Hydrogen is one of the fastest-growing market segments in energy.
Solas Technologies: Hydrogen

Technologies: Hydrogen Technologies

Hydrogen is one of the fastest-growing market segments in energy and will have a key impact, especially on long haul trucking fleets.

Currently, 95% of global hydrogen production comes from fossil fuels; however, hydrogen from renewable energy is now being produced in various ways. Steam methane reforming is the common way of generating hydrogen that is used in the fertilizer and the refining industry. Another method of generating hydrogen is splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen in an electrolyser.

Using electricity to generate hydrogen from a non-emitting source is called green hydrogen, which can help to reduce the life cycle emissions of the fertilizer and refining sector. Costs for green hydrogen produced with renewable energy are falling, and the global pressure to cut greenhouse gas emissions is rising, giving much-needed momentum to hydrogen as a crucial part of creating a sustainable energy future.

Download an overview of services Solas Energy offers for hydrogen applications here.

Hydrogen technology

Our services in hydrogen include:

  • Working with all hydrogen “colours” – green, blue, and grey
  • Feasibility studies
  • Hydrogen distribution
  • Retail hydrogen opportunities
  • Ammonia industry assessments
  • Hydrogen market analysis
  • Site selection, development and permitting

Contact us today to learn more about our hydrogen services.

Hydrogen Technology FAQ

Hydrogen technology is the term used to refer to the technologies that are related to the production of hydrogen, as well as its use. It also refers to technologies that are part of the part hydrogen economy. These kinds of technologies are applicable for a number of different uses. Different hydrogen technologies also have different benefits. For instance, some hydrogen technologies are carbon neutral, and they could help in preventing further climate change and have a role in a potential future hydrogen economy. 

As hydrogen is not naturally occurring as a fuel, it is not a primary energy source. Instead, it is widely considered to be an ideal energy-storing medium. This is based upon the ease with which electricity is able to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen through the process of electrolysis–as well as how it can then be converted back to electrical power using a fuel cell. The environmental impact of hydrogen technology is dependent upon the methods that are being implemented to generate hydrogen (hydrogen production) as a fuel source. 

There are three main types of hydrogen production technologies. These hydrogen technologies are as follows–steam reforming (or SR), partial oxidation (or POX), and autothermal reforming (or ATR). 

The first of these, steam reforming, is one of the most used and least expensive of the three production methods. It is highly efficient, but with low operational costs. During the first stage of the process, hydrocarbon raw material is mixed together with steam and then fed into a tubular catalytic reactor. Then, the temperature that is required for the reaction is reached by either adding oxygen or air for combusting part of the raw material–which is gas–inside the reactor. The second stage of the process has the cooled product being fed into a CO catalytic converter. The carbon monoxide is converted, by steam, into carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

In partial oxidation, the process involves using oxygen or air to activate the hydrocarbon species. This method is so beneficial because it does not require external heating, for one thing. This then increases the compactness of the reaction system. This process occurs when a substoichiometric mix of fuel and air is partially combusted in a reformer. It then produces hydrogen-rich syngas that can be used further–such as in a fuel cell.

Last, but not least, is auto thermal reforming technology. For this process, steam must be added during the catalytic partial oxidation process. It is a combination of two types of reaction–steam reforming (or endothermic) and partial oxidation (or exothermic). It has a few advantages, namely that it does not need external heat to work, and also that it is a simpler and more cost-effective option than SR of methane. In addition, this method can be started or stopped very quickly and can then produce a larger amount of hydrogen than SR is able to on its own.

Steam methane reforming is a production process which is the main producer of the hydrogen that is produced today. This process is a mature process that involves using high-temperature steam–steam at anywhere between 700 degrees Celsius to 1000 degrees Celsius–to produce hydrogen from a methane source. One such methane source can be natural gas. In this process, the methane reacts with steam under 3-25 bar pressure with a catalyst to then produce carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and a small amount of carbon dioxide, too. When we discuss bars, the measurement of 1 bar equals 14.5 psi. 

The particular process of steam methane reforming is an endothermic process. Endothermic means that heat is required and needs to be supplied to the process so that the reaction can happen. After the methane reacts with the steam in this process as mentioned above, then the carbon monoxide and steam react to create more carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Then, in the final step, the carbon dioxide and any other impurities get removed from the gas stream. This

If you have ever heard the term green hydrogen, you surely want to know what it means!

As the name suggests, green hydrogen is hydrogen that is generated from renewable energy or low-carbon power–so it is green, or environmentally friendly! In order to produce green hydrogen you need an input source that is low-carbon.

Renewable electricity is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen in this process. One of the great things about green hydrogen is that it has much lower carbon emissions than grey hydrogen. Grey hydrogen, in contrast to green hydrogen, is produced by steam reforming of natural gas. This is the method of production that does make up most of the bulk of the hydrogen market–so green hydrogen is not yet the norm. 

As previously mentioned, green hydrogen results from renewable energy. This can include solar power, wind power, or hydropower. It is essentially obtained by the electrolysis of water. It is not coming from non-renewable or high-carbon power–such as fossil fuels.

Additional Question – What is Blue Hydrogen?

Blue Hydrogen is an industry term for hydrogen produced from natural gas and the production process is supported by carbon capture technology and storage. The carbon capture helps produce clean hydrogen and makes for a more renewable energy source. Natural gas also helps the hydrogen production costs and the hydrogen energy costs.

Green hydrogen is hydrogen that originates from environmentally friendly energy sources like solar, wind, or hydropower. It is not yet the main production method for the hydrogen market but is starting to gain more traction as green business practices move to the forefront of consumers’ minds. It has some advantages, too, such as that it can be produced anywhere, as long as there is access to water and electricity. 

You may wonder whether green hydrogen has the ability to generate electricity, and the answer is yes. Green hydrogen can generate electricity and heat, too. There simply needs to be access to water and electricity in order to generate more! This kind of hydrogen can be stored in gas pipelines or other areas to power appliances or other devices, for instance. It can be used in fuel cells to generate electricity, power, or heat–or some combination of all three of these. Currently, hydrogen is mostly used in petroleum refining.

About Solas Energy

Solas Energy provides comprehensive strategy and consulting services to support the energy transition. With over 20 years of experience in project development, construction management, and climate change advisory, Solas Energy provides its clients with the depth and perspective required to navigate the complex issues associated with renewable energy project development and climate change policy. 

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