The increasing use of hydrogen in petroleum industries is propelling the growth of the global hydrogen market. The other end-user industries for hydrogen include metal processing industries, chemical manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and food processing. The demand for hydrogen in petroleum refining has increased significantly over the last few years, owing to stringent motor vehicle emissions regulations imposed by various governments. Developed countries follow the latest emission regulations; whereas, developing countries frequently revise regulations. The rising per capita vehicle ownership and consequential demand for petroleum is fuelling the demand for hydrogen globally. Apart, their scope in refineries as a chemical compound further acts as a driving factor for the hydrogen market.
Some of the other drivers behind the growing global demand of hydrogen include increasing demand of hydrogen from refinery hydro-processing industry, and growing concept of power-to-gas. Power-to-gas concept is designed to conserve energy and optimally utilize renewable sources. Methanation is one of the most important processes of the power-to-gas cycle, which produces methane. Hydrogen is one of the important raw materials for methanation, where it combines with carbon dioxide and produces methane. Growing utilization of this system is further fuelling the demand of hydrogen gas.
On the basis of production and delivery, the Global hydrogen market can be segmented into merchant production and captive production. On the basis of production process, the hydrogen market can be classified as gasification of coal, steam reforming of natural gases, partial oxidation of hydrocarbons, electrolysis of water, and others. On the basis of application, the hydrogen market can be classified as petroleum refinery, chemical production, food processing, pharmaceutical, metal processing, and others.
Though environmental legislations are increasing global hydrogen consumption for purification and higher quality products anticipated to provide further growth opportunities for hydrogen market, one of the major challenges to the global hydrogen market is unstable global oil refining capacity. The oil refining industry is a major end-user of hydrogen gas. Instability in this industry is severely affecting the growth of the hydrogen market. There is major instability in Western Europe, where refining capacity is continuously declining since 2011. According to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the oil refining capacity of Western Europe was decreased from 15,155.9 (thousand barrels per calendar day) in 2011 to 14,097.6 (thousand barrels per calendar day) in 2013.
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