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A Methodology for Assessing the Sustainability of Hydrogen Production from Solid Fuels

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  • Nirmal V. Gnanapragasam

    ()
    (Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Ontario, L1H 7K4, Canada)

  • Bale V. Reddy

    ()
    (Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Ontario, L1H 7K4, Canada)

  • Marc A. Rosen

    ()
    (Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Ontario, L1H 7K4, Canada)

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    Abstract

    A methodology for assessing the sustainability of hydrogen production using solid fuels is introduced, in which three sustainability dimensions (ecological, sociological and technological) are considered along with ten indicators for each dimension. Values for each indicator are assigned on a 10-point scale based on a high of 1 and a low of 0, depending on the characteristic of the criteria associated with each element or process, utilizing data reported in the literature. An illustrative example is presented to compare two solid fuels for hydrogen production: coal and biomass. The results suggest that qualitative sustainability indicators can be reasonably defined based on evaluations of system feasibility, and that adequate flexibility and comprehensiveness is provided through the use of ten indicators for each of the dimensions for every process or element involved in hydrogen production using solid fuels. Also, the assessment index values suggest that biomasses have better sustainability than coals, and that it may be advantageous to use coals in combination with biomass to increase their ecological and social sustainability. The sustainability assessment methodology can be made increasingly quantitative, and is likely extendable to other energy systems, but additional research and development is needed to lead to a more fully developed approach.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 6 (May)
    Pages: 1472-1491

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:2:y:2010:i:6:p:1472-1491:d:8489

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    Related research

    Keywords: sustainability; solid fuels; coal; biomass; hydrogen energy; hydrogen production;

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