Hydrogen Report Calls for 40% Growth in Next Five Years

John Davis

sric.gifA new report by the SRI Consulting says consumption of hydrogen will grow 40 percent in the next five years… thanks to environmental regulations and the inferiority of current sour feedstocks.

This press release from SRIC says a big change that will need to take place during that time is the where we will get the hydrogen:

Bala Suresh, Senior Consultant at SRIC said, “The severe environmental regulations on sulfur in diesel are responsible for the increased consumption. The process of removing sulfur consumes hydrogen, and it is estimated in the future that diesel production will increase relative to gasoline.”

SRIC’s 2007 Hydrogen report estimates that globally 630.8 billion cubic meters (52.6 million metric tons) of hydrogen were consumed in 2006. Approximately 96% of all hydrogen is from fossil fuels, with natural gas being the most frequently used at an estimated 49%, followed by liquid hydrocarbons with 29%, coal with 18% and electrolysis and other sources at about 4%.

The increasing use of hydrogen deficient heavy crude as feedstock material in refineries is expected to also contribute to the growing hydrogen consumption. In addition, oil-sands processing, gas-to-liquids, and coal gasification projects that are ongoing, all require enormous amounts of hydrogen and will boost the size of the market significantly.

Lead Author Stefan Schlag commented “Hydrogen fuel cells have a long way to go to become a widespread energy source in transportation. Technical problems are numerous and the infrastructure necessary for area-wide distribution of hydrogen requires massive investments.” Mr Schlag continued “To make hydrogen meaningful as a future energy carrier, a tremendously larger percent of hydrogen should be produced through electrolysis of water, with energy from renewable resources, preferably solar and wind.

The 250-page report is available by ordering through SRIC’s web site.