Natural gas could become a key element in the journey towards a hydrogen economy.
A particularly good example of the technological advances being made in hydrogen production came from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. Researchers at the institute are developing a new method to separate hydrogen from natural gas using a liquid metal bubble column, a method that creates a solid carbon by-product rather than carbon dioxide emissions into the air.
Currently, some 80 scientists from various disciplines are working on technologies for the production, storage and use of hydrogen. Research focuses on storage materials and process, system and safety technologies. Researchers are pursuing a systems approach, covering the entire energy conversion chain from primary energy to production processes and direct use in the mobility sector.
This innovation, which is still in the early stages of testing and needs to be demonstrated as a scalable and commercial technology, could have huge implications across the energy sector, as it would potentially allow natural gas wellheads to be upgraded to convert extracted natural gas into pure hydrogen without the release of any harmful emissions.
This flexibility, coupled with the fact that rail electrification is rapidly becoming unsustainably expensive (US electrification costs have increased from about $2 million per mile in 2003 to more than $10 million per mile today), makes it clear that hydrogen propulsion will be increasingly prevalent in the rail sector.
Gesa Industry pays particular attention to the technological evolution in the rail sector, accepting and studying every novelty in order to provide its customers with an up-to-date and cutting-edge offer in the field of train interiors.