IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

A comparative overview of hydrogen production processes


  • Nikolaidis, Pavlos
  • Poullikkas, Andreas


Climate change and fossil fuel depletion are the main reasons leading to hydrogen technology. There are many processes for hydrogen production from both conventional and alternative energy resources such as natural gas, coal, nuclear, biomass, solar and wind. In this work, a comparative overview of the major hydrogen production methods is carried out. The process descriptions along with the technical and economic aspects of 14 different production methods are discussed. An overall comparison is carried out, and the results regarding both the conventional and renewable methods are presented. The thermochemical pyrolysis and gasification are economically viable approaches providing the highest potential to become competitive on a large scale in the near future while conventional methods retain their dominant role in H2 production with costs in the range of 1.34–2.27$/kg. Biological methods appear to be a promising pathway but further research studies are needed to improve their production rates, while the low conversion efficiencies in combination with the high investment costs are the key restrictions for water-splitting technologies to compete with conventional methods. However, further development of these technologies along with significant innovations concerning H2 storage, transportation and utilization, implies the decrease of the national dependence on fossil fuel imports and green hydrogen will dominate over the traditional energy resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Nikolaidis, Pavlos & Poullikkas, Andreas, 2017. "A comparative overview of hydrogen production processes," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 597-611.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:67:y:2017:i:c:p:597-611
    DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2016.09.044

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hadjipaschalis, Ioannis & Poullikkas, Andreas & Efthimiou, Venizelos, 2009. "Overview of current and future energy storage technologies for electric power applications," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(6-7), pages 1513-1522, August.
    2. Hall, Peter J. & Bain, Euan J., 2008. "Energy-storage technologies and electricity generation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 4352-4355, December.
    3. Connolly, D. & Lund, H. & Mathiesen, B.V. & Leahy, M., 2011. "The first step towards a 100% renewable energy-system for Ireland," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 502-507, February.
    4. Lund, Henrik, 2007. "Renewable energy strategies for sustainable development," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 912-919.
    5. Kothari, Richa & Buddhi, D. & Sawhney, R.L., 2008. "Comparison of environmental and economic aspects of various hydrogen production methods," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 553-563, February.
    6. Parthasarathy, Prakash & Narayanan, K. Sheeba, 2014. "Hydrogen production from steam gasification of biomass: Influence of process parameters on hydrogen yield – A review," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 570-579.
    7. Mathiesen, Brian Vad & Lund, Henrik & Karlsson, Kenneth, 2011. "100% Renewable energy systems, climate mitigation and economic growth," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 488-501, February.
    8. Momirlan, M. & Veziroglu, T. N., 2002. "Current status of hydrogen energy," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 141-179.
    9. Blok, Kornelis, 2005. "Enhanced policies for the improvement of electricity efficiencies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(13), pages 1635-1641, September.
    10. Ćosić, Boris & Krajačić, Goran & Duić, Neven, 2012. "A 100% renewable energy system in the year 2050: The case of Macedonia," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 80-87.
    11. Zhou, Li, 2005. "Progress and problems in hydrogen storage methods," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 395-408, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:67:y:2017:i:c:p:597-611. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Haili He). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.