Hydrogen is the simplest element on the periodic table. A hydrogen atom carries one proton, one neutron, and is the lightest chemical substance on the planet with an atomic weight of 1.008. The American Government has decided to honor this element by declaring National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day on October 8 (10/08), matching its atomic weight. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, but the problem is that hydrogen is chemically bonded to just about everything including water, corn, cow poop, garbage, etc.
So How Do We Create Hydrogen Gas?
1. Steam Methane Reforming - Most common in the USA – Future lies in Bio-Methane as input
2. Electrolysis – Water and Electricity as input - Anyone can create it… anywhere
3. By-product Purification
4. Liquid Hydrogen vaporized into its gaseous state
Most Energy Efficient Ways to Produce Hydrogen Fuel
The most common way to produce hydrogen in the United States is through Steam Methane Reforming which sweats the hydrogen out of Methane or Natural Gas. The overall environmental impact of this process is about a 30% reduction in carbon pollution if the source of the methane or natural gas is coming from the grid.
However, what if we go directly to the biggest problem of carbon pollution in The World which is agriculture and farming? What if we can capture the biogas emitted from cow manure and rotting food waste, and send it through an anaerobic digester which converts the biogas to methane? We can then send the methane through a Steam Methane Reformer and produce 99.99% clean hydrogen gas to fuel your Forklift Fleets and Business Logistics - all in an effort to achieve zero-emission hydrogen production. In fact, is there such an idea of Negative-emissions? That is exactly what is happening here.
The future of hydrogen production also lies in Electrolysis. This process is simple. You send electricity through water and its separates the hydrogen and oxygen atoms. If the electricity is coming from renewable sources like wind or solar energy then the Hydrogen production is completely carbon free. There's ongoing research and development to help grow this technology and find the most cost-effective way to mass produce hydrogen for consumers.
Kick-Starting the Hydrogen Fuel Industry
Fairchild Equipment is bringing Hydrogen Fuel Cells to business applications. As a leader in the forklift industry, we’re doing our part to help kick-start The World into a hydrogen economy. Forklifts are the first proven application of hydrogen fuel cell technology to economically succeed. To help ensure continued growth, our government is offering tax rebates to companies that adopt hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Major car manufacturers are also developing hydrogen fuel cell technology for vehicles. One stated that their goal is to reduce 90% of their carbon emissions by 2050 and the only way that can happen is if Hydrogen plays a “Huge” roll. Honda has been quoted saying that Hydrogen is the “Holy Grail” of the motoring industry.
The problem for car manufacturers is the classic scenario of what comes first: the chicken or the egg? Car Producers don’t want to commercialize hydrogen fuel cell technology because there are no filling stations available to re-fuel their cars. Hydrogen Infrastructure Suppliers won’t put up gas stations until there are vehicles on the road. So what comes first, the chicken or the egg?
The US government has finally stepped in after decades of dispute for the lack of hydrogen infrastructure and filling stations. With the help of some major car manufacturers, there are now 50 retail hydrogen gas stations in the state of California. Other countries around The World like Germany and The Netherlands are banning the production of internal combustion engines by 2030 forcing green technologies like Hydrogen Fuel Cells to succeed.
Stay tuned as we dive deeper into Steam Methane Reforming and how we want major food processors to help get involved as we, together, solve the Worldwide problem of carbon pollution.