New Thermal Decomposition Process Produces Hydrogen Fuel sans Carbon Dioxide

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Demonstrating Hydrogen Fuel via Thermal Decomposition of Methane
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Demonstrating Hydrogen Fuel via Thermal Decomposition of Methane

Hydrogen fuel on its own may be greenhouse-gas [GHG] free, but what’s the point of it all if the production methods produce GHGs like carbon dioxide [CO2]?

One way to produce hydrogen fuel is by steam reformation of natural gas, the main component of which is methane [CH4], itself a GHG about 20x more potent than CO2. Steam reformation converts CH4 into hydrogen [H2] and CO2. CO2 isn’t as potent a GHG as CH4, but the process could still be improved to remove CO2 from the equation. It doesn’t make any sense as a fuel otherwise.

Researchers in Germany at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology [KIT] have come up with another way to process CH4 with the final products being only H2 and carbon [C]. By bubbling CH4 through a column of molten metal at around 1,800°F [1,000°C], CH4 is completely catalyzed. Hydrogen gas escapes, leaving behind only traces of carbon. Producing hydrogen fuel by this new method could be closer to a completely GHG-free fuel, not counting the energy needed to fire up and maintain the molten metal.

“The liquid-metal bubble column reactor… is filled with liquid metal that is heated up to 1000°C. Fine methane bubbles enter the column through a porous filling at the bottom. These bubbles rise up to the surface. At such high temperatures, the ascending methane bubbles are increasingly decomposed into hydrogen and carbon,” explains Professor Thomas Wetzel.


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  • bgrnathan

    Dr. Larry Vardiman (scientist and physicist) of the Institue for Creation Research says:
    “One possible scenario may be found
    in a recent series of articles by Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Marsh,
    cosmic ray specialists from Denmark, who have shown an indirect
    connection between galactic cosmic ray (GCR) intensity and global
    temperature.7,8,9 They are studying the influence of the Sun on the flow
    of GCR to Earth. The Sun’s changing sunspot activity influences the
    magnetosphere surrounding the Earth permitting more GCR to strike the
    Earth during high periods of activity.
    When the Sun is active, the intensity of GCR striking the Earth is
    increased, causing more ionization in the atmosphere, creating more
    carbon-14, and possibly creating more cloud condensation nuclei (CCN).
    This increase in CCN, in turn, appears to create more low-level clouds
    which cool the Earth. When the Sun is quiet the GCR intensity striking
    the Earth is reduced, allowing the Earth to warm. Svensmark and Marsh
    have shown a striking statistical correlation between sunspot activity
    and global cooling and warming over the past 1000 years.
    The recent rise in global temperature may partially be due to
    current low solar activity supplemented by a recent increase in carbon
    dioxide concentration measured at Mauna Loa. The connection which still
    needs further study is the production of CCN and clouds by GCR.” 
    There is a good deal of science showing that global warming is not
    mad made. Yes, we still should have pollution controls, as we already
    do, but not to the extreme because it will unnecessarily hurt business.
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    Babu G. Ranganathan
    B.A. Bible/Biology

    • DougAlder

      bgrnathan Using the Institute for Creation Research as a source for any information completely destroys your credibility. There is NO credible science to support creationism while at the same time there is overwhelming evidence to support evolution from single cell creatures right up to us and every other living thing past and present. Nor is there any evidence to support the concept of gods and or goddesses – it magical thinking. The current round of global warming has been irrefutably proven to be man made.