Hydrogen Production with Zero Emissions Footprint: Challenges and Solutions Towards Commercialization

Nesrin Özalp

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Fossil fuel economy has been under continuous criticism due to impending shortage, and environmental consequences because of heavy consumption of fossil fuels for steam, power, and commodity generation. It is unavoidable that the current fossil fuel economy will be replaced by a new economy. However, prospective alternative energy sources should conveniently replace fossil fuels and the transition from the old economy to a new one should take place smoothly. This can only happen if commonality is found between the goals of current major energy industries and the future new economy demands. Considering the significant consumption of hydrogen by the oil industry to convert crude oil into practical fuels, the most reasonable approach is to start with hydrogen as a commodity first prior to consider it as an alternative fuel. Because of the substantial emissions from the way hydrogen is produced, the best approach would be to adopt a new process which produces hydrogen with zero emissions. The use of concentrated solar energy can provide us the means to produce hydrogen with zero emissions. This would be the most appropriate first step in a transition where an alternative energy is used to produce another alternative energy source where in turn it serves in the refinement of the target fossil fuel. Once the new way of hydrogen production is fully adopted, it could be produced for consumption as a fuel as well. The main challenge, however, is to produce emission free hydrogen at a competitive cost so that it is attractive to industry. This paper presents a very promising technology for hydrogen production, which is called "solar cracking", where natural gas is decomposed into its components solar thermally with zero emissions. With this process, not only hydrogen but also another very valuable commodity is produced, namely carbon black. Emission free production of carbon black via this technique adds significant economic value and competitiveness into the process along with securing zero cost to CO2 sequestration, transportation, and storage. The paper defines the technical details on the challenges of this process to become commercial, and presents promising solutions to the problems of hydrogen producing solar cracking reactors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBlack Sea Energy Resource Development and Hydrogen Energy Problems
EditorsAyfer Veziroglu, Marat Tsitskishvili
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2013

Publication series

NameNATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security
ISSN (Print)1874-6519

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research has been funded by Qatar Foundation National Priorities Research Program, Qatar Foundation Research Excellence Program, and corporate agreement between Qatar Science & Technology Park and Fraunhofer Institute (IWS).


  • Carbon black
  • Hydrogen
  • Iris mechanism
  • Natural gas
  • Reactor clogging
  • Solar thermal


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