Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Tom Kirkman

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions using microwave plasma technology

Recommended Posts

Some ongoing research info from Physics dot Org.  Involves natural gas, coal, hydrogen.  Lower cost graphene as a useful byproduct.  Excerpts below:

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions using microwave plasma technology

A multi-disciplinary collaborative relationship, developed between Penn State EMS Energy Institute researchers and a Pittsburgh-based start-up company, may hold the answer to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions while also paving the way to disrupt the chemical and material industries.

Since 2015, Randy Vander Wal, professor of energy and mineral engineering and materials science and engineering, and affiliate at the EMS Energy Institute, has been collaborating with H Quest Vanguard on a growing number of projects that use the company's plasma technology to enable potential new, non-emissive uses of coal and natural gas.  ...


... Switching to cleaner fuels is recognized as a key component in reducing these emissions. Hydrogen, in particular, is a promising energy carrier because burning it produces only water and not carbon dioxide. But hydrogen is very rare in its pure molecular form. It is abundant, however, in the form of water—11% hydrogen by mass—and methane, a principal component of natural gas—25% hydrogen by mass. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, presently 95% of the hydrogen for fuel in the U.S. is extracted from natural gas.

The most widely used industrial process for hydrogen production—steam-methane reforming—heats methane from natural gas using steam to produce carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Unfortunately, this process has a large greenhouse gas emission footprint and consumes large amounts of water.

Thermal methane decomposition heats natural gas to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which cracks the hydrocarbon molecules, extracting hydrogen as gas and leaving the solid carbon behind. Introducing catalysts to this process can reduce the required temperature but introduces the problem of separating the solid carbon from the catalyst surfaces. Overall, due to constraints associated with heating, this process remains a costly, energy-intensive, and greenhouse gas-emissive process.

H Quest's microwave plasma technology catalyzes reactions in a novel way and allows very rapid—1,000 degrees Fahrenheit per second—heating of gas, which is not possible with conventional heating technologies such as boilers, furnaces, heat exchangers, or inductive heaters.  ...


... It could also reduce the costs associated with large-scale hydrogen energy products; create market demand, technologies, and infrastructure to enable hydrogen energy deployment; and use domestic natural gas for manufacturing energy and synthetic carbon products.

"Microwave processing of natural gas represents decarbonization of a fossil fuel while paving the path toward the hydrogen economy," Vander Wal said.

It would also create a pathway to cleaner, lower-cost carbon products. Graphene, for example, is a material that is stronger than steel and more conductive than copper.

"Graphene, as an additive to concrete, can increase strength and durability, contributing to infrastructure improvement while sequestering at large scale carbon/graphene production," Vander Wal said.  ...


... "Coal has been foundational for modern industrial organic chemistry," he added. "So many synthetic products—from aspirin to nylon—have been produced from coal, before it became synonymous with electricity generation in the era of cheap oil in the 1950s. This research will unlock the true value of our fossil resources as the source of high-performance materials but will do so in a more sustainable and cost-effective way than has ever been possible."


  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0