ITQ researchers take part in the H2020 european project 112CO2 which aims to demonstrate a longstanding catalytic process for direct decomposition of methane into COx-free hydrogen

ITQ researchers take part in the 112CO2 project. ITQ researchers, in cooperation with other academic institutions, University of Porto (Portugal, Coordinator), EPFL (Switzerland), DLR (Germany), Pixel Voltaic (Portugal), Paul Wurth (Germany) and Quantis (Switzerland), take part in the H2020 FET Proactive research project 112CO2.

The major goal of the project is to develop solid catalysts and a new reactor prototype to demonstrate a long-term stable semi-continuous methane decomposition process for the production of carbon dioxide-free hydrogen in a cost-effective way.

Methane decomposition to hydrogen and elemental carbon provides an option to recover energy from methane – the major component in natural gas and biogas- avoiding the production of gaseous carbon dioxide emissions, that is “sequestering” the carbon residue in the form of solid carbon nanomaterials. However, deactivation of the catalyst as a result of the blockage of surface active centers by the accumulating carbon deposits, and the need to continuously remove the latter from the reactor to prevent clogging, remain as major hurdles for a long-term technical operation of the process in static or mobile applications.

In response to these challenges, the project aims to identify and synthesize solid catalysts which are not only highly active for the reaction of methane decomposition, but additionally retain high local hydrogenation activity at the nanoscale, thereby enabling an intermittent catalyst regeneration based on the selective hydrogenation of carbon deposits directly attached at the interface with the catalyst with minimal hydrogen consumption. Overall, this shall allow the semi-continuous release of elemental carbon (the reaction side-product) and the recovery of the catalytic activity.

In synergy to the developed catalysts, a membrane-based reactor concept is going to be optimized and applied to produce and selectively recover a high-purity hydrogen stream with overall energy densities comparable to polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC).

ITQ researchers contribute to the development of solid catalysts, at the core of the project’s objectives. Nanoscale control over size and composition of supported active metal centers, as well as their interface with the surface of porous oxide carriers, are exploited to unravel the effect of these nanoscale parameters on both methane decomposition activity as well as the chemical nature and hydrogenation reactivity of the carbon deposits, which are critical to achieve high productivity and regenerability. More information on the project as well as updates on developments and events at the project’s website:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement no. 952219.