Methane Pyrolysis

CO2 is a big issue, and only getting bigger. Whether or not you believe it's causing global warming, the reality is it's being watched closely and will be controlled in the future, in many places it already is.

While our reliance on fossil fuels is deep, alternatives are gaining ground such as electrics, where batteries still remain problematic and imperfect.

Carbon capture is another imperfect solution - we can collect the CO2 from individual sources like a smokestack, but what do we do with it? Sequestering the carbon dioxie in high pressure underseas or underground is an impermanent solution with big risks, and utilizing CO2 has limited usefulness - like carbonating your soft drinks, and those options don't prevent it from winding up in the atmosphere in the end anyway.

Hydrogen is another option which could work well as a fuel - anywhere from small scale distributed systems like cars, trains and trucks - some are already in production and use, all the way to bigger scales like offsetting natural gas in combined cycle turbines - up to 30% may be possibly to replace directly and directly offsets the CO2 from natural gas combustion.

Hydrogen also has potential in carbon capture and utilization - instead of trying to bury CO2, it's possible to make use of it, reacting H2 and CO2 to form synthesis gas that can be used to make methanol, which if nothing else is a more permanent storage than compressed CO2.

Hydrogen also has enormous use in industrial purposes - and that's where the majority is used, specifically for ammonia production and petroleum refining, but also it's a raw material for many other chemicals.

So, hydrogen! we use a lot, and likely may use more in efforts to combat CO2. The problem is, producing H2 makes CO2! Almost all hydrogen produced today comes from steam methane reforming, CH4 + 2 H2O --> 4 H2 + CO2. Most of the rest comes from electrolysis, which is not very efficient and really is just an energy storage - the energy you get from combusting H2 to H2O is the energy you have to put back in to split it back to hydrogen again (plus any inefficiencies of the system). and most of that energy is coming from power plants already burning fossil fuels

So how can we make H2 without CO2?

A few ways, some neat academic scale ideas like direct solar photoelectrolysis can make hydrogen, but not at large scale. Electrolysis can work, but to be CO2 free the energy needs to come from renewable sources - and it's a lot of energy. On the other hand the nice thing about fossil fuels is nature's already made the energy carrier, we get energy from combustion instead of supplying the energy to reverse it. and right now and forseeable future, natural gas is cheap and abundant.

Instead what if we can take the hydrogen from natural gas, but leave the carbon as SOLID CARBON?! That's methane pyrolysis - CH4 --> C + 2 H2. It takes abundant CH4 to produce hydrogen, same starting point as most hydrogen already produced via SMR, but instead of CO2 you've got solid carbon, which at best can find use and be sold as a valuable material, at worst it's easy to dispose of - we could even back fill in the old coal mines, a cute idea some researchers in the field have proposed. Unfortunately this takes more energy and produces less H2 per CH4 than SMR does currently. But it's close, a lot closr than electrolysis, and a CO2 tax or sale value of the carbon byproduct can push it ahead of SMR in terms of economics.

It seems like an easy idea, but to actually do it is much less simple. Put energy into CH4 and get out C and H2! Well, One big issue is the carbon. C looks great in an equation on a piece of paper, but you know what doesn't a big pile of soot. And that's what you get - consider the fact that carbon with a molecular weight of 12 versus hydrogen with a MW of 1, in CH4 75% of the mass is carbon. that means for every ton of hydrogen you're making 3 tons of carbon. with global hydrogen demands (*2013) at >60 Million tons, that's a lot of carbon. And whatta ya do with that much carbon, picture the bad kid getting a lump of coal from santa. well now you've got enough to give every kid on the planet almost 100 kilos of coal, every Christmas. In a lot of the academic research you see people suggesting the hydroge is made, and you "sell the carbon" and proceed to give a value for selling "carbon" in the range of $20 a ton for coal to >1k/kilogram for nanofibers. But that totally neglects that all of those markets have very specific demands. Lets take a look at carbon markets - you've got high value with specialty nanofiber materials, but the demand is tiny. meanwhile big volume sinks exist in coking for steel, but those values are small. Not to mention each of these requires specific properties and purities of carbon, which have decades of careful research into their production.

