Membranes for Hydrogen Rainbow toward Industrial Decarbonization: Status, Challenges and Perspectives from Materials to Processes

Ziyi Yuan, Jiali Tang, Danlin Chen, Yang Li, Zihao Hong, Xuezhong He*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Hydrogen is a clean energy carrier that will allow the world to accomplish its strategic targets of zero-emission and the decarbonization of industry. The development of environmentally friendly, energy-efficient hydrogen production processes gains increased attention from both academia and industry. Blue hydrogen produced from the steam methane reforming process integrated with CO2 capture is considered the bridge for an energy transition from fossil fuels to a hydrogen economy. While green hydrogen production from water electrolysis using renewable energies of wind and solar power is becoming a hot topic, and several large-scale green hydrogen projects are under deployment. Membrane technology can be instrumental for hydrogen production and enrichment either in the blue or green form. The challenge of bringing down the costs for membrane materials such as hydrogen-selective membranes, polymer electrolyte membranes (PEM), and anion exchange membranes (AEM), etc. must be addressed to enhance their competitiveness compared to the grey hydrogen produced from fossil fuels. Other challenges including the aging phenomenon, long-time stability, performance enhancement, and upscaling should be also overcome for hydrogen rainbow towards industrial decarbonization. Furthermore, suitable process intensification techniques based on membranes can effectively enhance the energy efficiency of the whole process to enable the practical deployment of this technology. Herein, this work conducts a critical review of the status of membrane material performances and the challenges of membrane processes for hydrogen production, purification, and recovery. Some emerging materials like two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials and carbon membranes show a particular interest in this field. However, to meet the requirements of different scenarios, further developments of materials and modules, combining membranes with other processes or technologies, and incorporating process simulation are necessary and urgent.
Original languageAmerican English
Article number144328
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
StatePublished - 25 Jun 2023


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