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Project to Investigate Hydrogen Production at Ethanol Plants

H2Gen’s current analysis is that for use in vehicles, ethanol reforming as a hydrogen pathway produces fewer GHG emissions on a lifecycle basis than SMR-produced hydrogen, but at a higher cost. Click to enlarge. Source: H2Gen.

The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota is leading a project to investigate the production of hydrogen at existing and future ethanol facilities. The hydrogen produced could be used on-site in fuel cells to provide additional power for the plant or as fuel for hydrogen vehicles.

Project partners include the US Department of Energy, the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council, the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council, Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company, and H2Gen Innovations. H2Gen is a provider of low-cost, on-site steam methane reforming (SMR) systems and gas purification plants.

Under the multiyear contract, the EERC’s Centers for Renewable Energy and Biomass Utilization are testing the technical feasibility of integrating hydrogen production with ethanol production.

Activities include optimizing the ethanol-reforming process, demonstrating utilization of the produced hydrogen for power generation, optimizing the design for future ethanol plants, and conducting a full economic evaluation of the technology.

The information gathered from these efforts will be used to better define system integration, energy input, and the operational conditions required to produce hydrogen at an ethanol facility.

Ultimately, numerous cost savings can be realized through integration of heat, power, and distillation systems within an ethanol plant. Additionally, if coupled with a fuel cell, overall plant efficiency could be improved.

—Chad Wocken, EERC Research Manager




Has anyone thought of using the earth to compress hydrogen? More precisely, what stops a company from running two cables down into the ocean 10,000 feet and supplying the cable with wind powered elecrtricity, thereby producing hydrogen from the ocean at a pressure of 4454 psi. The hydrogen would be collected at depth and piped, at a collection pressure of 4454 psi, up to a surface collection station and further into existing high pressure gas distribution infrastructures.

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