What is a Hydrogen Generator?

The Australian government is investing in more opportunities to use hydrogen as a raw material in industrial processes. Hydrogen energy has the potential to be a reliable energy source for industries looking to transition into environmentally friendly power sources. But let’s start with the basics. What is hydrogen, how is it produced and what exactly is a hydrogen generator?

What is Hydrogen?

Hydrogen is everywhere. It’s in plants, animals, the human body and almost anywhere you can think of. It’s the most bountiful element in the universe BUT it’s always paired with another element and rarely exists in its pure form.

Luckily, we know how to produce it. We can do this using fossil fuels, chemical extraction processes and even renewable sources. Once we produce it, hydrogen can form as a gas, liquid or other material, allowing us to use it for fuel, heating, transport or energy use. Hydrogen isn’t technically an energy source, more like an energy carrier. Basically, it will carry energy from another source (like a battery) to power up what it needs to.

Hydrogen is an example of clean dispatchable power, meaning we can use it when other variable renewable energy sources (like wind and solar) are not available. So, within the construction and mining industries, it forms a crucial part in future energy sources. Better yet, hydrogen is also energy dense by mass (3x higher than diesel), making it an incredibly robust energy source to maintain a stable and reliable connection.

What is a Hydrogen Generator?

Simply put, a hydrogen generator uses pure hydrogen to produce immediate energy for power generation. There’s no emission output, no pollution and zero wastage. In the case of EODev’s GEH2, the generator uses hydrogen with a fuel cell and a lithium-ion iron phosphate battery to produce power.

Hydrogen and Oxygen interact with one another across the fuel cell to convert chemical energy into electricity. The process means completely clean, instant and consistent power for almost any application.

Better yet, we can use the GEH2 as a stand-alone unit or hook it up to the grid or a conventional diesel generator. With zero emission output from the fuel cell, the GEH2 hydrogen generator is a favourable choice for construction, agricultural, mining and industrial applications in remote locations looking to reduce overall emissions.

Learn more about how a hydrogen generator works here.

How Can We Produce Hydrogen?

There are two main ways: the reforming process via electrolysis.

Reforming mostly uses fossil fuels to produce hydrogen from a by-product (such as natural gas) and accounts for about 95% of overall hydrogen production. In this case, the methane from the natural gas will react with high temperature steam under pressure in order to produce hydrogen.

On the other hand, electrolysis is a chemical extraction process only either renewable sources (such as wind or solar) or via a grid connection to split water into its respective hydrogen and oxygen components. It’s the cleanest way to produce hydrogen but only accounts for about 5% of overall hydrogen production.

What Colour Is Hydrogen?

Pure hydrogen has no colour, but we categorise hydrogen into different colours to represent the different methods we use to produce it.

Green Hydrogen

Green hydrogen is the cleanest way to produce hydrogen and gear up for net-zero. It’s made from 100% renewable sources such as wind and solar through the process of electrolysis.

Blue Hydrogen

Blue hydrogen is a result of the reforming process using steam and natural gas to split hydrogen from carbon dioxide. This method also involves carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce CO2 emission output. CO2 is safely transported and stored deep underground rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. Blue hydrogen is sometimes known for being “low-carbon hydrogen”.

Grey Hydrogen

Grey hydrogen is the most common way to produce hydrogen using steam-methane reforming but without capturing any greenhouse gas emissions. It’s one of the least environmentally friendly ways to produce hydrogen.

Pink Hydrogen

Pink hydrogen uses nuclear power to produce hydrogen through the electrolysis process.

Black & Brown Hydrogen

Both black and brown hydrogen use black and brown coal to produce hydrogen through the reforming process.

Overall, the production of green hydrogen is the preference because there is zero emission output during its production via electrolysis, but it is still quite rare in the Australian market (for now). Until green hydrogen is more readily available, grey or blue hydrogen processes are used.

Get the Right Advice & Step Towards a Cleaner Future

With decades of expert industry experience, the team at Blue Diamond Machinery is supporting the transition into a more sustainable future for the construction and mining industries. Get the right advice and step towards a cleaner, more reliable future of power generation for your worksite without compromising on reliability. Get in touch with the Blue Diamond team today.