Turkmen scientist Ilyasov speaks about industrial potential of hydrogen

The unlimited potential of Turkmenistan makes it possible to successfully develop the industrial production of hydrogen as the fuel of the future.

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, during a visit to a gas-to-gasoline plant in the Akhal province noted the relevance of applying an industrial approach to hydrogen as a strategic substance. In modern history, the head of the state initiated a number of large-scale innovative projects in the chemical industry that are important for the economy of Turkmenistan. At the UN High-Level Global Roundtable on Extractive Industries, the Turkmen leader proposed to create a «Road Map» for the popularization of hydrogen.

Allaberdy Ilyasov, a scientific expert of CentralAsia.news, a well-known Turkmen scientist, Doctor of Technical Sciences commented on the economic effect from the manufacture of products of hydrogen, and on the prospects for the development of hydrogen energy.

Prospects of the chemical industry

The chemical industry of Turkmenistan is one of the fastest growing sectors of the national economy with a huge resource potential. Therefore, its modern production infrastructure is one of the key priorities of the economic policy of Turkmenistan. Particular attention is paid to expanding the production of various types of products using natural gas as raw materials. Accordingly, the creation of production facilities using hydrocarbons is very profitable.

One of these promising areas is the production of products of hydrogen and the prospects for hydrogen energy in general. Hydrogen remains almost unclaimed, despite the fact that it is the most abundant element on Earth. However, gradually projects using hydrogen in the areas of large and distributed energy, energy storage, as well as in all types of transport, from cars to aircraft and ships, are becoming casual.

Hydrogen as a source of income

The unlimited potential of Turkmenistan makes it possible to develop industrial production of the fuel of the future. Until now, most of the hydrogen produced is used in the chemical (hydrocracking of crude oil) and food (hydrogenation of vegetable oils) industries, as well as in a number of other industries. This is based on the ability of hydrogen to enter into catalytic hydrogenation reactions at elevated temperatures. 

The reducing properties of hydrogen are used in chemical technology, powder metallurgy, mechanical engineering, and microelectronics. Hydrogen is of particular interest as a promising fuel, as it is the lightest fuel with the highest energy per unit mass. 

Turkmenistan has a huge potential in the production of hydrogen, which can really become one of the sources of saturation of the national economy. Hydrogen is one of the industrial gases that has been used in oil refining for decades. But the main source of energy for hydrogen production is natural gas, and Turkmenistan is rich in it.

In nature, hydrogen does not occur in a free state and, therefore, is not a direct source of energy, but, like electricity, is an energy carrier. But unlike electricity, which carries electrons, hydrogen is a source of chemical energy and is potentially more efficient as a means of energy storage, especially when used in renewable energy systems such as solar and wind power.

Progressive energy carrier of the future

Hydrogen also appears to be the most promising among alternative fuels, having great potential for use. It contributes significantly to the three most important challenges in energy use: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy security and reducing air pollution. The development of efficient, cost-effective, competitive and safe technologies for hydrogen production is the foundation of the future of hydrogen energy.

More than 68 percent of the hydrogen produced of natural gas is now 16 percent of the oil, 11 percent — of coal, and 5 percent  — of water by electrolysis. This is due to the comparatively low cost of production of hydrocarbons — according to various estimates, the cost of hydrogen of natural gas is still 5 times lower than that of electrolysis. Due to unlimited resources, high-energy saturation, technological flexibility and ecological purity of energy conversion processes with the participation of hydrogen, it should be considered as the most promising energy carrier of the future.

Environment for power systems

The main areas of hydrogen use today are in the oil refining and chemical industries, that is, for the production of various products, primarily ammonia and methanol. The use of hydrogen opens up a unique path to integrated «open energy systems» that meet all the basic requirements of energy and environmental protection.

In addition, in the near future, it may become an environment for storing energy, in particular, electricity. One of its advantages is based on the fact that almost any energy source can be converted into hydrogen, making it possible to use it locally in different regions of the Earth. 

Therefore, today hydrogen is one of the most efficient ways to create long-term energy storage. Until 2030, hydrogen at a price of 2 dollars per kg will begin to compete with coal and natural gas as an energy carrier in steel production, and by 2050 at a price of 1 dollar per kg it will become more profitable than gas on world markets and will be able to compete with the cheapest coal.

Environmental aspect of production

The main disadvantage of energy based on fossil fuels is the emission of a huge amount of carbon dioxide, about 30 billion tons per year. It is a major greenhouse gas with a negative impact on the environment. This gas is recognized by the world community as one of the main factors in terms of the scale of its impact on the planet’s climate. It surpasses all other anthropogenic factors and is comparable to powerful natural forces. 

The global energy sector is undergoing a process of global transformation — «energy transition» associated with decarbonization — a decrease in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The relevance of decarbonizing energy systems has increased since the entry into force of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016.

The intensive development of the processing hydrocarbon raw materials — oil, natural and associated gases, solid fuels — has posed global socio-ecological problems related to industrial safety and environmental protection to mankind. Aspects of the concept of «clean technologies» are relevant directions in solving environmental problems in the production and processing of oil and gas: the development of environmentally friendly processes and waste disposal, purification of gas emissions from petrochemical industries, purification of wastewater from oil and oil products. 

Rational use of resources

The choice of hydrogen production methods depends on the availability of industrial raw materials or resources, as well as the required quality and purity of the manufactured product. Currently, there are many methods of industrial production of hydrogen, which is one of the main advantages of hydrogen energy, as it increases energy security and reduces dependence on certain types of fossil raw materials. 

Thus, today hydrogen acts as one of the industrial gases that has been used for decades. The main source of energy for hydrogen production is natural gas. 

A number of installations were put into operation at the Turkmenbashi Complex of Oil Refineries, which allow increasing the volume of production of hydrocarbon chemistry products. In accordance with the «Program for the development of the oil and gas industry of Turkmenistan until 2030», namely, the rational use of hydrocarbon resources, work on the production of high-quality petrochemical products is successfully carried out.

Special demand products

Due to unlimited resources, high-energy saturation, technological flexibility and ecological purity of energy conversion processes with the participation of hydrogen, it should be considered as the most promising energy carrier with the possibility of using various types of fuel. 

When hydrogen is used as a fuel, electricity is generated during its electrochemical oxidation, usually by atmospheric oxygen in an electrochemical cell, in contrast to the traditional generation of electricity in a three-stage conversion process: chemical energy — thermal energy — electricity. 

The challenge for the coming decades is the creation of a fundamentally new industry and market based on carbon-free production of hydrogen, its large-scale storage and transportation over hundreds and thousands of kilometers in pipelines and in sea and land tankers.

Energy strategy of the president

Implementation of large-scale investment projects aimed at producing competitive products is one of the strategic objectives of the oil and gas industry. Consistent implementation of the economic policy of the head of the state Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, in particular, measures to modernize industrial facilities, ensures a confident, dynamic development of the national economy. 

High profitability associated with the global market situation and prices for its products, as well as a favorable macroeconomic situation and climate for investment, attract foreign investors to Turkmenistan. Projects for the manufacture of products that are competitive on world markets are one of the strategic objectives of the development of the petrochemical industry.

Therefore, the fuel and energy complex of our country is a priority area for the development of the national economy.

Large-scale industrialization of the country, the transition to a digital economy, the formation of an information society, the development of a market economy and entrepreneurship have become the main criteria for the social and economic policy of the Turkmen leader. As a result of these effective steps, the stably high rates of the national economy are maintained, which means a stable increase in the standard of living and well-being of the people of Turkmenistan.

28 май 2021, 11:28

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Allaberdi Ilyasov

Photo source: CentralAsia.news

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