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Methane pyrolysis (methanol)


Technology Description

Methane splitting/pyrolysis/cracking is a thermochemical process in which methane is decomposed in H2 and solid carbon in the presence of a catalyst, thus generating CO2-free H2 since the carbon present in the methane is separated as a solid carbon that can be used in different applications. In methanol production, methane pyrolysis can be used to generate the required syngas without emitting CO2; the subsequent process steps - methanol synthesis and distillation - can be carried out nearly unchanged. While carbon black production through methane pyrolysis has been applied in initial commercial plants, several projects are working towards using methane pyrolysis to produce hydrogen and potentially using this hydrogen to produce methanol. While some are already planning to use the hydrogen to produce ammonia, for others the intended use of hydrogen is not yet determined.

Relevance for Net Zero

Methane pyrolysis can play an important role in reducing methanol production emissions. However, other options like CCS are currently more advanced.

Key Countries

Germany, Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Korea

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