Researchers develop ‘greener’ hydrogen production method

A Dutch research team has found a way to produce hydrogen from natural gas at lower temperatures than existing methods and without releasing carbon dioxide (CO2).

The new technique uses a Rhodium catalyst to reduce the temperature of conventional steam reformation from around 850ºC to between 400ºC and 500ºC, while a Hydrotalcite sorbent (a material used to absorb liquids or gases) captures the CO2.

Eindhoven University of Technology PhD student Mohamed Halabi collaborated with the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) to demonstrate the feasibility of the process.

‘The enormous reduction of the reactor size, material loading, catalyst/sorbent ratio and energy requirements are beneficial key factors for the success of the concept over the conventional technologies,’ said Halabi.

‘Small-size hydrogen generation plants for residential or industrial application operating at a relatively low pressure, of less than 4.5 bar, seem to be feasible.’

Producing hydrogen using relatively little energy and without releasing large amounts of CO2 could be hugely beneficial in efforts to combat climate change because it burns to release high amounts of energy with only water as a by-product.