Hydrogen Energy Production Technologies

Hydrogen energy production technologies are growing in numbers with the aspiration for a greener and cleaner environment. And it is an undeniably emerging economy.

Research and development for the use of these technologies has resulted to over 500 existing refueling stations all over the world as of February 2014 with more being built on a regular basis. (Data from the list made by Fuel Cells 2000). This is indicative of the viability and acceptability of it as an alternative to fossil fuel.

Manufacturing technologies includes:

Make it from natural gas by means of three different chemical processes:

  • Steam reforming (steam methane reforming – SMR)
  • Partial oxidation (POX)
  • Autothermal reforming (ATR)
Hydrogen Steam Reformer


  1. Feed Pre-Treatment
  2. Reforming & Steam Generation
  3. High Temperature Conversion
  4. Heat Exchanger Unit
  5. Purification Unit * optional, depending on reformer design a either heat exchanger for low pressure reformer or compression to 1 bar for high pressure reformer Flow Chart of a Steam Reformer

Source/s:HyFLEET:CUTE Production from coal through a variety of gasification processes: e.g.

  • fixed bed
  • fluidised bed or entrained flow

Production from Capture and storage of CO2

  • Post-combustion
  • Pre-combustion
  • Oxyfuel-combustion

Production from Water Electrolysis

  • Alkaline Electrolysis
  • Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Electrolysis
  • High Temperature Electrolysis
  • Photo-electrolysis (photolysis)
  • Photo-biological production (biophotolysis)
  • Thermo-chemical water splitting
Hydrogen Electrolysis Flow Chart
Biomass Hydrogen

Production from Biomass

  • Steam Gasification (direct or indirect)
  • entrained flow gasification
  • gasification in supercritical water

The first commercial production technology, dates from the late 1920s, was the electrolysis of water for pure hydrogen production. In the 1960s, the industrial production of hydrogen shifted slowly towards a fossil-based feedstock, which is the main source for hydrogen today.

Current world production is not monitored, but is estimated at around 45 million tons, or 500 million cubic metres, per year. If used for energy purposes, this would be roughly equivalent to 1% of global primary energy demand. The vast majority of this is produced by reforming fossil fuels (see Table 1), principally natural gas but also oil and coal. Roughly half of this global production is used in the manufacture of ammonia-based fertilizers, with oil refineries accounting for most of the remainder.

Electrolysis Production

Source/s:CAN-Europe Tech Sheet 09

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