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NETL researchers achieve unprecedented experimental scale-up of CMP catalyst for hydrogen production

National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) researchers recently scaled up hydrogen production tests by increasing the catalyst load from 500 grams to 4.5 kilograms, a significant step toward advancing hydrogen production technology.

The patented NETL catalyst helps to enable a process called catalytic methane pyrolysis (CMP), which breaks down methane into hydrogen and solid carbon without creating carbon dioxide emissions.

DOE is seeking to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1/kg in one decade via its Hydrogen Shot initiative. Such a reduction could unlock new markets for hydrogen, including steel manufacturing, clean ammonia, energy storage and heavy-duty trucks.

We achieved greater than 80% methane-to-hydrogen conversion for 30 hours in the test. And this was after using 10 times more catalyst than in the previous test, which shows that the material can be scaled up and work at the sub-pilot scale.

—NETL’s Ranjani Siriwardane

The NETL catalyst outperformed other catalysts reported in the literature, and the scale of the test is also unprecedented. The CMP process provides several technical advantages over processes using other catalysts, including using a more effective and lower-cost catalyst. Additionally, CMP is a one-step process to produce both hydrogen, which is a clean-burning fuel, and high-value solid carbon products such as graphitic nano carbons and nano fibers, which can be used to create many high-tech and clean energy technologies and help offset hydrogen production costs.


  • Ranjani V Siriwardane, Jarrett Riley, Christopher Atallah, James A Poston, Investigation of Carbon Products Produced by Catalytic Methane and Ethane Pyrolysis, Microscopy and Microanalysis, Volume 29, Issue Supplement_1, 1 August 2023, Page 1345, doi: 10.1093/micmic/ozad067.689


Roger Brown

There was an earlier discussion (https://www.greencarcongress.com/2024/01/20240119-hycamite.html?cid=6a00d8341c4fbe53ef02c8d3a92262200d#comment-6a00d8341c4fbe53ef02c8d3a92262200d) of similar technology from the company Hycamite. As was mentioned in that discussion the catalyst and the membrane has to be really inexpensive, since there will not be market for all of the carbon produced if this technology is scaled up to the point where it can make a significant impact on CO2 emissions.

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