Climate change presents one of the biggest challenges of our times according to the European Environment Agency. Keeping the global warming target of 1.5ºC as agreed to in the Paris climate deal is challenging and will require significantly reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. The renewed interest in hydrogen comes in response to its potential as a climate-friendly energy carrier or feedstock in many applications and sectors.
This report analyzes the patent literature on hydrogen production. Hydrogen (H2) can be produced in several ways. Currently, H2 is mainly produced from methane by the “steam methane reforming” (SMR) process. Other production methods are electrolysis, fermentation, high-temperature water splitting, photobiological water splitting or photoelectrochemical water splitting. Accordingly, sources for hydrogen include fossil fuels and gas as well as renewable resources. The report includes an overall analysis of the patent landscape in the field of hydrogen production as well some more targeted analysis for fossil-based and renewable-based hydrogen. Additionally, developments with respect to hydrogen production using biological processes, photolytic and thermochemical water splitting are reviewed.