Transforming Fossil Fuels into Heat or Hydrogen

Greenhouse gases, in particular CO2 are the main cause of climate change. This project was motivated by finding an alternative way of using natural gas to produce heat for industrial facilities with reduced CO2 production. The main purpose of this project was to investigate pyrolysis of natural gas with a mediu-scale set-up (8 kw). Natural gas can be decomposed into hydrogen and carbon black at high temperatures.

Hydrogen can be used as a clean fuel and carbon black is a valuable raw material for many industries such as tire, rubber, ink and pigments.

Two natural gas thermal decomposition systems will be investigated in order to transform fossil fuels into either heat or hydrogen:

1) Gas-phase pyrolysis, where the heat for pyrolysis is provided by burning natural gas and the pyrolysis occurs via heat transfer from the gas-phase products of combustion.

2) Molten-metal pyrolysis where natural gas is bubbled through molten metal which could be heated from a variety of heat sources (e.g., solar).