• Sino-Japanese collaboration to produce methane from hydrogen and carbon dioxide

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Hitachi Zosen has won a contract to build a pilot-scale plant to produce methane from carbon dioxide and hydrogen, the South China Morning Post and Nikkei Asia have reported. The project is part of a Sino-Japanese collaboration on carbon reduction which will comprise 14 projects, with the carbon reduction in this project apparently being in using captured carbon dioxide from other processes at the Yulin Economic and Technological Development Zone in Shaanxi Province. ‘Surplus’ hydrogen will also be used in the process, which will result in the creation of methane. Interestingly, despite the fact that burning methane would again create carbon dioxide emissions, the parties envisage this CO2 being recaptured to act as a feedstock in the methane production once more, therefore ‘recycling’ the CO2. This seems an energy inefficiency, and also would not allow newly-produced carbon dioxide from the Zone to be incorporated into an end product; on the face of it, ongoing carbon reduction would only be achieved if the methane was being used as a feedstock in chemicals production. However, it may provide a more practical way to use surplus hydrogen, rather than adapting equipment to fire hydrogen. After the pilot stage, the plant is expected to expand to produce 400 normal cubic metres of methane per hour, around 30% of the zone’s demand, making it the world’s largest plant of its type, larger than an existing Hitachi Zosen plant at German Audi e-gas plant in northern Germany.