Comparative Analysis of Energy and Exergy Performance of Hydrogen Production Methods, A. Martínez-Rodríguez, A. Abánades, Entropy, 22, 1286, 2020, Online version,


The study of the viability of hydrogen production as a sustainable energy source is a current challenge, to satisfy the great world energy demand. There are several techniques to produce hydrogen, either mature or under development. The election of the hydrogen production method will have a high impact on practical sustainability of the hydrogen economy. An important profile for the viability of a process is the calculation of energy and exergy efficiencies, as well as their overall integration into the circular economy. To carry out theoretical energy and exergy analyses we have estimated proposed hydrogen production using different software (DWSIM and MATLAB) and reference conditions. The analysis consolidates methane reforming or auto-thermal reforming as the viable technologies at the present state of the art, with reasonable energy and exergy efficiencies, but pending on the impact of environmental constraints as CO2 emission countermeasures. However, natural gas or electrolysis show very promising results, and should be advanced in their technological and maturity scaling. Electrolysis shows a very good exergy efficiency due to the fact that electricity itself is a high exergy source. Pyrolysis exergy loses are mostly in the form of solid carbon material, which has a very high integration potential into the hydrogen economy.