The Future of Green Hydrogen Production

The Future of Green Hydrogen Production

With green hydrogen expected to become a key factor in decarbonization efforts, Honeywell’s Catalyst-Coated Membrane (CCM) and Polybed™ Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) technologies are expected to help increase its production efficiency and lower costs.

The focus around green hydrogen continues to grow as it’s expected to play a vital role in end users in their journey to reaching carbon neutrality.

Despite being seen as an alternative for other hydrogen production processes that contribute to high carbon emissions, one of the main challenges for green hydrogen’s wide adoption and commercialization is its high production cost.

However, as part of Honeywell’s Green Hydrogen Program, our Polybed™ Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) and the recently developed Catalyst-Coated Membrane (CCM) technology, are expected to help produce green hydrogen more efficiently and in turn aid in driving down costs.

What’s green hydrogen and why does its production matter?

Although hydrogen is the lightest element on the periodic table, and often found as part of a daily essential such as water, its impact and influence across various industries is extensive.

Hydrogen can be used for power and heat generation, to power transportation, aid in energy storage, as industrial feedstock and in other high purity applications such as fuel cells and semi-conductors.

There are many different ways to make hydrogen and depending on what process is used, a color classification is given. Globally, the most commonly used process is steam-methane reforming (SMR), which produces what’s classified as grey hydrogen.

As its name suggests, hydrogen produced by SMR involves the use of a methane source such as natural gas. Even though the cost to produce grey hydrogen is less when compared to green hydrogen, SMR is a high contributor to emissions when carbon capture is not part of the process, as one of its byproducts is carbon dioxide.

An SMR process that leverages carbon capture is called blue hydrogen. A Blue Hydrogen process will take the carbon dioxide traditionally emitted into the atmosphere, purify it, and either have it stored underground through industrial carbon capture and storage (CCS) or transport it for utilization in another industrial process.

Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced by water electrolysis, which is the separation of water into hydrogen and oxygen using an electrolyzer. This process can contribute significantly less emissions overall if a renewable energy source such as wind or solar power is used to power the electrolyzer. The hydrogen produced would then be classified as green hydrogen.

As a result, green hydrogen is seen as a top alternative that can help companies meet their sustainability commitments as well as regulations aimed to decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors.

However, one of the main challenges for its wide adoption is the high costs to produce it. This is where our latest catalyst-coated membrane (CCM) and Polybed™ Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) technologies can assist.

What significance will the new technologies have on green hydrogen’s production process?

Electrolyzer technologies such as Alkaline, Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC), Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) and Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM) electrolyzers can enable water electrolysis. Our CCM and PSA technologies focuses on PEM and AEM

Although currently only available in samples for testing, the new Honeywell catalyst-coated membrane technology is expected to increase efficiency and performance of an electrolyzer, helping drive down the overall cost to produce green hydrogen.

In lab testing, the CCM technology enabled higher electrolyzer efficiency and higher electric current density enabled by a breakthrough proprietary high ionic conductivity membrane and high activity catalyst.

Although the water electrolysis production process results in oxygen and hydrogen, the hydrogen-rich gases may contain moisture, nitrogen, and traces of oxygen. In order for it to meet high-purity levels needed for specific applications, hydrogen must be purified to remove these impurities and any other potential contaminants. This is where Honeywell’s Green Hydrogen Purification Process can help.

Developed in 1966, the Honeywell’s Polybed™ Purification Swing Absorption (PSA) technology can purify green hydrogen by selectively separating impurities. This technology uses proprietary UOP adsorbents at high pressure from hydrogen-containing process streams to remove trace contaminants.

Through modular design, installation time is reduced by up to 30% versus conventional ‘stick-built’ construction. It allows for hydrogen to be recovered and upgraded to more than 99.9% purity to meet various high purity green hydrogen needs with minimal hydrogen loss and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions occurring.

Why does this matter?

The demand for green hydrogen is expected to grow by 10-fold, according to the Hydrogen Council. It’s also expected to play an important role in fulfilling net-zero climate pledges in the coming decades.

Due to advancements brought by the technologies in our Green Hydrogen Program, Honeywell leverages years of expertise to help enable higher efficiency and drive down costs in the green hydrogen production process.

For more than 50 years, Honeywell has helped innovate and provide hydrogen processing solutions to meet customer’s growing needs. This goal continues as we recently announced that Honeywell Ventures will be investing in Electric Hydrogen, an early-stage company that’s focusing on the development of a new generation of electrolyzer technologies to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The investment will support the scale-up of Electric Hydrogen’s high throughput electrolyzer and manufacturing technology and deployment of pilot projects at large scale for industrial and infrastructure applications.

With the developments in our new CCM technology and through this collaboration, it will help improve the speed and reduce the cost of deploying and operating sustainable green hydrogen production facilities.

Contact us to learn more about how our Honeywell H2 Solutions can help you meet your CO2 reduction goals today.