Natural gas accounts for up to 28% of the total energy consumption. The main component of gas - methane - is one of the main types of fossil fuels and at the same time the cause of the widespread increase in the content of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which affects climate change.
Scientists at the IASS and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have developed a technology for extracting hydrogen from methane without releasing carbon dioxide. This process is called methane cracking.
The separation of the molecular components of hydrogen and carbon occurs at a temperature of 750 ° C without harmful emissions. To do this, the scientists used a special reactor for working with liquid metals 120 cm high made of quartz and stainless steel. Small methane bubbles are introduced into special tubes with molten tin. As they move upward, the carbon is separated and already at the surface turns into powder.
The powder is easily removed, so the reactor is not contaminated. In addition, the reactor itself is resistant to corrosion. According to one of the project participants, Professor Thomas Wetzel, it will take three more years of research for this technology to go into industrial production.