partial load, low current density and low-pressure operation currently plaguing the alkaline electrolyser.

Solid oxide electrolyser cell (SOEC)

Electrolytic

A solid oxide electrolyser cell (SOEC) is a solid oxide fuel cell that runs in regenerative mode to achieve the electrolysis of water (and/or carbon dioxide) by using a solid oxide, or ceramic, electrolyte to produce hydrogen gas (and/or carbon monoxide) and oxygen.

Autothermal reforming (ATR)

Thermal

Autothermal reforming is a process for producing syngas, composed of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, by partially oxidising a hydrocarbon feed with oxygen and steam and subsequent catalytic reforming. Depending on customers' needs (mainly syngas composition or plant capacity), Air Liquide Engineering & Construction can provide ATR as a stand-alone technology or in conjunction with Steam Methane Reforming, a technology known as Combined Reforming.

Alkalkine electrolyser (ALK)

Electrolytic

Description: Alkaline water electrolysis is a type of electrolyser that is characterised by having two electrodes operating in a liquid alkaline electrolyte solution of potassium hydroxide (KOH) or sodium hydroxide (NaOH). These electrodes are separated by a diaphragm, which divides the product gases including hydrogen and transports the hydroxide ions (OH−) from one electrode to the other. Example types: Augmented McLyzer (ALK)

Direct air capture (DAC)

Biological

Direct Air Capture (DAC) is a technology that pulls in atmospheric air, then through a series of chemical reactions extracts the carbon dioxide from it while returning the rest of the air to the environment. This is what plants and trees do every day as they photosynthesise, only that Direct Air Capture technology does it much faster, with a smaller land footprint, and delivers the carbon dioxide in a pure, compressed form that can then be stored underground or reused.

Gasification

Thermal

Gasification is a process that converts biomass or fossil fuel-based carbonaceous materials into gases, including the following: nitrogen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. By reacting the feedstock material at high temperatures (typically >700 °C) without combustion, via controlling the amount of oxygen and/or steam present in the reaction, the resulting gas mixture is called syngas (from synthesis gas) or producer gas. It is itself classed as a fuel, due to the flammability of the H2 and CO of which the gas is largely composed. Power can be derived from the subsequent combustion of the resultant gas and is a source of renewable energy if the compounds were obtained from biomass feedstock. Example types: Biomass gasification, Bitumen gasification, Coal gasification, Petroleum coke gasification, Plasma gasification

Steam methane reforming (SMR)

Thermal

Steam reforming or steam methane reforming is a method for producing syngas (hydrogen and carbon monoxide) by reaction of hydrocarbons with water. Commonly, natural gas is the feedstock. The main purpose of this technology is hydrogen production, and the chemical reaction is CH4 + H2O ⇌ CO + 3 H2 Hydrogen produced by steam reforming can be termed 'grey hydrogen' when the waste carbon dioxide (CO2) is released to the atmosphere and 'blue hydrogen' when the carbon dioxide is (mostly) captured and stored geologically - see Carbon capture & storage, Carbon capture, utilisation & storage
Steam reforming of natural gas produces most of the world's hydrogen.

Power to X (PtX)

Electrolytic

Power-to-X is several electricity conversions, energy storage and reconversion pathways that use surplus electric power, typically during periods where fluctuating renewable energy generation exceeds load. Power-to-X conversion technologies allow for the decoupling of power from the electricity sector for use in other sectors (such as transport or chemicals), possibly using power that has been provided by additional investments in generation. The X in the terminology can refer to one of the following: power-to-ammonia, power-to-chemicals, power-to-fuel, power-to-gas, power-to-hydrogen, power-to-liquid, power-to-methane, power-to-food, power-to-power, and power-to-syngas. Much of the database refers to unknown PtX.