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Introduction to Hydrogen

What is hydrogen?

Hydrogen is a colourless, odourless, non-toxic and non-carcinogenic gas at ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure. It is the lightest and most abundant of all the elements. You can find it throughout the universe; in the sun, the stars, and the space between stars and of course on earth.

However, hydrogen gas is not found by itself on earth. It is mostly found in its molecular form combined with another chemical as a compound. An example is water, where it is combined together with oxygen, and methane, combined here with carbon.


Hydrogen can be found throughout the universe e.g. in the sun

How can hydrogen be produced?

Hydrogen can be produced from a wide variety of primary sources[1]. These include:

  • Coal - hydrogen can be produced from the gasification of coal.
  • Oil - hydrogen can be produced from steam reforming or partial oxidation of fossil oils.
  • Gas - hydrogen can be produced as a by-product from reforming natural gas or biogas with steam.
  • Power - hydrogen can be produced from water electrolysis using any power source including nuclear, wind and solar power.
  • Wood/Biomass - hydrogen can be produced by decomposing biomass under controlled conditions.
  • Algae - hydrogen can be produced via methods that utilise photosynthesis.
  • Alcohols - hydrogen can be produced from gas or biomass-derived alcohols such as ethanol and methanol.


Hydrogen sources & production processes

Storage and Utilisation

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