Over this past weekend I decided to read my review copy of “The Hydrogen Society … more than just a Vision?” by Arno A. Evers which had been sent to me gratis from overseas.
This is not like other books about hydrogen that serve as primers to the newly informed public. This is a more in-depth look at how to create hydrogen renewable and why fuel cell cars make sense.
Right now, according to Evers 45 million tons of hydrogen is produced each year generating sales worth around $28 billion USD. Most of this is used in the refinement of crude oil into gasoline. Ninety-six percent of the hydrogen production in the world involves the steam reformation of natural gas, which itself is not as clean as using renewable energy.
Evers talks about Germany company ENERTRAG which is the world’s largest independent renewable energy only utility using wind (400 turbines), solar and hydrogen to produce one billion kWh of electricity annually which is enough to power one million homes.
But critics to a hydrogen produced via brute force electrolysis often point out that the inefficiencies of this process. They say, why not use the electricity from solar panels and wind turbines and store it in traditional or leading edge batteries?
Mr. Evers also says there is a better way to produce hydrogen from renewable energy without using electricity. He advocates for processes like photoelectrochemical hydrogen, biological photolytic hydrogen, and conversion of biomass and wastes into hydrogen. Mr. Evers even talks about solar thermal water splitting as a more efficient method of creating hydrogen.
But the top solution that his book advocates for is direct solar hydrogen production. Evers mentions the Hydrosol project as exciting new technology in this field. According to the Hydrosol website, “… the participating research team has developed an innovative solar reactor for the production of hydrogen from the splitting of steam using solar energy, constructed from special refractory ceramic thin-wall, multi-channeled (honeycomb) monoliths optimized to absorb solar radiation and coated with highly active oxygen ‘trapping’/water-splitting materials (based on doped oxides exhibiting redox behavior).
“The ‘proof-of-concept’ of the technology has been demonstrated beyond any doubt in a pilot scale solar reactor designed, built and operating at the DLR solar furnace facility in Cologne (Germany), continuously producing ‘solar hydrogen’”.
This direct solar to hydrogen production can be used in power plants or the hydrogen can be sold and piped to various fueling stations local to the plant to be used in fuel cell cars.
The book can be found on Amazon.com and more information and Mr. Evers and his theories can be found on the Hydrogen Ambassadors website.