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Oxy-fuel Combustion-based Blue Hydrogen Production with the Integration of Water Electrolysis


Blue hydrogen is gaining attention as an intermediate step toward achieving eco-friendly green hydrogen production. However, the general blue hydrogen production requires an energy-intensive process for carbon capture and storage, resulting in low process efficiency. Additionally, the hydrogen production processes, steam methane reforming (SMR) and electrolysis, emits waste heat and byproduct oxygen, respectively. To solve these problems, this study proposes an oxy-fuel combustion-based blue hydrogen production process that integrates fossil fuel-based hydrogen production and electrolysis processes. The proposed processes are SMR + SOEC and SMR + PEMEC, whereas SMR, solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC), and proton exchange membrane electrolysis cell (PEMEC) are also examined for comparison. In the proposed processes, the oxygen produced by the electrolyzer is utilized for oxy-fuel combustion in the SMR process, and the resulting flue gas containing CO2 and H2O is condensed to easily separate CO2. Additionally, the waste heat from the SMR process is recovered to heat the feed water for the electrolyzer, thereby maximizing the process efficiency. Techno-economic, sensitivity, and greenhouse gas (GHG) analyses were conducted to evaluate the efficiency and feasibility of the proposed processes. The results show that SMR + SOEC demonstrated the highest thermal efficiency (85.2%) and exergy efficiency (80.5%), exceeding the efficiency of the SMR process (78.4% and 70.4% for thermal and exergy efficiencies, respectively). Furthermore, the SMR + SOEC process showed the lowest levelized cost of hydrogen of 6.21 USD/kgH2. Lastly, the SMR + SOEC demonstrated the lowest life cycle GHG emissions. In conclusion, the proposed SMR + SOEC process is expected to be a suitable technology for the transition from gray to green hydrogen.

Funding source: This work was supported by the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology within the framework of the following projects: “Development of Global Optimization System for Energy Process” [Grant Nos. IR-22-0040, IZ-22-0049, UR-22-0031] and “Development and Application of Industry 4.0 Technology for Process Intensification” [Grant Nos. IR-22-0041, UR-22-0030, IZ-22-0051].
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Korea, Republic of

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