Hydrogen Production Factsheet

This new technical report from UKPIA explores factors affecting the decarbonisation of the transport sector. New technologies from electrification to use of low carbon fuels and hydrogen will have to work alongside efficiencies from blockchain, mobility as a service and AI in order to decarbonise what is 2021's largest emitting sector in the UK. The report offers technical findings of changes that could make Net-Zero a reality.

Hydrogen Production: Factsheet

UKPIA is the only trade association that brings together companies involved in refining, renewable fuel production, terminal operations and filling stations. Our members contribute significantly to the UK’s extensive and resilient fuel supply chain today and are preparing for the future by planning and investing in projects that reduce emissions for tomorrow’s Net-Zero economy.

With Hydrogen set to become a major energy source in the UK, I am delighted to present this report which provides policymakers and stakeholders with detailed information about how it is produced. This is an exciting time for industry as it starts to gear up for future hydrogen demand and the report will provide useful reference material on the various chemical processes involved in its manufacture.

Elizabeth de Jong Chief Executive Officer UKPIA


ii 01 Introduction 02 Green Hydrogen 03 Blue Hydrogen Biohydrogen 04 05 Carbon, Capture, Utilisation and Storage 06 Safety and economic principles

Introduction: This report is for policymakers and people in the downstream sector with an interest in hydrogen. It sets out the manufacturing processes involved in the many forms of hydrogen which will all be crucial in helping the UK transition to net zero. Hydrogen has multiple, important roles such as replacing refinery fuel gas (RFG) as a source of energy in refineries and can be sold to directly reduce emissions from final users by powering airplanes or vehicles on the ground, or for heating homes. The importance of Low Carbon Hydrogen (LCH) in meeting Net-Zero by 2050 is clear from the Climate Change Committee's (CCC) latest report to Parliament: in it we see that

Green hydrogen is produced by using low carbon electricity to split water through electrolysis [1]. Pink hydrogen also uses electrolysis to split water but uses electricity from nuclear sources [2]. Blue hydrogen comes from Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) [3] Autothermal Reforming (ATR) [4] or Partial Oxidation (POX) [5] combined with CCUS [6]. BEIS's LCH Standard (LCHS) [7] and LCH Business Models [8] are incentivising supply of these forms of hydrogen. It is expected that these initiatives will help facilitate the UK Government's ambition to provide 10GW of hydrogen by 2030 in accordance with the 2022 British Energy Security Strategy [9]. LCH derived as a by-product from Catalytic Reforming of Naphtha [10] is not currently recognised under the LCHS but might be in the future as the standard develops. The emission pathway for biohydrogen, which involves the gasification of biomas to produce a mixture of gasses similar to Blue hydrogen, is included in the LCHS calculation methodology but not in the LCH Business Model.

hydrogen may have a role in the decarbonisation of various sectors including industry, buildings, and transport [ref]. Hydrogen is not itself an energy source and must be produced using other sources of energy. Where the source is from fossil resources, then no carbon benefit is gained unless the carbon is captured so that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not released to the atmosphere, a process called Carbon Capture Utilisation & Storage (CCUS). There are a number of routes to produce and supply LCH currently available.

Green and Pink hydrogen:

The carbon intensity of Green hydrogen is closely related to the carbon intensity of the electricity used. Wind or solar power are low carbon sources. The UK has access to onshore and offshore sources [11] and the supply has increased significantly over recent decades. Hydroelectricity and electricity from biomass also form part of the mix of low carbon electricity. Pink Hydrogen has a very similar production pathway to Green Hydrogen, in that it is produced from the electrolysis of water, but uses low carbon electricity from nuclear sources. Electrolysers use the low carbon electricity to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen. The electrolysers can range in size from small, appliance-size equipment that is well-suited for small-scale distributed hydrogen production to large-scale, central production facilities [13]. The development of Electrolyser technology continues at pace during the energy transition.

Renewables made up the following percentages of the UK electricity supply (Q4 2021) [12]





Percentage UK energy Supply Q4 2021

Types of electrolysers: A number of technologies are available for electrolysers, with different operating conditions and efficiencies. Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Electrolysers [14] [15] Alkaline Electrolysers [16] Solid Oxide Electrolysers [17]

Blue hydrogen: Steam Methane Reforming hydrogen

The CO is then reacted with steam to produce additional hydrogen and CO2. Finally, the hydrogen is separated and concentrated, typically using Pressure Swing Adsorption. The process releases significant amounts of CO2 as a by- product. In order to mitigate this, and to make the hydrogen low carbon, the CO2 must be recovered and stored using CCUS.

