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Keywords:

  • methane dissociation;
  • CO2-free hydrogen production;
  • carbon byproduct

Thermocatalytic dissociation of methane is a promising route to produce CO2-free hydrogen and pure carbon. In this article, comparisons are made between thermocatalytic dissociation and steam reforming of methane, which currently is the dominant process for producing hydrogen. Use of catalysts offers great potential to achieve thermal dissociation of methane at moderate temperatures. Development and use of both metal-based and carbon-based catalysts are summarized, and three types of reactors used for thermocatalytic dissociation of methane are described. Significant CO2 emissions result from production of process heat and catalystregeneration. However, these emissions can be greatly reduced by use of new, robust, and high-performance catalysts combined with innovative reactors and processes. Economic assessments are presented to confirm the feasibility of thermocatalytic dissociation technology for large-scale production of hydrogen. Such an approach offers a possible route to a fossil-based “H2-C” infrastructure, whereby bothhydrogen and carbon are used in high-value applications. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 33: 213–219, 2014