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Methane is synthesised directly from steam and carbon dioxide gas in a solid oxide electrolysis cell at elevated temperatures.


Technology

What is it?

Methane is synthesised directly from steam and carbon dioxide gas in a solid oxide electrolysis cell at elevated temperatures.

Why is it important?

Methane can be synthesised directly from water and carbon dioxide, without requiring a precursory hydrogen production step. This reduces system complexity and could yield energy savings.

Characteristics

  • Volumetric hydrogen density: Liquid state = ~100kg H2/m3. At standard temperature and pressure = 0.7946g/100L
  • Gravimetric hydrogen density: ~25% H2 by weight
  • Storage conditions: 90 to 120 bar

Benefits

  • Single reactor means reduced system complexity and lower associated capital costs
  • Allows integration of waste heat streams, reducing the required energy input
  • Makes use of carbon dioxide as a process input

Limitations

  • Balancing reactor temperature is a challenge. Methane product decomposition occurs at typical solid oxide cell operating temperature

RD&D priorities

  • Improve catalyst selectivity
  • Develop cell designs and electrolytes capable of operating at thermodynamically favourable conditions
  • Understand fundamental reaction mechanisms

Known active organisations

  • CSIRO

Other opportunities like this

  • Hydrogen is produced via solid oxide electrolysis, then fed into a second reactor in which it is combined with carbon dioxide to produced methanol.

  • Methanol is synthesised directly from steam and carbon dioxide gas in a solid oxide electrolysis cell at elevated temperatures.

  • Methanol is conventionally synthesised at large scale from synthesis gas (or syngas), a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide typically at an H₂/CO ratio of 1.8 ~ 2.2, derived through steam reforming of natural gas or steam gasification of coal.

Process group

Readiness Level

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