In the traditional hydrogen production industry, hydrogen is derived from fossil fuels. It is the most widely used method and there are mature technologies and industrial devices for this purpose.
The processes mainly include the production of hydrogen by partial oxidation of heavy oil, by natural gas vapor and by gasification of coal.
However, natural gas and coal reserves are limited and the hydrogen production process pollutes the environment.
According to the requirements of scientific development, this method is obviously not the best choice in future hydrogen production technology.
Conversely, the electrolysis of water has a long history in the hydrogen production industry. Commonly used electrolytic cell usually adopts bipolar filter press structure or single stage box structure.
The advantages of such a structure are simple equipment, easy maintenance and low investment. The downside is that it covers a large area and the space-time efficiency is low. The structure of the filter press is more complex and the advantages are compactness, space saving, small footprint and high space-time efficiency.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to maintain and requires a large investment. With the development of science and technology, a cell with a solid polymer electrolyte (SPE) has emerged. The materials of the SPE cells are easy to obtain, suitable for mass production, and the same number of anodes and cathodes are used for H2 and O2 separation. Its efficiency is higher than that of conventional alkaline electrolysis cells.
The phase flow of the SPE cell is the conventional 1/10 alkaline cell electrolysis, and the service life is approximately 300 days. The downside is that the energy consumption of water electrolysis is still very high.
The water electrolysis industry in many countries remains at the level of the bipolar filter press structure electrolysis cell or single box electrolysis cell, which is still far from the level industry and more advanced research.
The catalytic thermal decomposition of methane to produce hydrogen is accompanied by a large amount of carbon dioxide emissions, but in recent years – due to the thermal decomposition of methane – CO2 emissions can be avoided for hydrogen production.
The decomposition of one mole of hydrogen by methane requires 37.8 KJ of energy and releases 0.05 mole of CO2. The main advantage of this method is that while producing high purity hydrogen, solid carbon is produced, which is cheaper and easier to produce, so that carbon dioxide is not released in the atmosphere and the greenhouse effect is reduced.
Because it essentially does not produce CO2, it is considered a process of transition from fossil fuels to renewables. However, the production cost is not low: if the carbon by-product has broad market prospects, this method will become promising for the production of hydrogen.
The biological production of hydrogen is that hydrogen is produced by microorganisms using substances containing hydrogen (including plant starch, cellulose, sugar and other organic matter, as well as water) as substrates for producing hydrogen gas at normal temperature and pressure.
So far, the hydrogen-producing organisms reported in research can be divided into two categories: photosynthetic organisms (anaerobic photosynthetic bacteria, cyanobacteria, and green algae) and non-photosynthetic organisms (strict anaerobic bacteria, facultative anaerobic bacteria, and bacteria. aerobic).
Photosynthetic organisms, cyanobacteria, and green algae can use the ingenious photosynthetic structure to convert solar energy into hydrogen energy. Therefore, their research into hydrogen production is much more extensive than that of non-photosynthetic organisms.
Both can photo-separate water to produce hydrogen. Photo-splitting of water to produce hydrogen is an ideal way to extract it. However, when cyanobacteria and green algae release hydrogen through photosynthesis, the process is accompanied by the release of oxygen.
In addition to the low efficiency of hydrogen production, the inactivation of enzymes when exposed to oxygen is a key problem that this technology is expected to solve. It’s quite simple: Anaerobic photosynthetic bacteria compared to blue-green bacteria and algae, an anaerobic photosynthetic hydrogen process that does not generate oxygen.
Due to the complexity and precision of the photosynthetic hydrogen desorption process, research is still primarily focused on the screening or selection of high activity hydrogen-producing strains, cultivation and monitoring of environmental conditions for increase hydrogen production. This is all still at the experimental level.
Non-photosynthetic organisms can degrade macromolecular organic matter to produce hydrogen and bioconvert renewable energy materials (cellulose and its degradation products, starch, etc.) to produce energy from hydrogen.
Research shows its advantages over photosynthetic organisms. Research on this type of microorganism as a source of hydrogen began in the 1960s. In the late 1990s, Chinese scientist Ren Nanqi and others researched and developed the technology for the biological production of hydrogen for the fermentation of organic wastewater using anaerobic activated sludge and organic wastewater as raw materials.
This technology overcomes the limitation that biological hydrogen production technology must use pure bacteria and stationary technology, and creates a new way of using non-immobilized bacteria to produce hydrogen. The results of the pilot tests show that the hydrogen production bioreactor has the highest continuous hydrogen production. The ability to reach certain quantities and the cost of production is about half the cost of producing hydrogen from the water electrolysis process.
With particular reference to China, in his speech delivered in September 2020 during the debate at the 75e session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Xi Jinping announced that China will strengthen its autonomous contribution to tackle pollution problems and “will strive to reach a peak in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060 “.
In October 2020, peak carbon and carbon neutrality were included for the first time in the fourteenth five-year plan (“The Path to Decarbonization”).
In April 2021, during the video conference between China, France and Germany, President Xi Jinping once again recalled this tough battle and stressed that China and Europe should strengthen dialogue and cooperation on the climate policy in the field of green development, in order to make climate change – the pillar of Sino-European cooperation – relevant.
It is a general trend for China and Europe to strengthen climate policy dialogue and cooperation in the field of green development, and it is also in their common interest. The latest generation of photovoltaic technology for the production of electricity and the production of hydrogen from ocean waves (green renewable energies by clean and renewable energies), proposed for a long time by China, are attempts and initiatives to achieve the objective of peak carbon and carbon neutrality.
In this regard, the Memorandum of Understanding (November 25, 2019) between the International World Group and the National Ocean Technology Center – led directly by the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources, led by Lu Hao – and the proposals of the IWG- Eldor Group concerning cutting-edge technologies – currently available – to be developed in partnership for the Chinese market, constitute the first substantial progress made in this field.
The Chinese government is strongly committed to the path of a low-carbon energy transition that allows a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, by converting energy production from the combustion of oil in traditional industrial sites into green (clean) energy from renewable sources on the Silk Road.
The Eldor Group is already present in China in the automotive sector or in the production of motors and components for electric motors (ELDOR Automotive Powertrain) in Dalian (Liaoning province). It is the production center for the Asian market of manufacturing excellence ignition systems.
These are projects in an advanced stage of development with “pilot” factories already operational in Italy, which can be carried out in China and in any part of the world, with the support of local investors.