Empa researchers want to decarbonize processes with high temperatures

Dübendorf ZH/Zug- Researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) are working on a method to reduce CO2 emissions in industrial processes in the high-temperature range. The potential of synthetic methane for decarbonization is being investigated.

A research team from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) is developing a pyrolysis process to decarbonize high-temperature process heat as part of the new Mining the Atmosphere research initiative. The aim is to produce efficient hydrogen, according to a press release.

To achieve this, the carbon in the natural gas is to be separated from the hydrogen. The hydrogen is to be used to generate energy. The separated carbon is to be further developed in powder form for applications in construction and agriculture. If synthetic methane is used instead of natural gas, negative emissions are even possible.

Industry is the third largest energy consumer after buildings and mobility. High values of around 22 terawatt hours per year are generated in the metal processing and chemical industries, which are often powered by natural gas.

However, the researchers point to an increase in primary energy consumption in the event of possible negative emissions. "However, it is not realistic that we can cover the huge energy requirements of our industry through domestic production of renewable hydrogen or synthetic methane," Christian Bach, Head of Empa's Vehicle Drive Systems department, is quoted as saying. He sees the solution in desert regions, where the solar radiation per square meter is twice as high.

In the next two years, a demonstration plant is to be launched in the Tech Cluster in Zug to operate the enameling furnace at V-Zug AG with hydrogen. ce/heg

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