In the steam reforming process [18], a desulfurized hydrocarbon feedstock such as natural gas, refinery offgas, liquefied petroleum gas or naphtha, is pre- heated and mixed with steam before passing through a catalyst in a fired steam reformer to produce hydrogen, carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2).

Figure 1 [19]

Blue hydrogen: Autothermal Reforming hydrogen In the Autothermal Reforming

In order to mitigate the emissions of CO and CO2 from the process, and to make the hydrogen low carbon in nature, the CO2 must be recovered and stored. Figure 2 [21]

(ATR) process [20], a desulfurized hydrocarbon feedstock such as natural gas, refinery off gas, pre- reformed gas, Fischer-Tropsch tail-gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) or naphtha, is pre-heated and potentially pre-reformed before entering the ATR reactor at 30 to 100 barg via a burner. In the ATR reactors, the feed gas reacts with oxygen (partial combustion) and steam to produce a mixture of CO, CO2 and hydrogen (synthesis gas or syngas). The gas stream is cooled in a process gas boiler, generating high-pressure steam which can be exported to other industrial units or used for power generation. The syngas can either be used in further chemical manufacturing steps, or the components can be separated into pure hydrogen, CO and CO2 in a similar way to the SMR methodology above.

"In Autothermic Reforming hydrogen reactors, feed gas reacts with oxygen and steam to produce a carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen."

Blue hydrogen: Partial Oxidation hydrogen Partial Oxidation (POX) is a process for generating syngas and oxogas through the partial oxidation of a hydrocarbon feed

This produces a mixture of hydrogen, CO and CO2. The reformed gas is then cooled down, generating high- pressure steam, and the CO2 is removed in an amine wash unit. The hydrogen / CO syngas product ratio can be modified according to customer’s needs by using a membrane, Pressure Swing Adsorption unit or a CO Cold Box. The same steps may be also used to generate pure CO and / or hydrogen as products.

such as natural gas in a refractory-lined reactor.

The feed gas is initially mixed with steam and pre-heated in a fired heater. Oxygen, feed and steam are then fed via a proprietary burner to a refractory- lined reactor operating at 40 to 100 barg. This process causes the partial oxidation of the feed gas.

Figure 3 [22]

Biohydrogen: Typically, biohydrogen refers to

Technologies such as ABSL’s RadGas process [23] have been designed to overcome this by utilising high temperatures and plasma catalysts to remove tars and vitrify ash to produce a clean syngas. Syngas produced from biomass gasification can have issues with contaminants such as tars and ash from the input waste stream [24].

hydrogen produced from gasification of a biomass feedstock to produce syngas, as with the blue hydrogen production process above. The water gas shift reaction can then produce hydrogen from carbon monoxide and water to increase hydrogen output concentration. The hydrogen output stream can then be further purified to produce either fuel cell or heat grade hydrogen.

Figure 4: Phase 1 and 2 of the Government's bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) Innovation Programme Hydrogen from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) BECCS Innovation Programme will support technologies which can produce hydrogen from biogenic feedstocks and be combined with carbon capture. It forms part of the BEIS £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, which aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative clean energy technologies and processes through the 2020s and 2030s.

Source: Gov.UK

Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage:

Carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) [25] refers to a suite of technologies that can play an important and diverse role in meeting global energy and climate goals. CCUS involves the capture of CO2 from large point sources, including power generation or industrial facilities that use either fossil fuels or biomass for fuel including the SMR or ATR hydrogen production facilities discussed above.

The CO2 can also be captured directly from the atmosphere; this may be called Direct Air Capture (DAC) [26], or Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) [27]. The captured CO2 is compressed and transported by pipeline, ship, rail or truck to be used in a range of applications or injected into deep geological formations (including depleted oil and gas reservoirs or saline formations) which trap the CO2 for permanent storage.

Figure 5: Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage process [28]

Safety and economic principles: Safety:

Economics: The production from low carbon hydrogen at scale is highly capital intensive, requiring significant investment to deliver. It also has significant operating costs, including low carbon electricity supply for “Green” hydrogen or feedstock, and CO2 Transport and Storage (T&S) costs for “Blue” hydrogen. The costs of low carbon hydrogen are therefore also likely to be significant. It must also compete with other options to decarbonise in the transition to net zero. Support in low carbon hydrogen production, including CCUS technology will therefore be extremely important to facilitate the transition.

