The increasing urgency to decarbonize industry and reduce the carbon footprint of an ever-growing world population has spurred interest in hydrogen. Hydrogen can help decarbonize processes that are difficult to electrify and can be used as a carbon-free energy carrier for energy storage and transportation. However, no significant natural sources of hydrogen gas exist, so it must be produced from naturally occurring hydrogen-rich compounds.
Currently, hydrogen is generated almost exclusively via steam reforming of methane (SRM), a large-scale industrial process in which methane, the main component of natural gas, is reacted with steam in the presence of a catalyst to produce a mixture of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2). This mixture is typically referred to as synthesis gas. A closely related alternative to SRM is dry reforming of methane (DRM), where steam is replaced by CO2 as the oxidant, producing a similar synthesis gas mixture as SRM albeit with a different ratio of CO and H2. In either case, the produced synthesis gas must be purified and separated in further process steps to obtain the high purity required for most hydrogen applications (>99.97% for fuel cell applications). Overall, these processes cause significant...
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