Hydrogen from Fossil Fuels
This chapter is concerned with the historical uses and methods of producing hydrogen from fossil fuels. It discusses partial oxidation of residual fractions and older methods which utilize coal or coke since they appear to have potential as gaseous and liquid hydrocarbons become scarce and more expensive. Hydrogen is one of the most important yet least visible of all large-volume chemicals. The choice of processing conditions is determined by the hydrogen content of the fuel and the method of supplying the heat necessary to sustain the reactions. The development of liquefaction and gasification industries will bring about the demand for enormous quantities of hydrogen. A commercially available alternative for producing a synthesis gas from coal is to use an atmospheric gasifier followed by a compression step. The chapter discusses the operation and economics of four commercial processes for manufacturing hydrogen: catalytic decomposition of methane, catalytic steam reforming, catalytic partial oxidation, and noncatalytic partial oxidation.