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Thread: Why is hydrogen produced from hydrocarbons instead of water?

  1. #1 Why is hydrogen produced from hydrocarbons instead of water? 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Ive read that industrial production of hydrogen is usually using hydrocarbons(natural gas?) instead of just plain water. Why? Would the use of sea water cost more?

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  3. #2  
    Forum Sophomore
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    Sep 2008
    because the energy used to produce hydrogen by hydrocarbons is much lower than by water.
    water can produce hydrogen using the electrolyzation method, it's a too expensive and too slow way to accept. Sea water with many salt can make the electrolyzation more quickly, but has limit effect on reducing energy cost.
    A possible way to produce hydrogen with water is to using pure Pt as catalyst. Also the question is Pt is very expensive, and current techn can't make it work at high efficiency. Once the efficiency problem can be resolved, it will be a more clean method.
    Besides, I can partly remember an article about producing hydrogen by biologic methods. That's quite advanced, and seems only one concept in the lab.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Yep, water is one of the more expensive ways of making hydrogen.

    If I recall correctly, it takes 44 kilo-watt-hours of electricity to produce the energy equivalent of 1 gallon of gasoline. At 10 cents a KWH, that's $4.40 just for the electricity. Commercial off-hour rates would be cheaper, but you still have to pay for the equipment, transportation, employees, taxes, etc. etc. etc.

    It becomes rather costly.
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