Decarbonisation Technology May 2022 Issue

H Production cost

H Production cost vs. GHG intensity

Methane pyrolysis vs. competing pathways

H Production cost ($/kgH)


Electrolysis Green H



Renewable electricity @ $30/MWh


Electrolysis Canada Electricity Grid




SMR Grey H


Industrial electricity @ $70/MWh



SMR + CCS (90%) Blue H Methane pyrolysis Turquoise H





1.35 - 2.00

Methane pyrolysis

3.0 - 3.6



GHG Intensity (kgCO/kgH)

Methane pyrolysis is the lowest clean H pathway and can be exibly sited without requirement for water, renewable electricity or CCS infrastructure


20 30





80 90 100

Cost of electricity ($/MWh)

Figure 2 Economic comparison of different production pathways for hydrogen

Techno-economic analysis A generic techno-economic analysis was conducted to explore the relative economics and GHG emissions intensity of competing clean hydrogen pathways. A list of input assumptions is provided, using Canada as a reference case. Inputs for the methane pyrolysis pathway capture a range of values that represent the diverse technology platforms under development. The cost of hydrogen production includes all Capex and Opex considerations for a 300 TPD plant capacity. GHG emissions intensity is calculated to include process emissions, as well as all upstream emissions for natural gas and electricity. The results of the analysis (see Table 1 and Figure 2 ) can be summarised by the following key statements. • Conventional SMR is the lowest cost hydrogen production pathway, but it emits substantial GHGs • SMR and CCS can reduce GHG emissions GHG emissions reductions and low hydrogen production costs while enabling flexible deployment across the natural gas infrastructure Methane pyrolysis has the best potential to deliver significant

coils or indirect heat transfer from an external energy source. These platforms generally use a catalyst to reduce the reactor temperature, simplifying heat transfer and construction materials. However, catalyst degradation and carbon fouling tend to be challenges with these designs, and complex techniques are often proposed to remove carbon build-up and regenerate catalysts, adding cost. • Molten metal/salt : These platforms use high-temperature molten metals or salts to transfer energy to the pyrolysis bed. Process heat is delivered from electricity or external combustion. Catalysts are generally employed to reduce the pyrolysis temperature to match the molten material selected. These systems are elegant in principle and provide excellent heat transfer to the natural gas feedstock. However, scaling these platforms may be a challenge. • Combustion-based reactors: New approaches are under development that use a combustion-driven process. These approaches uniquely integrate combustion into the pyrolysis reactor design to maximise heat transfer, performance, and simplicity. These novel designs offer the advantages of being low cost, scalable, and catalyst-free. They also minimise electricity consumption and mitigate carbon fouling. However, by their nature, these designs rely on combustion for the driving energy and are therefore subject to an inherent GHG emission.


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