To enable the safe uptake of hydrogen technologies, it is important to develop the international scientific evidence base on the potential risks to safety and how to control them effectively. The International Association for Hydrogen Safety (known as IA HySAFE) is leading global efforts to ensure this. HSE hosted the 2018 IA HySAFE Biennial Research Priorities Workshop. A panel of international experts presented during nine key topic sessions including Applications, Storage, Accident Physics, Materials, and General Aspects of Safety. Further information can be found in the workshop report [29].

Figure 6: Hynet Hydrogen project in the North West of England From the mid-2020s, HyNet will produce, store and distribute LCH as well as capture and lock up CO2 emissions from industry. of fossil fuel.

Source: Cadant

Supporting sectors: Hydrogen production is

all forms of production while others supply the needs of the Green or Blue fuels.

supported by many different sectors, some of which supply

Figure 7: Supporting sectors systems diagram

General Hydrogen supply - Pressurised hydrogen road distributors - Liquified hydrogen road distributors - Hydrogen pipeline suppliers including potentially Transco - Ship companies for large scale imports and exports - Train companies for rail movements - Hydrogen storage equipment suppliers - Hydrogen dispenser equipment suppliers

Sectors for “Blue” Hydrogen - ATR Reforming Equipment suppliers - SMR Equipment suppliers - POX Equipment suppliers - Hydrocarbon suppliers including Natural Gas - Hydrocarbon distributors including Transco for Natural Gas - CO2 distribution companies (including pipeline, ship, rail and road) - CCUS Equipment suppliers

Sectors for “Green” Hydrogen - Wind turbine suppliers (both onshore and offshore) - Solar electricity suppliers - Nuclear Electricity suppliers - Biomass Electricity suppliers - Electrical distribution companies - Electrolyser suppliers

[1] https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/hydrogen-production-electrolysis [2] https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/energy-explained/hydrogen-colour- spectrum#:~:text=Pink%20hydrogen%20is%20generated%20through,purpl e%20hydrogen%20or%20red%20hydrogen. [3] https://www.engineering-airliquide.com/steam-methane-reforming- syngas-production [4] https://www.engineering-airliquide.com/autothermal-reforming-atr- syngas-generation [5] https://www.engineering-airliquide.com/gas-pox-natural-gas-partial- oxidation [6] https://www.iea.org/fuels-and-technologies/carbon-capture-utilisation- and-storage [7] https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/designing-a-uk-low- carbon-hydrogen-standard [8] https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/design-of-a-business- model-for-low-carbon-hydrogen [9] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/british-energy-security- strategy/british-energy-security-strategy [10] https://www.mckinseyenergyinsights.com/resources/refinery-reference- desk/reformer/ [11] https://www.renewableuk.com/page/WindEnergy [12]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/upl oads/attachment_data/file/1064765/Energy_Trends_March_2022.pdf [13] https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/hydrogen-production-electrolysis [14]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2589299119300035# :~:text=In%20PEM%20water%20electrolysis%2C%20water,and%20electro ns%20(e%E2%88%92). [15] https://www.shell.com/media/news-and-media-releases/2021/shell- starts-up-europes-largest-pem-green-hydrogen-electrolyser.html [16] https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/alkaline-water- electrolysis [17] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032121006080 [18] https://www.engineering-airliquide.com/steam-methane-reforming- hydrogen-production [19] https://www.chemengonline.com/a-modular-smr-unit-provides-onsite- hydrogen-production/ [20]https://www.engineering-airliquide.com/autothermal-reforming-atr- syngas-generation [21] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360319908016121 [22] https://www.boconline.co.uk/en/processes/petrochemical- processing/partial-oxidation/index.html [23] https://www.iea.org/fuels-and-technologies/carbon-capture-utilisation- and-storage [24] https://www.iea.org/reports/direct-air-capture-2022 [25] https://netzeroclimate.org/greenhouse-gas-removal/ [26]https://www.iea.org/reports/ccus-in-clean-energy-transitions/a-new-era- for-ccus [27] “Review of Low Carbon Hydrogen Production”, Element Energy, June 2021 [28] https://absl.tech/ [29] https://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr1159.PDF References:

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