Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hydrogen Production - Electrolytic Processes

They know how to make it and burn it, but they need massive hydro-electric power to produce it. The great rivers flowing into Hudson Bay are the answer.

U.S. Department of Energy
A promising option for hydrogen production from renewable resources is electrolysis, in which electricity is used to dissociate water into hydrogen and oxygen. Photo courtesy of the Schatz Energy Research Center, Humboldt State University
Electrolysis is the process of using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. This reaction takes place in a unit called an electrolyzer. Electrolyzers can be small, appliance-size equipment and well-suited for small-scale distributed hydrogen production. Research is also under way to examine larger-scale electrolysis that could be tied directly to renewable or other non-greenhouse gas emitting electricity production. Hydrogen production at a wind farm generating electricity is an example of this.
Hydrogen produced via electrolysis can result in zero greenhouse gas emissions, depending on the source of the electricity used. The source of the required electricity—including its cost and efficiency, as well as emissions resulting from electricity generation—must be considered when evaluating the benefits of hydrogen production via electrolysis. In many regions of the country, today's power grid is not ideal for providing the electricity required for electrolysis because of the greenhouse gases released and the amount of energy required to generate electricity. Hydrogen production via electrolysis is being pursued for renewable (wind) and nuclear options. These pathways result in virtually zero GHG emissions and criteria pollutants.
How does it work?
Like fuel cells, electrolyzers consist of an anode and a cathode separated by an electrolyte. Different electrolyzers function in slightly different ways. Read more.

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