How Our Plasma Transforms Chemistry
Transform Materials technology relies on the power of plasma to convert methane into acetylene and hydrogen without combustion. By applying microwave-derived energy to methane, the Transform Materials reactor energizes it to form a plasma, a state of matter in which the methane is converted into ions that can then recombine to form different chemicals.
Why We Use Methane
Methane in its natural state is a highly stable molecule, with strong bonds between its carbon atom and its four hydrogens. Microwave-generated plasma provides enough energy to rupture the carbon-hydrogen bonds in methane, allowing the carbons and hydrogens to rearrange themselves in the reactor so that acetylene and hydrogen gas is produced.
Methane, the main energy source in natural gas, is abundant, inexpensive, and ubiquitous. Methane, however, is itself a greenhouse gas, about 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping atmospheric heat. When used for energy, methane is typically combusted -- burned to combine with oxygen, so that it forms carbon dioxide, another familiar greenhouse gas. Methane can also be deemed a waste gas during oil production and coal mining, so that it is discharged directly into the atmosphere, or is flared on-site by combustion, thus forming carbon dioxide.
Transform Materials' technology uses methane without combustion, instead energizing this gas to create a plasma within which the atoms of the methane can be scrambled to form other useful chemicals, in particular, acetylene and hydrogen. In addition, by using methane as a feedstock, Transform Materials' technology puts this cost-effective resource to good use, forming chemical end-products while preventing its entry into the atmosphere.
By relying on natural gas as feedstock for its plasma process, Transform Materials takes advantage of its highly favorable economics. In addition, Transform Materials offers a new pathway for using methane without adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.