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Hydrogen: The real ACTION is Today

By Gerald Ondrey |

    While politicians and research institutes debate about a future hydrogen economy, plant contractors and industrial gas suppliers are working overtime to build bigger, more efficient hydrogen plants to meet the immediate demands. The fact is, there doesn’t seem to be enough H2 around to meet the growing demand for clean fuels and basic chemicals. This is the first time in the market where we are actually thinking about turning away inquiries, says Klaus Ruthardt, head of hydroden and synthesis gas at Uhde GmbH (Dortmund, Germany), since we must give first priority to our key customers. “In the contracting business for H2 plants, the market has changed from a buyer’s into a seller’s market.”   Making hydrogen Steam methane reforming (SMR) continues to be the workhorse for making H2. In SMR, methane (from natural gas) reacts with steam, at high temperature and pressure, in catalyst-filled tubes to produce synthesis gas (syngas), a mixture of mainly H2 and CO, with some CO2. If the application requires pure H2, such as for hydrotreating units in petroleum refineries, or for making chemicals such as methanol and ammonia, then a water-gas-shift reactor is used downstream of the SMR (to convert…
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