Hydrogen production from fossil fuels: life cycle assessment of technologies with low greenhouse gas emissions

Javier Dufour, David P. Serrano, Jose L. Galvez, Jovita Moreno, Antonio Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Because of the existence of infrastructures all around the world, the use of fossil resources as raw materials for hydrogen production can be a midterm solution in the implementation of hydrogen as a transport fuel. Therefore, the fuel processing technology used for the production of hydrogen should produce the lowest amount of greenhouse gases, with the highest energy efficiency and the lowest environmental impact. In this work, several options for hydrogen production from fossil fuels are evaluated: steam reforming, autothermal reforming of hydrocarbons, coal gasification, and methane decomposition. A system for the capture of CO2 is supposed to be integrated in the reforming and gasification processes. This study evaluates the overall life cycle greenhouse gas emissions, the fossil energy consumption, and the environmental impact for the current and future energy scenarios. The autothermal reforming, decomposition of natural gas, and coal gasification are the best options from all of the points of view, while extrapolations to future scenarios predict very similar impacts. The economic analysis of methane decomposition processes reveals that the carbon selling price and the conversion of methane are the main factors influencing the cost-efficiency of produced hydrogen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2194-2202
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy & Fuels
Issue number5
Early online date7 Apr 2011
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2011


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