The other big issue is how do you put the energy in. Splitting CH4 takes temperatures of 1200°C and above. that could come from a plasma arc, electric heating elements, even burners, but the trickier part is the heating also affects what type of carbon you get out.

Alright, that's a good place to take a step back and look at the history.

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

Methane pyrolysis is hardly new. The origins go back to before SMR, and heating of methane was known to generate combustible hydrogen and carbon soot. At the time soot was pretty useful and the technology diverged, on one hand partial combustion turned out to be a better solution for generating useful carbon black soots - where the heat for cracking methane came directly from a partial combustion in a very fuel rich burn, and later higher hydrocarbons like acetylene proved even more profitable, while on the other hand steam methane reforming became the preferred method for hydrogen generation.

Later in the 50's and 60's some petrochemicals companies, Esso (Exxon) and Universal Oil Products took looks into catalytic approaches. Being an endothermic process, catalysis is an obvious benefit, and given the reaction temperatures over 1000C, bring the temperatures down below 8-900 can allow much more affordable reactor constructions as well.

Catalysts which work well mirror many of the SMR catalysts, nickel and iron supported on silica and alumina are popular. However you're intyentionally creating carbon! and where does that carbon go? Directly onto the catalysts so they're very quickly deactivated. The early researches regenerated the catalysts by combusting the carbon off of them in air, and then using that heat to drive the pyrolysis reaction, but this obviously negates the CO2 benefit, which at the time wasn't a concern.

There was also a lot of academic kinetic research into the tpic but none of it particularly scalable and more looking at different kinetic of catalysis and coking/deactivation. Around the same time also the Huels process was developed using a plasma arc which was recognized to also promote pyrolysis, but was instead used for acetylene production.

In the late 80s however, we started to be aware of the impact of CO2, and the concept of CO2 tax also began to make pyrolysis look more attractive as a H2 source. And that's where i'll focus on next: some researchers used catalytic approaches, with lots of interest still on catalyst properties and activities at the research scale, specifically with interest in generating nanomaterial carbon, others recognized the catalytic activity of carbon itself which gives advantage of a purer product carbon, plasma technology continued, both thermal electric arc as with Kvaerner, Monolith, and microwave and lower T plasmas in AHI, Lyten, GasPlas and others. Still another approach started in the US national labs is to bubble through a liquid metal bath as the heat source and transfer medium, and the carbon product conveniently floats to the top!

Next we'll go into some of the advantages disadvantages and interesting aspects of the process and products of each of those! but first, I needa eat some lunch

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

♣Slew Foot♣ /

I thought you meant a fancy way of saying that you were lighting your farts on fire laughing out loud at my own jokes...

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

Overpriced Parts /

It wasn’t too long and I did read all of this but remember “energy cannot be made it can only be change from one form to another”

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

I remember now why i dropped nature physics and chemistry the moment i could in highschool.

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

Dirty30 Dillon /

This is the content I am about

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

♣Slew Foot♣ /

My head hurts now

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

> ♣Slew Foot♣ Wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> My head hurts now

Your head already hurt

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

The sky is falling! Global Warming...LOL!

Get a life.

Quit worrying about the Earth.Worry about yourself.

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

> Ken Roff Wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> It wasn’t too long and I did read all of this but remember “energy

> cannot be made it can only be change from one form to another”

I actually wrote this cuz I was writing up a draft to a talk I gotta give. there was a lot more but it gets a little more technical than I should probably let fly with my name over it on a public forummm.....

but this is a great point. And really why methane pyrolysis is so interesting -

Nature has already converted the energy in fossil fuels to a higher energy form - so combusting it you are just extracting that stored energy by converting it back to CO2 and H2O. But electrolysis you gotta put all of that energy in that you get out from burning it - minus all the inefficiency of combustion and electrolysis. The only advantage is the long term storage - hydrogen doesn't dissipate the way it would if you tried to put that power into batteries for a few years.

But with pyrolysis you're already at a high energy starting point - instead of water you're at the low energy. So it takes a lot less energy to get H2 from CH4, that's exactly why steam methane reforming dominates over electrolysis. you just gotta do something with the carbon, and if you don't wanna release it as CO2 then pyrolysis lets you grab it as carbon.

