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Liquid Hydrogen Production In The World

A major program of hydrogen liquefaction was started in the USA within their Apollo space project leading to the design and construction of large-scale liquefaction plants. The today’s purpose of liquefaction has become to a great deal the cost reduction of H2 distribution. The liquefaction of hydrogen is a highly energy intensive process. The minimum work required for the liquefaction of hydrogen (at ortho-para equilibrium) is 3.92 kWh of electricity /kg of H2 or 0.12 kWh /kWh of H2. Typical values for the whole process, however, are in the range of 12.5-15 kWh/kg, meaning that the liquefaction consumes about 30% of the total energy content of the hydrogen. The energy requirement is strongly related to the liquefaction plant size. The above figures refer to capacities of 2-3 t/d and larger. The energy requirement goes up to ~30 kWh/kg for an LH2 production of 0.2 t/d and even to 56 kWh/kg for a plant size of as small as 20 kg/d.

The world’s hydrogen liquefaction capacity amounts to an estimated total of approximately 300 t/d. Most plants (10) are located in the United States with capacities of 5.4 t/d upwards and a total of 252 t/d (as of 1997). In Europe, three plants in France, the Netherlands, and Germany are operated with a total capacity of 19 t/d. Largest plant size is currently 68 t/d (New Orleans, USA), but sizes of 750 t/d are expected to be feasible. The present limitation at approx. 60 t/d is given by the compression step and could represent a convenient modular size.

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Page last modified on December 19, 2008, at 10:12 AM