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A Review of Techno-economics of Bio-hydrogen Production Technologies

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  071649.(doi:10.13031/2013.23646)
Authors:   Susanjib Sarkar, Amit Kumar
Keywords:   Biomass, forest biomass, hydrogen, gasification, pyrolysis, production cost, optimal plant size

Interest in biomass based energy and fuels are increasing as these are considered carbon neutral. Currently, most of the hydrogen is produced from natural gas. Recent increase in natural gas cost has given opportunity for producing hydrogen from other sources. Hydrogen can be produced from biomass using thermo-chemical processes as well as by action of micro-organisms. Cost of production of hydrogen from whole tree forest biomass in Western Canada from a 2000 dry tonnes per day plant is $1.14/kg of H2. Capital and operating costs contribute 33% and 29% to the total cost of production, respectively. Current cost of production of hydrogen is not competitive with the natural gas based hydrogen. Carbon credits or other subsidies can make biohydrogen competitive. Economic optimum size of a hydrogen plant using whole tree biomass is higher than 5000 dry tonnes per day but a smaller plant could be built to reduce the risk.

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