"WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2021 — Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society (ACS), unveiled its annual list of 10 chemistry start-ups to watch. The companies were chosen from among hundreds of firms suggested by readers and identified by C&EN reporters who scoured the chemical, biotech and materials world for young companies with great promise.
C-Zero: Producing hydrogen without leaving a carbon footprint
California’s C-Zero is betting that turquoise hydrogen is going to be part of the mix. This relatively new variety of hydrogen, somewhere between blue and green, is made from methane. But rather than reform methane, which generates CO2, companies use pyrolysis to decompose it without oxygen, creating elemental carbon that can be sold or buried underground. C-Zero and other backers of turquoise hydrogen argue that methane is a cheap and abundant fuel and that their technology offers the best way to keep using it for as long as necessary.
C-Zero is an outgrowth of what Eric McFarland, a chemical engineering professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, calls his long interest in low-cost hydrogen production. In 2016, with the help of a US Department of Energy grant, McFarland’s UCSB lab started exploring high-temperature liquids that could catalyze methane pyrolysis. Traditional solid catalysts can also do it, but liquids are good at getting heat into a reactor and getting carbon out....."
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