New kind of catalyst for improved CO2 methanation

The picture shows a schematic view of a methane molecule

The NRP 70 joint project "Renewable fuels for electricity production" has managed to considerably optimise the production process for pure methane.

​Industrial-scale CO2 methanation is a complex process. The biggest challenge for achieving industrial application is optimising the efficiency, cost effectiveness and sustainability of the catalyst at the same time in order to enable long-term production of 100% pure methane (CH4) without any adverse by-products.

The NRP 70 joint project "Renewable fuels for electricity production” has now managed – on the basis of a newly developed sorption catalyst and additional simple treatment under air – to achieve a three times longer service life for the catalyst. “This means the project’s targeted conversion of CO2 with regenerative hydrogen (H2) into the desired methane (CH4) can be carried out more effectively and more economically,” explains Dr. Andre Heel, Project Manager and Head of Laboratory Process Technology at the IMPE at the ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, summarising the advantages of the optimised process.

The following film sequence shows a further analysis of the sorption catalyst to gain a better understanding of the processes in the operation. An imaging technique with neutrons gives an insight into the catalyst reactor during the reaction. The neutrons can make water visible even through a metallic layer because the neutron beam is changed very little by the metal but can then be strongly refracted by hydrogen atoms.

This analysis was carried out in close cooperation with Dr. Andreas Borgschulte (EMPA, also part of the NRP 70 project "Catalytic methanation of industrially-derived CO2").

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