Combinations of carbon monoxide and hydrogen and carbon dioxide and hydrogen can be catalytically converted to methane (natural gas). Typically this is done to remove trace amounts of carbon oxides from hydrogen streams used in, for instance, ammonia production. However, it can also be done to purposely produce methane from the syngas production from a gasifier.
Catalytic methane production technology is available from a number of companies. Energy Quest’s plan is to team with one or more of these companies to optimize production of methane from gasification-produced synthesis gas. As discussed in the “Syngas to Fuel” and “Pystr Hydrogen” documents, Syngas has the technologies necessary to produce syngas from a wide variety of feedstocks. Depending on the characteristics of a particular feedstock it may be necessary to one or the other or a combination of these technologies to optimize the production of methane from the feedstock.
Energy Quest, in conjunction with BP, could produce these systems in mass quantities, which would significantly reduce their capital cost. The systems could be deployed on a large scale throughout Europe and or EU member states, thereby reducing the continent’s dependency on foreign sources of natural gas. This would be a very elegant solution, in that it could take low cost feed stocks such as lignite coal, waste streams and combinations thereof and produce from them high quality synthetic natural gas. This gas would be produced and consumed locally, thereby reducing the pipeline and transportation costs.
In addition to economically producing methane from waste streams such as wood waste, production of methane from biomass is the best way to capitalize on green house gas credit trading. This is because methane credit trading occurs at a many times multiple of carbon dioxide trading due to the fact that methane is a much worse green house gas than carbon dioxide.