Hydrogen is an earth abundant resource; however, the lightweight energy carrier atoms do not exist in its single form in the atmosphere. Hydrogen can be extracted from renewable sources such as water and natural biomass as well as non renewable sources such as fossil fuels through the thermochemical route, biological route and the electrolyte route. The hydrogen separation process compromises of absorption, redox reaction and gas membrane separation processes. The thermochemical route was initially introduced as the hydrogen generation process from fossil fuel, coal and natural gas with the absorption and redox reaction as the hydrogen separation process. However, these processes generate high carbon emission and involve high energy consumption, hence there has been gradual interest in developing hydrogen from renewable resources from biomass and water which results in low or zero carbon emission through the electrolyte and biological route. However, most of the commercialized electrolyte route technologies require high energy consumption and high cost catalyst, while the technologies of the biological route is at nascent stage. Apart from that there has been interest in emerging technology from renewable energy such as solar and wind energy in generating a sustainable approach on hydrogen generation and separation processes in the next 10 years.

Across regions, there has been continuous research work on technology development of coatings, catalysts, absorbents, and membranes within the hydrogen generation and separation processes in developing a cost-efficient process. There has been high interest in collaborations among research institutes across the regions such as the collaboration between University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Canada with Imperial College London, UK in developing sustainable solutions for thermochemical processes in hydrogen generation.

There has growing interest within the European region on commercializing thermochemical route process for instance pyrolysis and the catalytic reforming in generating hydrogen from biomass into hydrogen energy as the effort on associating the agriculture and energy industry within the region.
This research service titled “Technology Breakthroughs Enabling Hydrogen Generation and Separation” provides a review of both current and emerging technologies in hydrogen generation and separation processes The research service highlights the key factors that influence R&D and adoption efforts across various geographic regions.