This section provides an overview for hydrogen gas generators as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 9 hydrogen gas generator manufacturers and their company rankings.
A hydrogen gas generator is a device that generates hydrogen gas.
By using this device, hydrogen gas can be used without using gas cylinders. Hydrogen gas is widely used for experiments such as analytical instruments and as fuel for fuel cell vehicles.
Hydrogen gas is used in a wide range of applications, from research and industrial fields to general use.
Hydrogen gas is widely used as a carrier gas, in gas chromatography (GC) and as a fuel gas. In particular, it is often used as a fuel gas for hydrogen flame ion detectors (FID).
Hydrogen gas is widely used in the production of products. Typical applications include desulfurization of petroleum products, raw materials for ammonia synthesis, and as a hydrogen source for diamond synthesis by microwave plasma CVD and thin-film silicon synthesis. Burners that use a gas mixture of hydrogen and oxygen or air are used in a variety of applications because they form a stable flame at high temperatures and are not contaminated with soot.
Other promising applications include the cleaning of silicon wafers using hydrogen water dissolved in ultrapure water and the practical application of hydrogen-reduced ironmaking technology that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Hydrogen gas is expected to be used in fuel cells for automobiles and household batteries. It is also used in hydrogen fuel engines for power generation facilities and internal combustion engines of automobiles, thereby realizing a carbon-neutral society.
Hydrogen gas inhalers are deployed in industries such as the cosmetics field, medical field, sports field, and relaxation.
Hydrogen gas generators can be divided into several types according to the method used to produce hydrogen gas.
Oxygen and hydrogen can be extracted by electrolysis of water. Since the efficiency of this method is very low when using pure water and is not suitable for producing large amounts of hydrogen, the efficiency is generally increased by using electrolytes such as potassium hydroxide or solid polymer electrolytes, or by using ion-exchange membranes. In some cases, the hydrogen gas generators are accompanied by a purification system that includes a catalyst such as palladium for the purpose of improving the purity of the hydrogen gas.
The production of hydrogen gas by electrolysis is not suitable for mass production because it requires electricity, but instead has the feature of being able to continue to produce a certain amount of hydrogen gas in a stable manner as long as the material, pure water, is available. In addition, the hydrogen gas generators itself is compact, so it is used for research purposes and for indoor use by the general public.
Steam reforming involves spraying high-temperature steam onto hydrocarbons or coal in the presence of a catalyst to react to the water with the hydrocarbons to obtain hydrogen as the gas after the reaction. The carbon in the hydrocarbons combines with the oxygen in the water to form carbon monoxide, thus separating molecular hydrogen from both the hydrocarbons and the water. Since hydrogen generated by steam reforming contains many impurities, it is purified using the pressure fluctuation adsorption (PSA) method or other methods.
Steam reforming is used industrially to produce hydrogen gas because it can efficiently produce hydrogen gas in large volumes, despite the larger size of the equipment itself.
There are various other methods of producing hydrogen gas, but the above two types are the most common.
Compared to the use of gas cylinders, hydrogen gas generators have two advantages: the risk of gas leakage is reduced and gas cylinders do not need to be replaced.
Reduced Risk of Accidents Due to Hydrogen Gas Leakage
Hydrogen gas is a flammable gas, and there is a risk of explosion if it ignites when mixed with oxygen in the air. Hydrogen gas is lighter and more diffusive than air, so the risk of explosion is low outdoors or in a well-ventilated room. However, in a small, poorly ventilated room, there is a risk of explosion if the hydrogen content in the air rises above 4 vol% due to leakage from a gas cylinder. Also, although unlikely, there is a possibility of asphyxiation if indoors.
When using hydrogen gas generators, it is possible to produce only the necessary amount, and since the equipment is installed in such a way that excess gas is exhausted, the above risks are quite low and the equipment can be used relatively safely.
No Need to Replace Gas Cylinders
Once installed, hydrogen gas generators do not need to be replaced, eliminating the need to truck gas cylinders for replacement, thus reducing labor costs and carbon dioxide emissions.
Hydrogen is attracting attention as a clean energy source because the only substance emitted when hydrogen is used is water, which does not emit carbon dioxide or other harmful substances.
However, in the current situation, carbon dioxide and other substances are emitted in the production and transportation of hydrogen gas. In order to use hydrogen as a truly clean energy, the sum of all carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation of raw materials to production and consumption must be reduced to less than zero. Hydrogen produced in this way is called green hydrogen and is attracting attention as a completely clean energy source.
By installing the hydrogen gas at the location where it will be used, it is possible to eliminate the need for transportation of hydrogen gas from post-production to consumption. If carbon dioxide emissions are reduced to zero during the production of hydrogen gas, green hydrogen production has been achieved.
Green hydrogen is produced by using electricity produced from renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, to produce hydrogen through electrolysis. Green hydrogen can also be produced by steam reforming using biomass, but it is not suitable for large-scale production due to the high cost of collecting raw materials.
Although still in the research stage, pyrolysis of water and methane and artificial photosynthesis are also being considered as methods of producing green hydrogen.
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