Comparative assessment of hydrogen production methods from renewable and non-renewable sources

C. Acar*, Ibrahim Dincer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

599 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we present a comparative environmental impact assessment of possible hydrogen production methods from renewable and non-renewable sources with a special emphasis on their application in Turkey. It is aimed to study and compare the performances of hydrogen production methods and assess their economic, social and environmental impacts, The methods considered in this study are natural gas steam reforming, coal gasification, water electrolysis via wind and solar energies, biomass gasification, thermochemical water splitting with a Cu–Cl and S–I cycles, and high temperature electrolysis. Environmental impacts (global warming potential, GWP and acidification potential, AP), production costs, energy and exergy efficiencies of these eight methods are compared. Furthermore, the relationship between plant capacity and hydrogen production capital cost is studied. The social cost of carbon concept is used to present the relations between environmental impacts and economic factors. The results indicate that thermochemical water splitting with the Cu–Cl and S–I cycles become more environmentally benign than the other traditional methods in terms of emissions. The options with wind, solar and high temperature electrolysis also provide environmentally attractive results. Electrolysis methods are found to be least attractive when production costs are considered. Therefore, increasing the efficiencies and hence decreasing the costs of hydrogen production from solar and wind electrolysis bring them forefront as potential options. The energy and exergy efficiency comparison study indicates the advantages of biomass gasification over other methods. Overall rankings show that thermochemical Cu–Cl and S–I cycles are primarily promising candidates to produce hydrogen in an environmentally benign and cost-effective way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational journal of hydrogen energy
Issue number1
Early online date6 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydrogen production
  • Global warming potential
  • Emissions
  • Energy
  • Exergy
  • Efficiency


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