An extensive literature survey has been conducted to compile and summarize experience with utilizing hydrogen and hydrogen-containing nitrogen-based compounds as alternative fuels in combustion-based processes with particular focus upon the impact upon performance of metallic materials, with additional discussion of perceived gaps and future needs.

Combustion-based energy production systems contain numerous metallic components (incorporated into combustion systems, turbo machinery, heat transfer equipment, transfer piping, etc.) potentially impacted by incorporation of hydrogen or hydrogen-containing compounds into the fuel source. Summarization and discussion of observations documented in the literature will be discussed.

Incorporation of hydrogen-containing fuel into the combustion stream for internal combustion engines utilized by the transportation industry can have implications upon engine performance parameters as well as performance of components. Performance accounts of trials in the industry are discussed and summarized.

Potential effects of increased hydrogen-containing compounds into fuel sources and elevated-temperature process streams upon process parameters and materials of construction are summarized.


Global demand for hydrogen is growing, increasing to 94 MT in 2021. Most of that consumption came from refining, ammonia and methanol production and direct iron-ore reduction for steel making, but 40 kT was for new applications.1 Numerous projects around the world have established ambitious goals for increasing hydrogen utilization by 2030 (potentially to around 115 MT), across multiple sectors, including industry, transportation and power.

Hydrogen utilization is recognized as a potential means of realizing the net zero greenhouse gas emissions commitments issued by governments in recent years. Recent shifts in global politics and the resulting energy implications have accelerated interest in large-scale projects to produce hydrogen using lower-emission techniques starting with renewable energy sources (rather than current ‘gray’ and ‘blue’ methods which start with fossil fuels).1,2,3,4

Hydrogen usage for road transportation has increased 60% since 2020, to 30 kT, largely comprised by trucks and buses; the quantity of fuel-cell powered electric vehicles (FCEVs) has increased significantly as well.1 A fleet of 14 PEM fuel-cell powered trains in Germany's lower Saxony was deployed in August 2022; multiple companies currently have plans to bring hydrogen power to rail transportation. Fuel-cell and hydrogen combustion power have been implemented for material handling and construction equipment, and agricultural equipment. The shipping industry has implemented hydrogen and ammonia as fuels for combustion-based power, as well as fuel cells. The aviation industry is also exploring hydrogen-based technologies in the form of targets for utilization of renewable hydrogen-based fuel utilization.

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