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

i'm enjoying this, did you type it all just for our benefit?

obviously some people's brains cant handle thinking above a certain animal level, on my own animal instinct i have to think the amount of carbon that could be recaptured with any economically viable process would be a drop in the bucket against climate change.

one of my real gripes with the pseudo science swarming all over weather events- climate change- green house gases- human carbon production- and linking them all together is that i haven't seen compelling science that actually connects the amount of carbon change in the earths atmosphere correlated to weather events but that is the insinuation everyone makes. Obviously the science wont be there for a long time, but anecdotal evidence from events like Karakatoa and other major vulcanism where pretty good estimates of carbon/greenhouse gas emissions can be tied to major weather events, and i haven't seen where anyone has even a basic model that lines up to those examples.

i guess my point is that its obvious that human activity/emissions are fucking with weather on the planet, there is corollary evidence that it is fucking up climate on the planet, but at this point there isn't enough evidence to connect what chemicals/elements in what concentration are resulting in what effects. There are just so many variables that its pretty impossible to say 'spending 3 trillion dollars capturing 100 million tons of carbon and putting it under ground will stop/stall/reverse 3 trillion dollars in hurricane insurance claims' or something like that.

Adding to the complexity about the situation is the fact that we are talking about a bunch of different chemicals having different effects. We have made a decision when it comes to autos that we want to trade increased CO2 emissions for a decrease in CO and NOx to stop localized smog and acid rain. When you talk about setting policy and stuff like that, the EPA/CARB is essentially demanding that you make vehicles that cause more 'global warming' so that you can decrease acid rain and smog in a few select high population/ affluent/influential areas like L.A.

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

> Don Ohio Wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> The sky is falling! Global Warming...LOL!

>

> Get a life.

>

> Quit worrying about the Earth.Worry about yourself.

I'll translate this from Don Ohio Speak:

"I don't understand what you wrote. The concepts are far too complex for a Fox News-watching mouth-breather such as myself to comprehend. Therefore, I'll make fun of it in order to make myself feel better about being so completely ignorant to anything that the preacher at my church and the on-air personalities on my TV spoon-feed me."

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

> Paola De Leon Wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> I'll translate this from Don Ohio Speak:

>

> "I don't understand what you wrote. The concepts are far too complex

> for a Fox News-watching mouth-breather such as myself to comprehend.

> Therefore, I'll make fun of it in order to make myself feel better about

> being so completely ignorant to anything except that which the preacher at my church

> and the on-air personalities on my TV spoon-feed me." (edited)

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

Angry Hipster /

I thought about it like this.

We're on this planet that is covered by a bubble called the atmosphere. That's it just a tinny bubble out in space, everything outside the bubble is deadly to humans. No habitable planets or such at the moment.

So we're in our little bubble out in the middle of death space and then we start fires within the bubble. We go further and test nuclear bombs within the bubble. We make crazy factories that just billow out black smoke within the bubble. .

Sooner or later this will bite us in the ass.. until then it is nerdspeak and conjecture as to exactly how and when. (edited)

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

CO2 has a greenhouse effect, and it's also a convenient metric to convert the effect of other often more potent greenhouse gasses to. for example methane itself is way more insulating, roughly 23x as potent as CO2. So CO2 gives you a "unit" for warming effect, in large part because it is so well researched and documented the effect that it has. And it's definitely getting higher, I see this and it's kinda shocking to actually witness - I use mass spectrometry often to quantify combustion efficiency for examply on an industrial scale. like a car O2 sensor for giant furnace burners. It's really sensitive and catches ppm levels and below of tiny trace gasses. I often use ambient air as a reference cuz it's "always the same" you can calibrate your Argon sensitivity knowing that just ambient air is 0.93% Ar. But I can actually remember that standard always true number being 380s just 10 years ago, and now i'm calibrating to 410. just striking like holy shit, the air I use that's always the same is measurably changing in short timescales.

I typed it out because I was ust trying to organize the talk, it was a last minute low-level request and I figured just telling the story would be a good way to organize an outline. so thanks! and enjoy!

100kg of coal for every kid on the planet every Christmas is a pretty great image - to put a scale of how much carbon it is. but holy shit, that's how much CO2 we're making now, JUST for producing hydrogen, which it's big but a tiny fraction of man-made emissions.

