AIChE Journal Highlight: Integrating Brown and Blue Pathways with Green Hydrogen Infrastructure | AIChE

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AIChE Journal Highlight: Integrating Brown and Blue Pathways with Green Hydrogen Infrastructure

Journal Highlight


As the chemical process industries (CPI) and society as a whole give more attention toward cleaner energy sources, the advancement toward a hydrogen economy is inevitable. The ideal choice for producing hydrogen is using green electrolyzer technologies, which operate on clean energy sources. However, widespread adoption of this completely “fossil-free” hydrogen is prominently hindered by its cost-competitiveness and the transient nature of renewable power.

Accordingly, most of the global hydrogen demand is fulfilled by an economically superior process often referred to as the “brown pathway,” which is based on steam methane reforming (SMR). The brown pathway is associated with substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and combines sequential reactors, separation techniques, and heat integration to meet process requirements. A recent improvement in the brown pathway incorporates carbon capture, which leads to a “blue pathway” for hydrogen.

Eliminating these fossil-dependent pathways and incorporating a greener energy matrix in conjunction with electrolyzer technologies is not at par with the rate at which hydrogen demand is...

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