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CHAPTER 1

Hydrogen: Economics and its Role in Biorefining

Hydrogen is a critical feedstock with implications in the biorefinery schemes of the future. Current pathways for the production of hydrogen rely almost exclusively on fossil feedstocks, as they facilitate affordable access routes. Nonetheless, renewable energy systems (e.g. wind or solar power) will offer new avenues for the production of hydrogen. Among the possibilities, the most straightforward route is electrolysis, for which different configurations are already commercially available. However, due to high costs, the production of hydrogen from intermittent electricity may become rather expensive, unless the downtime is reduced. Gasification and reforming pathways starting from biomass can also provide hydrogen. These pathways are competitive candidates in addition to the routes based on fossil feedstocks. Overall, the future scenarios for the production of hydrogen will depend strongly on the development of prices for fossil feedstocks as well as their regional availability, CO2 emission certificates, and the cost of renewable electricity and biomass.

Print publication date: 21 Nov 2014
Copyright year: 2015
Print ISBN: 978-1-84973-801-9
PDF eISBN: 978-1-78262-009-9
ePub eISBN: 978-1-78262-354-0
From the book series:
Energy and Environment Series