Hydrogen is already widely used in chemical and petroleum industries. The amount of hydrogen produced mainly from natural gas represents more than 1% of global primary energy use. Its production causes 2% of greenhouse gas (GHS) emissions.
In the recent years, a new and small hydrogen market for heavy industries is growing smoothly with stable financial incentives for ‘clean’ hydrogen production.
The largest market for hydrogen consumption iscurrently in refineries, petrochemical industries and ammonia manufacturing (60 million tons per year). However, hydrogen is still mainly produced in ways that release carbon dioxide: the main routes are the reforming reaction of water gas and coal gasification, both being based on fossil fuels. Hydrogen produced without CO2 would significantly reduce emissions in these sectors and in the growing field of synthetic fuels and biofuels.
For biomass, the addition of hydrogen yields substantially higher returns for second generation biofuels (with the whole plant).