Facilitating Carbon-neutral or Carbon-negative Hydrogen

The mission of Biogas2H2 is to research, demonstrate and introduce the new technology of methane decomposition (MDT). Based on current insights and the use of green electrical energy, there are two ways to make carbon neutral hydrogen. One is electrolysis of water, the other is decomposition of methane. Both technologies do not produce CO2. So even when using fossil methane, green hydrogen is created, which is also called turquoise hydrogen. If biomethane is used as a raw material, carbon negative hydrogen is in principle created. Making 1 kg of hydrogen via electrolysis costs 50-60 kWh of green energy, via decomposition of methane we expect an energy consumption of 10-15 kWh. That is 4 to 5 times less per kilogram of hydrogen. Methane decomposition technology is available in the Netherlands up to a TRL level 1-4, in the EU TRL 3-6/7 is available. The Netherlands has the opportunity to put a second technology on the map for green hydrogen with 4-5 times lower energy consumption than electrolysis. However, significant research must be conducted into the value of the carbon created in the decomposition process in order to establish a sound business case for the various methane decomposition technologies. Biogas2H2 is currently busy to collect funding for conducting the necessary research into the value of the carbon black, produced by the most promising methane decomposition technologies.

Methane Decomposition Technology is capable of converting methane into hydrogen en carbon or carbon compounds without the production of CO2. Moreover, in that process it uses about one-fifth of the energy which is needed voor the decomposition of water in hydrogen and oxygen in the electrolysis process. For the last 120 years, most of the methane is, together with hot steam in the steam methane reforming process (SMR), converted into hydrogen and lots of CO2: 11 kg CO2 per kg hydrogen. Therefore, SMR-hydrogen (grey and blue hydrogen) should be stopped as soon as MDT is available. With MDT, we can produce lots of green hydrogen if we take care of mainly putting the carbon back into the soil. 

As can be seen from the table above, the production of grey and blue hydrogen produces 11 kg CO2/kg hydrogen, while electrolysis and MDT produce no CO2. Moreover, MDT uses approx. 1/5 of green electricity when compared to the electrolysis of water. MDT with natural gas as input is called turqoise hydrogen. When you use biogas as input, you will get ultra-green hydrogen if you permanently store the solid carbon into the soil. This results then in carbon negative hydrogen. However, part of the carbon we need for the production of carbon-related compounds for maintaining our wealth & health. This can also be realised, using other MDT technologies which are already available within the Netherlands. MDT resulting in hydrogen and solid carbon is available from >100 kW skids within the European Union.

How to prove, pilot and demonstrate MDT?

Biogas2H2 believes that there are a number of MDT suppliers within the European Union, but also outside Europe who are able to supply the technology for the decomposition of (bio-)methane with a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 6-8. Therefore,  Biogas2H2 wants to research the technological, economical and ecological readiness of state-of-the-art MDT, together with Dutch Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences. 

  • In the first step, the available MDT should be examined until a first selection of preferred suppliers can be made. 
  • After that, research test units should be imported, installed and commissioned until the technological, economical and ecological readiness can be proved.  
  • Then, a selection from the preferred suppliers can be made to set up pilot- or demonstration projects that can convert, on a small industrial scale, biomethane into hydrogen, which can be used, preferably in the immediate vicinity, for combustion processes for the generation of electrical energy, heat or mechanical energy. 
  • Biogas2H2 therefore focus on the realization of demonstration projects in which, in close collaboration with research institutes in the Netherlands, the maturity of this decomposition technology can be demonstrated in a technical, economic and ecological sense. For that, it needs more test- and research data from the present MDT, in order to give solid MDT-advise to its customers.
  • The carbon black should be researched in order to determine the quality of the carbon black produced. Biogas2H2 wants to investigate the quality and market opportunities for industrial and agricultural use, or to investigate the possibilities for permanent storage of solid carbon.