Concept: German energy company Graforce has developed a plasma electrolysis technology that can convert methane and wastewater into hydrogen. The process splits nitrogen and hydrocarbon compounds found in wastewater and other feedstocks, instead of splitting water molecules to make hydrogen. The company’s ‘Plasmalyzers’ separate nitrogen and carbon molecules into their atoms using a high-frequency voltage field generated from solar or wind energy.
Nature of Disruption: Graforce plasma electrolysis plants produce green hydrogen from methane, wastewater, liquid manure, or ammonia. In the wastewater plasmalysis process, pollutants like ammonium are separated into hydrogen and nitrogen. It then separates and stores gases in tanks using Graforce membrane technology. The hydrogen can then be transferred or utilized in hydrogen CHPs (combined heat and power), boilers, or SOFC (solid oxide fuel cell) fuel cells to generate CO2-free power and heat at sewage treatment plants. It produces clean water, which is returned to the water cycle, and nitrogen can be used as an industrial gas. The methane plasmalyzer uses a high-frequency voltage field generated from solar or wind energy to separate methane into its molecular components, namely hydrogen and carbon. The methane plasmalysis process removes CO2 from the environment when biomethane is used. Its by-product, solid carbon can be utilized as an industrial ingredient in asphalt, concrete, cement, and soil enhancement. Graforce claims that unlike water electrolysis, which requires 50kWh/kg hydrogen, methane electrolysis requires just 10kWh or 20kWh from wastewater to produce 1kg hydrogen.
Outlook: In the mobility industry, and decentralized energy sector, green hydrogen is expected to have a game-changing influence. It also contributes directly to the improvement of global climate objectives. Graforce plants claim to manufacture hydrogen from residual materials with much lower manufacturing costs and greater yields. Across several businesses, green hydrogen has the potential to make a significant contribution to attaining climate goals. At IFAT 2022, the world’s premier trade show for water, sewage, and waste management, Graforce plans to demonstrate its marketable methane and wastewater electrolysis facilities and refueling systems. The company boasts green hydrogen’s enormous commercial potential as well as a wide range of uses for CO2-free or even CO2-negative energy and fuel.