Both the University of North Dakota and Ohio State University are getting busy with two different hydrogen production programs aimed at fueling hydrogen autos. From corn to coal, these two educational centers are finding ways to advance our country towards a hydrogen-powered economy.
The University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center () is working on a project to produce hydrogen at existing or future ethanol production plants. The hydrogen produced at these ethanol plants would then be used to either provide additional power back to the plants via fuel cells or provide fuel for hydrogen autos. By generating both ethanol and hydrogen at the same facility, EERC is providing both near-term and long-term clean-energy solutions for the transportation industry.
On the other hand, the Department of Engineering at Ohio State University has been awarded $1.6 million from the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) to advance its coal-to-hydrogen technology. The DOE chose Ohio State’s program because of its unique chemical looping process that reduces the steps in producing hydrogen from coal without using any catalysts and sequestering the CO2, chlorides and sulfur. The process will also significantly reduce the costs in coal-to-hydrogen production.
Whether we fuel the future with dead plants (coal) or new plants (corn) matters not as most likely a combination of old and new will be needed to sustain the hydrogen future ahead of all of us. It’s good to see a couple of top notch universities headed down this path of a future powered by plants.