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Chemistry for Sustainable Development

2003 year, number 6

Problems of the Industrial Production of Hydrogen in Comparison with the Problems of the Production of Hydrogen as a Natural Resource

Boreskov Institute of Catalysis, Science-Engineering Centre "Zeosit",
Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences,
Pr. Akademika Lavrentyeva 5, Novosibirsk 630090 (Russia), E-mail:
Pages: 897-906


Hydrogen for the needs of industry is obtained by thermo-chemical transformation of the natural hydrogen-containing raw material - coal, natural gas, biomass - at high temperature or by electrolysis of water. A large number of works has been published indicating that hydrogen has not been consumed yet as a free element of the Earth; its outflow to the Earth's surface goes on. Gas accumulations containing from 10 to 50 % of hydrogen by volume have been discovered. It may be assumed that hydrogen still can be the major gas component at a definite depth; however, due to its high reactivity it reacts with oxygen and carbon to form water, and also hydrogenates carbon inclusions to form hydrocarbon fluids. Because of this, hydrogen outflow in the free state to the Earth's surface cannot be intensive. In the present review, an attempt is made to estimate the strategic, technological and economical reasonableness of search, production and concentrating natural hydrogen, as well as ecological advantages of the use of hydrogen of natural origin as the mean to decrease the emission of carbon dioxide.