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Sustainability 2010, 2(6), 1472-1491; doi:10.3390/su2061472

A Methodology for Assessing the Sustainability of Hydrogen Production from Solid Fuels

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Ontario, L1H 7K4, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 February 2010 / Revised: 1 April 2010 / Accepted: 24 May 2010 / Published: 28 May 2010
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A methodology for assessing the sustainability of hydrogen production using solid fuels is introduced, in which three sustainability dimensions (ecological, sociological and technological) are considered along with ten indicators for each dimension. Values for each indicator are assigned on a 10-point scale based on a high of 1 and a low of 0, depending on the characteristic of the criteria associated with each element or process, utilizing data reported in the literature. An illustrative example is presented to compare two solid fuels for hydrogen production: coal and biomass. The results suggest that qualitative sustainability indicators can be reasonably defined based on evaluations of system feasibility, and that adequate flexibility and comprehensiveness is provided through the use of ten indicators for each of the dimensions for every process or element involved in hydrogen production using solid fuels. Also, the assessment index values suggest that biomasses have better sustainability than coals, and that it may be advantageous to use coals in combination with biomass to increase their ecological and social sustainability. The sustainability assessment methodology can be made increasingly quantitative, and is likely extendable to other energy systems, but additional research and development is needed to lead to a more fully developed approach. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability; solid fuels; coal; biomass; hydrogen energy; hydrogen production sustainability; solid fuels; coal; biomass; hydrogen energy; hydrogen production

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MDPI and ACS Style

Gnanapragasam, N.V.; Reddy, B.V.; Rosen, M.A. A Methodology for Assessing the Sustainability of Hydrogen Production from Solid Fuels. Sustainability 2010, 2, 1472-1491.

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