In the end, I believe in it ad hope we can make it work but it really only ever will if it's economical. and really the only way to make alternate energy economical is prohibitive policy against alternatives - tax CO2. and it sounds kinda shitty and very damning but at the same time if we didn't limit deforestation we'd have clear cut the whole of Europe before realizing we could use other sources of energy almost as easily (oh wait we did)

but what I mean is the hit doesn't have to be as big or scary as folks make it out to be - and it PROMOTES ideas, innovation, it promotes new jobs and markets and in the end we all benefit.

I dunno - here's an example - if you don't need to, most people wouldn't replace a $1 light bulb with a $20 LED, even if it's gonna save them a buck over the next 5 years. but you make that LED $5 and people can swallow it, suddenly there's enough demand that you can make the LED's cheaper, and yu're driving new technology to make better cheaper brighter lights that use less energy - but you need some spark to break down the initial barriers, and so maybe in this case CO2 tax is that.

In this specific case though, I'm hoping making a usable salable carbon byproduct from CH4--> C + H2 could enable economics to work without a CO2 tax, bridge economics and develop the technology so it's ready when it's time to go big time

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

Angry Hipster /

It sucks how economics stifles the habitability of the planet... (edited)

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

Overpriced Parts /

Science destroys the earth, every major breakthrough has consequences,

Every time something to help mankind destroys the earth, everything that makes our lives easier destroys the earth, everything from plastics, (my mother used to have Tupperware parties) and I had huge chemistry sets that would open to 12 shelves, I was in to model rocketing and I was able to buy all the ingredients to make gun powder and all kinds of toxic fun stuff at the local pharmacy ha ha,

They made Teflon (super slippery but then found to be highly toxic) nuclear Power, armaments and weapons, World wars with billions of tons of shipping tankers and such sunk contaminating poceans, jet engines or internal combustion engines (mopeds don’t count haha), medicines like antibiotics that now cause superbugs (like MSRA bacteria that put me in a bind/ruined my life) pesticides and herbicide‘s like what’s in round up (Monsanto/Bayer) and gmos to increase yield but cause cancer,

Everything’s gone back to organic but it’s too late because the grounds are all contaminated already, Launching a rocket makes a lot of percolate pollution, Space junk is infathomable, smart phones, computers and gaming increased mental illness 2x or more especially in people born after 1995, there are so many things inventions or science that were not capable without mining or taking something out of the earth or the earth atmosphere !

There really isn’t many interventions or things that benefit mankind without raping the earth or causing other problems,

Years ago we had sicknesses, Plagues, short lifespan that would cull the human population which save the earth, small sustaining farming, hunt and gathering but now we made factory farms, super fishing vessels, chain restaurants, have worldwide transportation and we had none of those things for a million years and the earth was so clean and fresh! in but a century or so we completely destroyed it ! so science will not save the world it’s too late ! it will prolong it a bit longer but that’s it!

The only thing science will do is help us find another planet for us to destroy !

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

Angry Hipster /

Earth is doomed anyways. Eventually the sun will get bigger and burn our planet up. Then you have the fact that space itself is always expanding, (Into what?? Don't go there,lol)

Given enough time the universe itself will expand and collapse, certainly killing all and destroying even the slightest trace of mankind.

It is a temporary realm we live in, make the most of it and don't be a dick!

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

*You saying butterflies can't fly above a wall? LOL! Build the wall...……..the butterflies will be fine.

Most of all, WE'LL be fine.

*The sky is falling! Global Warming...LOL!

Get a life.

Quit worrying about the Earth.Worry about yourself.

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

Overpriced Parts /

> Thomas Davis Wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> Earth is doomed anyways. Eventually the sun will get bigger and burn our

> planet up. Then you have the fact that space itself is always expanding,

> (Into what?? Don't go there,lol)

>

> Given enough time the universe itself will expand and collapse,

> certainly killing all and destroying even the slightest trace of

> mankind.

>

> It is a temporary realm we live in, make the most of it and don't be a

> dick!

Yeah but that won’t take place in another 50-100 years that will take place in 1 million years,

Being amateur inventor/tinker I found that there’s really nothing you could do without making pollution, waste or raping earth!

We got got to find that perfect planet that’s just like ours to take over! I don’t but my offspring will have to!

