Hydrogen was first produced in the 1600’s in a lab setting by reacting metals with acids, but it was not isolated and named until the late 1700’s. Research and advances continued through the 1800’s, but industrial scale hydrogen production methods didn’t become prevalent until the 1900’s.
Today, industrial scale hydrogen is produced by several methods with the most prominent ones (Steam Reforming, byproduct recovery from Chemical Production and Electrolysis) described here, in more detail. Other processes (not described here) include Gasification, Partial Oxidation, Autothermal Reforming, Pyrolysis and Cracking. In the future Hydrogen may be produced through photoelectrochemical water splitting, Thermochemical water splitting or Biological processes.
Hydrogen production methods
Water Electrolysis is the process of applying a direct electrical current through an electrolyte to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Another hydrogen production route is the recovery and purification of byproduct hydrogen from chemical or petrochemical processes.
Steam methane reforming
Steam Reforming, also known as Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) is the most common method for producing hydrogen today.
Carbon Capture is an add-on technology that can be paired with Steam Methane Reforming (SMR).