Nazim Muradov talks with
ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions about
this month's Fast Moving Front in the field of
Article: From hydrocarbon to hydrogen-carbon to
Authors: Muradov, NZ;Veziroglu, TN
Journal: INT J HYDROGEN ENERG, 30 (3): 225-237 MAR
Addresses: Univ Cent Florida, Florida Solar Energy Ctr,
1679 Clearlake Rd, Cocoa, FL 32922 USA.
Univ Cent Florida, Florida Solar Energy Ctr, Cocoa, FL
Univ Miami, Clear Energy Res Inst, Coral Gables, FL 33124
Why do you think your paper is highly
This paper offers a novel concept for addressing the energy and
environmental issues that will arise during the transition from the present
fossil-based economy to a sustainable carbon-neutral economy of the future.
This is a very important and highly debated subject amongst scientists and
Does it describe a new discovery,
methodology, or synthesis of knowledge?
This is a concept paper outlining a new way of producing clean fuels and
advanced structural materials from traditional fossil-based resources
(e.g., natural gas) in an environmentally sustainable way. As such, the
paper is a synthesis of knowledge rather than a new scientific discovery.
Would you summarize the significance of your
paper in layman's terms?
In the near term, production of energy and transportation fuels will likely
rely on the use of fossil resources, and hence, remain a source of
significant CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. CO2 sequestration in
geological formations or under the ocean seems to be a low-hanging-fruit
solution to this problem. The real issue, however, is that the long-term
ecological consequences of CO2 sequestration cannot be adequately predicted
given the current state of knowledge, and many experts are cautious about
this "quick fix" approach.
FSEC researchers are testing a new catalyst for
hydrogen production from
The authors propose an alternative fossil decarbonization strategy
involving conversion of hydrocarbons to hydrogen and carbon, with hydrogen
used as a clean fuel and carbon used in structural materials. This strategy
would allow taking advantage of the existing fossil-based infrastructure
without an adverse environmental impact—securing a smooth
carbon-neutral transition from the fossil-based economy to a future
How did you become involved in this research
and were any particular problems encountered along the way?
I became interested in the idea of hydrogen as an inexhaustible and
environmentally clean fuel after reading a series of articles authored by
professors Nejat Veziroglu (the co-author of the subject paper), John
O'Bockris, Cesare Marchetti, and other pioneers of the hydrogen movement
(they are dubbed "Hydrogen Romantics"). For the past 20-plus years, I have
been involved in various aspects of hydrogen energy research.
Presently, at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), we are engaged in the
development of solar-powered water-splitting cycles for hydrogen
production, hydrogen sensors and detectors, hydrogen storage technologies,
biomass-to-fuel processes and hydrogen fuel cells, among others.
Over the years, we have seen ups and downs in the support for hydrogen
research. It is our hope, that by continuing high quality and innovative
research, we'll be able to maintain the steady pace of progress in the
development of efficient processes for the production, storage, and
utilization of hydrogen that are the basis of a future hydrogen economy.
Where do you see your research leading in the
The development and implementation of new CO2-free routes to hydrogen
production from hydrocarbons with recovery of solid carbon products
presents an environmentally sound alternative to CO2 capture and
sequestration. The recovered carbon can be used in the production of
advanced structural materials, reducing the use of conventional materials
such as steel and concrete, whose production contributes significantly to
global greenhouse gas emissions.
It is plausible that efficient and cost-effective processes for the capture
of atmospheric CO2 and its conversion to fuels or solid carbon using
renewable hydrogen will be developed in the near future. This will provide
a further relief in the carbon-constrained world and boost the prospects of
a hydrogen economy.
Do you foresee any social or political
implications for your research?
We are approaching a critical period in the fossil fuel era, marked by the
rapid depletion of economically affordable oil reserves and the prospects
of accelerating global climate change—both with dire consequences for
industrial civilization. A hydrogen economy has the potential to end our
reliance on fossil fuels and clean up the environment, thus, preventing a
Because hydrogen can be produced anywhere in the world, it will
fundamentally change social and economic interplay and prevent political
upheaval. It is important to begin the transition to the hydrogen economy,
sooner rather than later, so there are sufficient time and resources to
complete the transition and avoid destabilizing the global climate.
Nazim Muradov, Ph.D., D.Sc. Principal Research Scientist Florida Solar Energy Center University of Central Florida Cocoa, FL, USA Web