C-Zero was featured in a recent Forbes article discussing the benefits of turquoise hydrogen and its role in synthetic graphite production.
"While much of the limelight is on blue or green hydrogen produced from natural gas and renewable energy respectively, about a dozen energy and technology companies are quietly working to produce turquoise hydrogen whose byproduct could be critical to the electric vehicle market.
Turquoise, like blue hydrogen, relies on natural gas, but it uses a production pathway called methane pyrolysis.
“What’s unique with our approach is not using large quantities of electricity, and we produce a little bit of water,” said Zach Jones, C-Zero’s chief executive and cofounder.
Blue and green hydrogen require water for production and green requires more energy to split the molecule. “Thermodynamically it takes seven and a half times less energy to pull hydrogen off of carbon than it does to pull hydrogen off of oxygen,” Jones said. “We consume some of the product hydrogen we produce to drive the reaction forward so the only energy source you need to deploy our technology is natural gas, either a pipeline or a tanker full of LNG off the coast of Korea or Japan.”
C-Zero is focused on Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, but also higher latitudes in North America and Europe. “If it doesn’t work in Asia, it isn’t going to work anywhere. They don’t have anywhere to sequester CO2. The renewable capacity factor is not very good, and they have a strong societal will to pay a premium to decarbonize. That’s going to be the initial market for this,” Jones said.
Since launching in 2018, C-Zero has attracted investment from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Eni Next, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, AP Ventures, SK Gas, Engie New Ventures, and Trafigura. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office awarded C-Zero $1 million in January 2020.
While the company’s pilot will be fully commissioned by the first quarter of 2024 and run through the year, Jones said he should also know where the company plans to put its first commercial pyrolysis facility by the second quarter of 2024. He said he’d like to sell the commercial operation to “any entity that is involved in the natural gas value chain, producer, distributor, consumer with a big balance sheet and a history of developing chemical processes, a company who can help with engineering and scaleup.”
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