Production from fossil sources

The technologies for the production of hydrogen from fossil fuels are mature and widely used, even though they should be improved from an economic, energetic and environmental point of view.
These processes are bases on the production of hydrogen through different refining stages and fractioning of hydrocarbon molecules until the complete elimination of carbon is obtained.
In this way a huge quantity of hydrogen is currently produced, for example all the hydrogen consumed by the chemical sector to produce synthesis fertilizers and by the metallurgic sector, for steel production.
From oil and methane
To extract hydrogen from oil or methane water steam is used at a temperature of 800°C along with a material that speeds up the process (catalyst): carbon oxidizes, hydrogen is freed from the molecule and carbon dioxide (CO2) is released. Through this operation, called reforming, impure hydrogen is obtained, i.e. it is mixed with another gas, carbon monoxide. To obtain pure hydrogen also this gas needs to be eliminated. This procedure is technically well experimented and is carried out at industrial level with large reactors, with a capacity of 100,000 cubic metres per hour.
Another system to produce hydrogen is cracking, which consists of breaking the methane molecule through thermal systems. This system does not produce carbon monoxide but coal and it is not among the most efficient systems.
From coal
To obtain hydrogen from coal a procedure called gasification is carried out: coal is made to react with water steam at 900°C, and then at 500°C with another catalysing compound. The resulting gas, formed of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, was once used as city gas. In the United States, over the last few years efforts have been made to carry out this operation directly in the mines, where waste could be confined, thus preventing the pollution of other areas.

 

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Facts

  • A hydrogen house

    In Settimo, a municipality close to Turin, the first Unité d’Abitation has been created...

    Porto Marghera Hydrogen Park

    In Porto Marghera (Venice), the Hydrogen Park was created. It is the biggest centre in the world for hydrogen production...

    Hydrogen from the sugar cane

    The Centro di Ricerca Interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile (CIRPS) carried out a study in Peru...

  • Some curiosities about methane hydrates

    The melting of the ice cells, not only brings about the release of methane gas, but it also produces another…

    Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...

    Electricity and electrons

    In all electric plants, excluding photovoltaic solar plants, mechanic energy is transformed into electric energy through the same basic procedure...

  • Orimulsion

    In order to improve supply security, and therefore the diversification of sources to produce electric energy...

    Cracking operations

    At the end of the fractional distillation, long hydrocarbon molecules can be transformed into lighter molecules by means of more…

    New photocatalytic compounds

    The term "photocatalysis" refers to a phenomenon by which a substance alters the speed of a chemical reaction

  • 16 May 2011

    A hydrogen house

    In Settimo, a municipality close to Turin, the first Unité d’Abitation has been created...

    Porto Marghera Hydrogen Park

    In Porto Marghera (Venice), the Hydrogen Park was created. It is the biggest centre in the world for hydrogen production...

  • Hydrogen from the sugar cane

    The Centro di Ricerca Interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile (CIRPS) carried out a study in Peru...

    14 June 2011

    Some curiosities about methane hydrates

    The melting of the ice cells, not only brings about the release of methane gas, but it also produces another…

  • 2 March 2011

    Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...

    Electricity and electrons

    In all electric plants, excluding photovoltaic solar plants, mechanic energy is transformed into electric energy through the same basic procedure...

  • 16 May 2011

    A hydrogen house

    In Settimo, a municipality close to Turin, the first Unité d’Abitation has been created...

  • Porto Marghera Hydrogen Park

    In Porto Marghera (Venice), the Hydrogen Park was created. It is the biggest centre in the world for hydrogen production...

  • Hydrogen from the sugar cane

    The Centro di Ricerca Interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile (CIRPS) carried out a study in Peru...