New Carbon Capture System Strips Hydrogen out of LNG Before Combustion

Illustration courtesy Rotoboost

Published Nov 1, 2022 6:22 PM by The Maritime Executive

Norwegian startup Rotoboost has secured a preliminary qualification from ABS for a unique pre-combustion carbon capture system. The technology is based on thermocatalytic decomposition of methane (TCD), a proven industrial process used for the manufacture of carbon black, carbon nanomaterials and hydrogen. Rotoboost's system takes the technology shipboard to strip out the hydrogen found in (almost) every molecule of LNG marine fuel, leaving behind pure carbon. 

Rotoboost’s TCD system turns natural gas into hydrogen and solid carbon using a liquid catalyst. The hydrogen gas can be used to power fuel cells or blended into the fuel supply for combustion engines or gas-fired boilers. The firm says that the process can reduce overall carbon emissions by up to 100 percent.

“The system can be scaled up modularly step-by-step to meet progressing emission regulations while being cost effective for ship owners compared to green fuels or conventional carbon capture systems,” said Kaisa Nikulainen, Rotoboost CEO.

Using hydrogen as a blend-in fuel would reduce methane slip from LNG dual-fuel engines, and the carbon would be captured in a solid form before fuel injection - keeping it on the ship, not sending it up the stack as CO2. It provides carbon capture without a stack-mounted CO2 capture plant, CO2 liquefaction system or weight-intensive CO2 storage tanks. Molecule for molecule, pure carbon powder is lighter than liquefied CO2. 

“Decomposing methane into hydrogen and solid carbon is an intelligent way to implement a carbon capture and storage (CCS) solution onboard gas-fueled ships. This method reduces the storage need onboard, and the solid carbon can be used in the production of fuel cells and batteries and can be recycled again and again. This technology is one that promises to accelerate the energy transition,” said Georgios Plevrakis, ABS Vice President of Global Sustainability.