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Plasma non-thermal decomposition (methane)

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Technology Description

Methane splitting/pyrolysis/cracking is a thermochemical process in which methane is decomposed at high temperatures 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. The non-thermal plasma process has several advantages over the thermal decomposition process. It operates at lower temperatures, which reduces the energy required for the process, making it more energy efficient. Additionally, the non-thermal plasma process can operate at atmospheric pressure, which reduces the complexity and cost of the equipment needed for the process.
One technology option for the non-thermal plasma process is based on shockwaves. Shockwave pyrolysis utilizes shockwaves to pyrolyze methane into carbon black and hydrogen gas. Shockwaves are produced by a high-pressure gas stream into a tube with a closed end, to create a compression wave that decompose the methane molecules.

Relevance for Net Zero

Other alternative technologies for hydrogen production from fossil sources with CCS are far more developed and cost-competitive, although there may be some scope for its deployment thanks to the possibility of producing low-emission hydrogen with a simpler configuration than technologies incorporating CCUS

Key Countries

Europe

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