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Monolith Materials

Article

Carbon intensity of fossil ammonia in a net-zero world

In discussions of carbon capture technology for low-carbon ammonia production, there are two informal rule-of-thumb numbers: 60% and 90%. We know we can capture, at very little additional cost, over 60% of the CO2 from a natural gas-based ammonia plant because this is the process gas (the byproduct of hydrogen production). Many ammonia plants already utilize this pure CO2 stream to produce urea or to sell as food grade CO2. The remaining CO2 emissions are in the much more dilute flue gas (the product of fuel combustion to power the process). For some decades we have assumed we could capture most of this but the lingering question has always been: how much of that flue gas is economically feasible to capture? A team of researchers at Imperial College London has just published a fascinating study into this question, entitled “Beyond 90% capture: Possible, but at what cost?” The paper quantifies the tipping point — ranging from 90% to 99%, depending on flow rates and concentration — beyond which it is easier to capture CO2 directly from the air than it is to capture more flue gas emissions.

Paper

Low Carbon Ammonia via Methane Pyrolysis

Splitting methane into hydrogen and carbon (methane pyrolysis) allows for the utilization of one of the largest energy reserves on our planet (natural gas) without emitting carbon dioxide, since only the hydrogen is oxidized to release energy, while the carbon is permanently sequesters as a solid product often replacing products that have their own GHG emissions. If you split biogenic methane (that produced from the anaerobic digestion of biomass), carbon dioxide is pulled out of the atmosphere resulting in a carbon negative process for making hydrogen (and in turn ammonia), and presenting a long term opportunity to begin drawing CO2…

Article

Low-carbon ammonia in Nebraska and the Netherlands

Last week, two new low-carbon ammonia production projects were announced, both of them large-scale and largely CO2-free. Monolith Materials announced a 275,000 ton per year “clean ammonia” plant in Nebraska, in the heart of the US cornbelt. The plant will begin construction in 2021, expanding the existing demonstration plant, using Monolith’s methane pyrolysis process powered by 100% renewable electricity. Ørsted and Yara announced their plan to produce 75,000 tons per year of “green ammonia” at Yara’s existing Sluiskil plant in the Netherlands. They intend to install a 100 MW electrolyzer, using Ørsted’s offshore wind energy, with a final investment decision expected in 2021-2022, and production beginning in 2024-2025.

Article

Methane splitting and turquoise ammonia

Most hydrogen today is produced from fossil fuels – steam methane reforming of natural gas, partial oxidation of coal or oil residues – and entails large CO2 emissions. This fossil hydrogen can be called “grey hydrogen”. Or sometimes, brown. The same color scheme applies to the ammonia produced from it, so we have “grey ammonia.” Or brown ammonia, your call. The exact carbon footprint depends on the fuel used and the efficiency of the facility, so you could easily identify many shades of grey. There is, however, another option to deliver clean hydrogen – and now another colour: turquoise, or green-blue (or blue-green). This is the colour of hydrogen from methane pyrolysis, a process that directly splits methane into hydrogen and solid carbon. Instead of being a waste, like CO2, that must be disposed of safely, solid carbon is potentially a resource.

Paper

Monolith Materials: Ammonia Production from Natural Gas Using Pyrolysis

Monolith Materials was founded in 2013 with the vision of converting abundant natural gas resources into valuable products for customers around the world. We have developed a novel electric process for converting natural gas into carbon, in the form of carbon black, and hydrogen, at high yield. Our first commercial unit (15,000 T/y of carbon and 5,000 T/y of hydrogen) is fully financed and under construction. It will come online in 2019. We plan on expanding this facility by adding as many as 30 additional units over the coming years. We are actively pursuing opportunities to increase the value of…

Article

Carbon intensity of fossil ammonia in a net-zero world

In discussions of carbon capture technology for low-carbon ammonia production, there are two informal rule-of-thumb numbers: 60% and 90%. We know we can capture, at very little additional cost, over 60% of the CO2 from a natural gas-based ammonia plant because this is the process gas (the byproduct of hydrogen production). Many ammonia plants already utilize this pure CO2 stream to produce urea or to sell as food grade CO2. The remaining CO2 emissions are in the much more dilute flue gas (the product of fuel combustion to power the process). For some decades we have assumed we could capture most of this but the lingering question has always been: how much of that flue gas is economically feasible to capture? A team of researchers at Imperial College London has just published a fascinating study into this question, entitled “Beyond 90% capture: Possible, but at what cost?” The paper quantifies the tipping point — ranging from 90% to 99%, depending on flow rates and concentration — beyond which it is easier to capture CO2 directly from the air than it is to capture more flue gas emissions.

Article

Low-carbon ammonia in Nebraska and the Netherlands

Last week, two new low-carbon ammonia production projects were announced, both of them large-scale and largely CO2-free. Monolith Materials announced a 275,000 ton per year “clean ammonia” plant in Nebraska, in the heart of the US cornbelt. The plant will begin construction in 2021, expanding the existing demonstration plant, using Monolith’s methane pyrolysis process powered by 100% renewable electricity. Ørsted and Yara announced their plan to produce 75,000 tons per year of “green ammonia” at Yara’s existing Sluiskil plant in the Netherlands. They intend to install a 100 MW electrolyzer, using Ørsted’s offshore wind energy, with a final investment decision expected in 2021-2022, and production beginning in 2024-2025.

Article

Methane splitting and turquoise ammonia

Most hydrogen today is produced from fossil fuels – steam methane reforming of natural gas, partial oxidation of coal or oil residues – and entails large CO2 emissions. This fossil hydrogen can be called “grey hydrogen”. Or sometimes, brown. The same color scheme applies to the ammonia produced from it, so we have “grey ammonia.” Or brown ammonia, your call. The exact carbon footprint depends on the fuel used and the efficiency of the facility, so you could easily identify many shades of grey. There is, however, another option to deliver clean hydrogen – and now another colour: turquoise, or green-blue (or blue-green). This is the colour of hydrogen from methane pyrolysis, a process that directly splits methane into hydrogen and solid carbon. Instead of being a waste, like CO2, that must be disposed of safely, solid carbon is potentially a resource.

Paper

Low Carbon Ammonia via Methane Pyrolysis

Splitting methane into hydrogen and carbon (methane pyrolysis) allows for the utilization of one of the largest energy reserves on our planet (natural gas) without emitting carbon dioxide, since only the hydrogen is oxidized to release energy, while the carbon is permanently sequesters as a solid product often replacing products that have their own GHG emissions. If you split biogenic methane (that produced from the anaerobic digestion of biomass), carbon dioxide is pulled out of the atmosphere resulting in a carbon negative process for making hydrogen (and in turn ammonia), and presenting a long term opportunity to begin drawing CO2…

Paper

Monolith Materials: Ammonia Production from Natural Gas Using Pyrolysis

Monolith Materials was founded in 2013 with the vision of converting abundant natural gas resources into valuable products for customers around the world. We have developed a novel electric process for converting natural gas into carbon, in the form of carbon black, and hydrogen, at high yield. Our first commercial unit (15,000 T/y of carbon and 5,000 T/y of hydrogen) is fully financed and under construction. It will come online in 2019. We plan on expanding this facility by adding as many as 30 additional units over the coming years. We are actively pursuing opportunities to increase the value of…