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Everything you need to know about Hydrogen


The production techniques consist of extracting di-hydrogen H 2 of the primary resource.

Different production techniques exist:

  • THE steam reforming of natural gas is the most widespread technique. This involves reacting methane with water to obtain a mixture containing hydrogen and CO 2 . CO 2 emitted by this process could possibly be captured and stored to produce carbon-free hydrogen. Instead of natural gas, the use of biomethane (methane from the fermentation of biomass) also constitutes a solution for producing carbon-free hydrogen;
  • there gasification allows the production, by combustion, of a mixture of CO and H 2 from coal (solution which emits a lot of CO 2 ) or biomass;
  • Hydrogen can also be produced from water and electricity, this is the electrolysis of water . The electrolyzer separates a water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen. This route is still not widespread because it is significantly more expensive (2 to 3 times more expensive than natural gas reforming) and reserved for specific uses which require a high level of purity such as electronics.

“Today, 95% of hydrogen is produced from hydrocarbons (oil, natural gas and coal), the least expensive solution. However, this process emits CO 2 , a greenhouse gas. Manufacturers are increasingly considering producing hydrogen via electrolysis using low-carbon energies. The challenge, however, remains the cost of this production method, which is currently much more expensive than that of reforming.”

Guy Maisonnier, economist engineer, IFPEN


With the urgent need to fight against greenhouse gas emissions , hydrogen represents a complementary path in vehicle electrification in parallel with the biofuels approach. But it is an alternative which will require time, technological progress and significant investments in order to reach cost levels compatible with distribution to mass markets.

Manufacturers are counting on a deadline of at least 20 to 30 years so that these vehicles reach a significant market share for private vehicles, with perhaps faster deployment in the field of freight transport, road or not. Until then, and probably beyond, the thermal motor will remain the dominant mode of motorization while hybrid and electric vehicles will have started to take a significant market share.

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