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Future Hydrogen Utilization in Industry where are We Going and How Do We Get There? Disclosure Number: IPCOM000219984D
Publication Date: 2012-Jul-18
Document File: 7 page(s) / 332K

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J. R. Le Blanc

The M. W. Ke%logg Company
Houston, Texas


The uses of hydrogen in industry includes petroleum refining, manufacture of a~onia and methanol, hydrogenating vegetable oils, synthesizing chemicals, manufacture of semiconductors, and for general metallurgical and other pp[poses.

By far the largest current user of'hydrogen in industry is in the manufacture of ammonia. Future use in industry will also be dominated by ammonia production.

The future sources of hydrogen for these industrial uses will become less dependent on fossil fuels as these fuels are depleted. There are a number of candidate sources for future hydrogen. Which one will be used and when will it be used is a question many are considering. The basic answers lie in satisfying elements nec- essary for bringing emerging technology to fruition.

This paper will consider possible new sources of hydrogen, and what general require- ments should be satisfied for co,~ercial acceptance.


Hydrogen, Uses, Ammonia, RefiL~cry, Future Needs, Future Sources


Hydrogen is the most abundant material on earth - in the universe no less. It
has many important industrial uses including: the manufacture of ammonia and methanol; the hydrogenation of vegetable oils; synthesizing chemicals; the manu- facture of semiconductors; and for general metallurgieal and other purposes. Yet with all it s availability and important industrial use, it does not exist in ele- mental form, and hence must be nmnufactured from a raw material source. At pre- sent, by far the most common source of hydrogen is fossil fuels - mostly natural gas.

What will the future industrial uses of hydrogen be and where will it come from, is what this paper shall address.

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Because the subject of Synfuel Production will be covered in another section of this conference, the use of hydrogen in the Synfuel Industry will not be ad- dressed here.


By far the largest industrial use of hydrogen is in the manufacture of anm~onia. For the United States in 1980 the consumption of hydrogen has been estimated as follows - in millions of cubic meters:

An~onia Production 36,289

Refinery Operations 16,639

Small Users


Ammonia is the basic source of nitrogen used in the fertilizer industry. It is Used as a fertilizer in a nun~er of ways. A~nonia is used by direct application to the soil. Ammonia and nitric acid are the two basic ingredients in the manu- facture of ammonium nitrate. In addition to consuming an~onia directly, the manufacture of ammonium nitrate consumes ammonia via nitric acid production. Urea, the solid fertilizer with the highest nitrogen content, is manufactured
by reaction of ammonia and carbon dioxide. Ammonia is used in the production of ammonium phosphates and a~onlum sulfates. The industrial uses of ammonia are numerous also. These include an~nonium nitrate, nitroglycerin, t...