Metal containing waste is used for making hydrogen gas, useful for producing green energy

Hydrogen gas (H2) is commonly used in diverse industries. For example, it is used for the production of different chemicals and as a reagent in refineries. Moreover, hydrogen gas is considered to be a promising alternative for fossil fuels. The reason for this is hydrogen fuel cells do not emit air pollutants such as CO2, NOx and SOx, while providing an energy efficiency which can be three times higher than a typical internal combustion engine used in cars.

Conventional commercial hydrogen synthesis processes typically involve the use of fossil fuels, water, or biomass as resources. About 98% of the annual globally produced hydrogen gas is obtained via the reforming of hydrocarbons, which are derived from fossil fuel reserves, resulting in the production of carbon dioxide – a key player in global warming. Increasing the sustainability of hydrogen production processes is an important measure contributing to a greener economy. Therefore, industrial processes need to be redesigned.

One of the oldest known methods of producing hydrogen is  the so-called steam-iron process. Due to its simplicity, its feedstock flexibility, its amenability to use renewable energy sources, and the high purity of the obtained hydrogen, this process recently re-gained quite some interest. However, an important drawback of the steam-iron process remains its limited efficiency, its high energy consumption and the generation of significant amounts of carbon dioxide.

VITO solution

VITO developed an advanced synthesis method for the production of hydrogen gas, based on an improved  steam-iron process, resulting in economic and ecological benefits. Ferrous powder forms hydrogen gas and iron oxide (magnetite) after reaction with water. A high selectivity and degree of conversion to both products (H2 and Fe3O4) is achieved. In terms of energy consumption the usage is significantly lower in comparison with conventional methods while hydrogen gas purity and yield is high.

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