Study Results: Hydrogen Production Using Solar Heat & Wood Chips

Shutaro Takeda / Universitas Kyoto

Design of a proposed facility for hydrogen production.—Various efforts are currently being made to overcome global warming and the impacts. One way that is considered effective is replacing fossil fuels with fossil fuels hydrogen. Unlike fossil fuels which release carbon into the atmosphere, hydrogen only produces water as a by-product.

Hydrogen is a gaseous substance that is colorless, odorless, tasteless, flammable and is the simplest substance of the chemical elements, according to Britannica. However, to produce hydrogen that can be used as fuel, a production process that requires a lot of energy and emits carbon is needed.

Each step forward in the hydrogen production process is accompanied by at least two steps back due to the resulting carbon emissions. In some processes, each kilogram of hydrogen equals 30 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions. Reported from SciTechDaily To reduce carbon emissions in the production process, a joint international team led by Kyoto University in Japan has developed a new hydrogen plant design.

The plant is designed to utilize fully renewable resources in order to minimize carbon emissions. Their research in this regard has been published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy under the title Low-carbon energy transition with the sun and forest: Solar-driven hydrogen production from biomass on December 22, 2021.

“Solar power is an obvious candidate to drive hydrogen production, but the problem is often that sunlight isn’t always there,” said Shutaro Takeda, who was involved in the design.

According to the researchers, the hydrogen production method using solar heat to make biomass gasification is considered effective and practical in the hydrogen production process with low carbon emissions. They are currently combining two different systems to create a new type of solar-powered hydrogen plant called the SABI-Hydrogen Plant.

Also Read: New Science, Emission Limits Fail If Hydrogen Is Not Used Efficiently

First the new hydrogen production plant uses a special mirror array, called a heliostat. The heliostat functions to capture sunlight effectively and focus the beam onto the receiving panel at the top of the tower structure. Under maximum conditions or favorable weather conditions, the heat transfer material in the receiving panel can reach temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees Celsius.

It should be noted that although hydrogen is abundant, hydrogen is almost non-existent in the atmosphere. Therefore to produce it, hydrogen must be extracted from hydrogen-containing molecules such as water and organic components, according to Air Liquide.

The heat is then transferred from the receiving panel to the gasifier section, where a large container containing wood chips as biomass or organic components is heated intensely in the absence of oxygen. Instead of burning in this process, the wood chips are converted into a gaseous mixture that contains mostly hydrogen.


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