How Is Green H2 Produced?

Green H2 could soon replace fossil fuels. Look, just do a quick search about energy trends in the world and you’ll discover that everyone is talking about hydrogen. Yes, it is the most abundant element, but it is not available ready for use. It has to be extracted through the different processes depending on what one wants to do with the energy. In this article, we’ll take a look at how green H2 is produced. 

Green H2 Production Processes

Hydrogen can be produced using different processes. Some processes use chemical reactions while others use heat and even in some instances, microorganisms such as algae and bacteria can produce it through some biological processes. With that said, let’s get a deeper look at these ways through which green H2 is produced: 

  • Electrolysis Process 

Green H2 is produced through a process known as electrolysis. So, what does this production process entail? Well, it involves the use of an electric current to split water or separate hydrogen from oxygen. The uniqueness of this process is that if the energy used in the process is less than what’s produced, the result is that energy is eventually produced without any emission of carbon dioxide or any unwanted pollutants as is the case with the use of fossil fuel to generate energy. 

  • Solar Water Splitting 

The solar water splitting process is also referred to as the photolytic process. Whichever name is given, it simply means that the process uses light to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. It is almost similar to the electrolysis process. The difference comes from the method that is used to separate hydrogen and oxygen molecules. For sustainability purposes, research and development activities on how these processes can be used in the long-term to produce green hydrogen with little or no negative impact on the environment are being undertaken. So far, there is evidence that a huge potential exists in these processes and that with the right technologies they might help meet the energy demands of various applications now and in the future.

  • Biological Reactions 

Bacteria and microalgae are microorganisms that can also produce green H2 through biological processes using organic matter or sunlight. Currently, these are hydrogen production processes under research. Interestingly, a couple of pilot demonstrations have been done and they are highly promising in terms of sustainability. The major areas of interest under these biological reactions are processes termed photo-biological reactions and microbial biomass conversion. There might be a slight difference between them, but they are all green hydrogen production methods. Usually, biological processes are safe and often have a positive impact or benefits to the environment or ecosystems. That’s why there are many projects under this to try and find out if they can be the best alternatives for producing hydrogen. 

  • Thermochemical Processes 

As the name suggests, these processes make use of energy found in various materials or natural resources, including biomass, coal and natural gas. In these processes, heat is used or released depending on the specific thermochemical process that is used to produce hydrogen. Due to the diverse nature of these processes, there are many trials aimed at arriving at specific methods that can help produce hydrogen energy sustainably without any adverse effects on the environment. 

What’s the World Doing about Green H2 Production?

Several major projects are ongoing in different parts of the world to help improve the hydrogen market and make the future of hydrogen as a renewable energy source a reality. Among the areas of major focus are how hydrogen can be stored, transported and the energy used to produce it reduced to lower levels to reduce the cost of production irrespective of the process that is used to produce hydrogen. 

Different countries and companies have also funded different research and development activities depending on what they are interested in with green H2. Some want it for the automotive industry, others want it as a way of reducing CO2 emissions and some are after making money from it. Irrespective of the intentions, there is evidence that, indeed, hydrogen power might be a good replacement for fossil fuel energy. However, that depends on what comes up from the many research and other projects underway.