Hydrogen separation uses membranes to separate the hydrogen from other gases, leaving it in its purest and most valuable form. The separated hydrogen that is captured can be used for many different applications including:
- LIFTING: As a lifting agent similar to helium
- FUEL: Hydrogen has long been used as a rocket fuel, but in recent years it has become more common in fueling fleets, individual vehicles, powering combustion engines, and more.
- CHEMICALS: Multiple gases, including hydrogen, are combined to create reactions, including those used in welding.
- METALS: Hydrogen is commonly used in metal extraction processes.
- MEDICAL: Of course household hydrogen peroxide is a common use for hydrogen and used in medical and dental uses.
The opportunities for hydrogen capture applications are available in nearly any application with methane heavy processes, such as coal mining, landfills, food waste digestion, solid waste treatment, water treatment, feed stocks, and more.
The process we use begins when pressurized feed gas is led through a series of filtering packages to remove contaminants such as sulfur containing components and CO2. Temperature control is critical for maximum membrane separation. The membranes separate the desired gas constituents from the impurities in the gas stream which are rejected. Membranes can achieve purity up to 97%. For high purity Hydrogen (H2) a pressure swing absorption (PSA) system is required after the membranes. Purity up to 99.999% is achievable.
The Value of Hydrogen
Hydrogen is widely considered the greenest and most valuable of alternative fuel options because it is abundant and has a low carbon output. Hydrogen gas does occur naturally in earth’s atmosphere as well but requires specialized technology and facilities to collect. However, hydrogen is present in many industrial and drilling streams making it more readily available. There are a few ways that hydrogen can generate revenue for a facility.
- Hydrogen Production: There are a number of different hydrogen capture and production methods; but the easiest and most readily available is by collecting and separating it from waste gas streams. As of 2018, up to 95% of all hydrogen production came from fossil fuels. Costing up to $10 U.S. dollars per kilogram, hydrogen has an incredibly high resale value. Hydrogen is substantially more expensive than gasoline because of its highly combustible nature which makes it more challenging to store and transport than traditional fuel. Many traditional fuel industry proponents argue that the added cost of using hydrogen as a fuel source makes it less attractive and unsustainable. But with its incredibly low carbon footprint and ability to be produced without draining natural resources, hydrogen is a promising and valuable option in the alternative fuel world.
- Hydrogen Storage: A lot of the interest in hydrogen when it comes to energy is its ability to be stored in large quantities for long periods of time without losing quality. Hydrogen is stored in liquid form and can be stored underground in existing geological formations like salt caverns and depleted oil and gas fields. Owners of mines, caverns, and drilling sites can rent out the space to companies looking to store their hydrogen, creating revenue at otherwise unused sites. With so many mines shutting down due to public pressure and lack of demand, the subletting of caverns can provide space for hydrogen storage. The gas can also be stored in specifically built pressure vessels that can be mobile for more immediate access similar to gasoline. This is necessary for hydrogen-fuel powered vehicles.
- Hydrogen Conversion (Syngas): In addition to being usable in its basic form, clean hydrogen can be converted to electricity either through open or combined-cycle turbines or fuel cells. Carbon monoxide, split with carbon, combined with hydrogen, makes syngas. Syngas is a very valuable product. It can be produced from many hydrocarbon feedstocks including those from coal and biomass applications. The most popular use of syngas is electricity generation. Syngas is also a crucial ingredient to the production of many widely used compounds including ammonia, methanol, synthetic hydrocarbon fuels, and even hydrogen itself. Syngas can, and has, been used as a replacement for gasoline during shortages. Companies in this field are constantly looking for hydrogen suppliers leading to opportunities for revenue in many facilities. There are two methods to produce syngas. The first is steam reforming liquid hydrogen. The second is through the gasification of methane heavy emissions, like coal, waste, and fossil fuels.
Because of these newer technologies that allow hydrogen to be produced from already existing waste streams, hydrogen powered vehicles and public transportation are becoming more and more popular. The demand is expected to sharply increase over the next 10 years and many are calling hydrogen the fuel of the future.
Gulf Coast Environmental Systems is uniquely positioned to assist facilities interested in producing clean hydrogen. As a full-service pollution control and related energy solutions provider, we are able to design, engineer, build, and service all of the equipment necessary to do this. With over 3-centuries of combined gas cleaning and hydrogen separation experience, we are leading the field in technology development and innovation. If you are interested in learning more about hydrogen production, and the revenue it brings, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 832.476.9024