A Pathway to Green Chemistry
Transform Materials has developed a groundbreaking technology that uses microwave-generated plasma to convert the methane in natural gas into hydrogen and acetylene in a clean and cost-efficient way, revolutionizing the manufacture of these important chemicals.
Cost-Effective and High-Yield
Our process converts methane or similar light hydrocarbon gases into valuable co-products: hydrogen and acetylene. Using only methane and electricity as inputs, this highly selective process avoids effluent impurities that require complex purification systems, instead yielding high-purity products with a small equipment footprint. In addition, it uses 50% less electricity for producing hydrogen than competing technologies.
Key operational features include:
- A single-pass conversion rate of > 90% with >95% selectivity, achieved at high throughput, with efficient plant operation and low production cost.
- A flexible feedstock, methane, available from multiple geographies and multiple sources, e.g., natural gas, biogas, coal bed methane, and flare gas. Alternatively, other light hydrocarbon gases can used as feedstock, guaranteeing supply chain flexibility and reliability.
- Two valuable co-products, hydrogen and acetylene, available for separate commercialization, yielding two revenue streams to cover production costs.
Flexible and Capital-Efficient
Transform Materials' production plants are capital-efficient, using established technology with reliable, readily sourced hardware. This modularity allows producers to design installations with capacities that meet their specific needs. And since Transform’s microwave plasma can be easily stopped and started, the production process operates on demand. Its compact footprint allows the plant to be located near product points-of-use, streamlining logistics.
Transform Materials' process converts methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), into the non-GHG products acetylene and hydrogen. No combustion is involved, thus avoiding the production of CO2, another GHG. As an additional benefit, acetylene that Transform produces can subsequently be captured in high-value plastics and other hydrocarbon end-products, durably trapping carbon in these materials instead of liberating more GHGs. The Transform system can readily use renewable-energy sources of power, resulting in a net carbon-neutral process.
Limitations of Conventional Processes
Three conventional processes generate hydrogen gas: electrolysis, methane steam reforming, and partial oxidation of hydrocarbons. By comparison, Transform’s process is cleaner and more efficient:
- Electrolysis consumes about twice as much electricity as Transform’s process.
- Methane steam reforming, a high-temperature, corrosive process, produces complex by-products, emits greenhouse gas, and is only cost-effective in very large installations.
- Partial oxidation emits greenhouse gas and generates mixed product streams with toxic impurities, all requiring substantial purification.
Three conventional processes generate acetylene: the carbide process, the partial combustion process, and the ethylene cracker by-product process. All have disadvantages when compared with Transform’s process:
- The carbide process is extremely energy-intensive, and deposits impurities from its starting materials (coal and lime) in the acetylene produced.
- The partial combustion process yields acetylene as a by-product of syngas production, requiring complex separation and purification. This process is only economical at large scale.
- The ethylene cracker process yields acetylene as a minor by-product during ethylene production, requiring multiple steps for separation. This process is confined to large scale cracking facilities.