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

♣Slew Foot♣ /

All right this is where the deathbed conspiracy thing starts there was a water engine it is actually a 2 stroke what they do is they replace the spark plug with a microwave emitter and it turns the water vapor into steam once the water expands into steam they use it to push the Piston just like a two stroke you can capture the exhaust and it's goes right back into water they have this thing where they were working on a high voltage circuit that they can use ions to do the same work as the gasoline there you go tinfoil hat off

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

You people have no faith(READ Psalm s 104: verse 5)...………….the One who created the universe and laid down the laws of gravity, centrifugal force, etc. has Earth well in control. It's not gonna be burned up like preachers try to tell you. That is figurative language in the Bible.

Have some faith and quit pretending you know what everyone needs to do to save the planet.

Don't let the Godless professors continue to hoodwink you. You need to question everything they try to brainwash you with.

Al Gore is laughing all the way to the bank while he lives in a mansion.

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

♣Slew Foot♣ /

We actually have been exiting an Ice Age since the 1700s so this global warming is natural CO2 creates plant growth the real problem is methane the methylene chloride that's held in the Artic and in the oceans that's what's going to do with scent and if we don't get it together and realize that we need to plant plant plant plant plant plant plant marijuana plant plant marijuana plant and use the Earth to heal itself nobody's ever going to get anywhere but me personally I'll do anything I personally want to because I feel because I have no children my carbon footprint is smaller than any of y'all and I am going to die with a good conscience sea level rise has been a constant if you look there are tons of ancient cities that are underwater and it's due to Natural rising and melting they do not mention that there is still more ice being made and aren't Antarctica than is being lost the temperature increases are also conducive to vegetation

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

> Don Ohio Wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

>Nonsense about a retarded fairytale

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

The fairy tale comes from your ilk,Bas. Science always learning what is worthless,but never how to live and WHY we exist. We exist to serve our God,simple as that.

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

Brad William /

Former epa chief interviewed last year on the radio. Wish I could remember who.

Would not be too hard to find it. Anyway, most of the conversation was occupied with climate change. Near the end he was asked a very general question regarding the disconnect between the science, the urgency, and disbelief and/or denial.

As a general but enormously important question, I was expecting a thoughtful pause, and a fairly broad and general response from the guy. But he didn't miss a beat... it is primarily rooted in religious faith he said. He went on to explain why.

Don O just provided a perfect, and almost perfectly succinct example of the type.

God help us. Indeed.

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

Rand Jacobson /

> Don Ohio Wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> You people have no faith(READ Psalm s 104: verse 5)...………….the One who

> created the universe and laid down the laws of gravity, centrifugal

> force, etc. has Earth well in control. It's not gonna be burned up like

> preachers try to tell you. That is figurative language in the Bible.

>

> Have some faith and quit pretending you know what everyone needs to do

> do to save the planet.

>

> Don't let the Godless professors continue to hoodwink you. You need to

> to question everything they try to brainwash you with.

>

> Al Gore is laughing all the way to the bank while he lives in a mansion.

You are part of what perpetuates killing humanity. Keep washing your hands of it you old fool.

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

> Rand Jacobson Wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> You are part of what perpetuates killing humanity. Keep washing your

> hands of it you old fool.

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

♣Slew Foot♣ /

To serve mankind with small potatoes and gravy

Re: Methane Pyrolysis

> Rand Jacobson Wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> > Don Ohio Wrote:

>

> > -------------------------------------------------------

>

> > You people have no faith(READ Psalm s 104: verse 5)...………….the One who

>

> > created the universe and laid down the laws of gravity, centrifugal

>

> > force, etc. has Earth well in control. It's not gonna be burned up

> like

>

> > preachers try to tell you. That is figurative language in the Bible.

>

> >

>

> > Have some faith and quit pretending you know what everyone needs to do

>

> > do to save the planet.

>

> >

>

> > Don't let the Godless professors continue to hoodwink you. You need to

>

> > to question everything they try to brainwash you with.

>

> >

>

> > Al Gore is laughing all the way to the bank while he lives in a

> mansion.

>

> You are part of what perpetuates killing humanity. Keep washing your

> hands of it you old fool.

You're the misled fool, young whelp. LOL!

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