Hydrogen Production

Research staff of HTC Hydrogen Thermochem Corp in the Greenhouse Gas Technology Centre at the University of Regina: left to right, Prashant Kumar, Yanping Sun and Ahmed Aboudheir.
Raphael Idem

The University of Regina has become the first university in the world to develop “appliance size,” environmentally sustainable processes for producing ultra-pure hydrogen for fuel cell applications from hydrocarbons and oxygenated hydrocarbons.

Based in the $13-million Greenhouse Gas Technology Centre, researchers developed a stable catalytic process for hydrogen production by dry-reforming gas and liquid fossil fuels. The university was also the first to economically produce hydrogen from crude ethanol. Work on the small-sized fuel cell began in 2003 as a collaborative effort between the University of Regina and Hydrogen Thermochem Corp., a local company; the objective was to build reformers the size of a filing cabinet to produce hydrogen for fuel cell use. Fuel cells are devices that produce electric power and heat; because the feed to the fuel cell is hydrogen, the by-product of power production is water instead of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. The reformer needed to be able to supply sufficient hydrogen to a household for its electricity and heating needs, as well as a hydrogen refueling station for electric cars: this is how the description “appliance size” originated. Commercialization of the hydrogen fuel cell is expected to be a natural progression of the project once intellectual property protection is obtained and fine tuning has been completed.

Joe Ralko