Thursday, July 05, 2007

Hydrogen Production

The Center supports electrolysis from nuclear power plants as the preferred alternative for producing hydrogen for a hydrogen economy. Of course, fossil fuels will always be a part of the U.S. economy. Electrolysis uses an electric current to separate hydrogen from oxygen in water. The Center is also promoting the use of burning coal in pure oxygen in the firebox to reduce the volume of gases targeted for sequestration. Nitrogen makes up almost 80 percent of that volume.

Right now about 95% of hydrogen production in the U.S. comes from natural gas. Hydrogen is produced using a process called natural gas reforming whereby high temperature steam (700-1000 C) under pressure causes a reaction with methane to separate the hydrogen, carbon monoxide and small amounts of carbon dioxide. Natural gas contains methane (CH4). Propane, ethanol and gasoline can also be used in this process.

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