Thiozen ($4 million to turn hydrogen sulfide byproducts into low-cost hydrogen gas)

Thiozen, an American cleantech company founded in 2020, develops an innovative process that converts hydrogen sulfide, a common waste stream in the energy sector, into hydrogen gas. This procedure not only generates inexpensive hydrogen but also reduces carbon emissions in comparison to conventional hydrogen sulfide treatment methods.

Challenges: hydrogen fuel

It's more important than ever to switch to eco-friendly energy sources. The switch to clean electricity sources, like renewables, and electrifying end uses will be two of the most important parts of this transition. However, gaseous fuels may be needed for some end uses, especially in heavy industry and shipping, because they are more reliable and have a higher energy density. Having a carbon-free chemical energy carrier may also help people get energy in the winter.

Hydrogen (H₂) has been widely proposed as a fuel that can meet these needs with minimal greenhouse gas emissions. Industries that are hard to decarbonize, like steel production, long-distance transportation, shipping, and aviation, can use hydrogen to do so. It can also be used as a chemical feedstock and to store renewable electricity during the off-season.

Today, more than 95% of hydrogen is produced using natural gas in steam methane reformers (SMRs). The carbon intensity of hydrogen production using SMRs without carbon capture is 10.4 tons of CO2 emitted for each ton of hydrogen produced.

Green hydrogen can be produced via electrolysis of water, pyrolysis of hydrocarbons, or solar heating using renewable energy sources such as nuclear, solar, and wind. The extraction of geologic hydrogen from the undersurface is also promising to produce low-cost green hydrogen.

We researched many green hydrogen startups to understand how their green hydrogen technologies work. You may become a member and check out our research on green hydrogen startups.

Thiozen Technology

Thiozen develops an innovative technology that turns hydrogen sulfide (H₂S) byproducts into valuable hydrogen gas. Hydrogen sulfide is a significant byproduct in various industries across the United States. It is created in large quantities as a byproduct of fuel desulfurization. It is also co-produced with natural gas. It is a colorless gas known for its pungent "rotten egg" odor at low concentrations, and it is extremely flammable and highly toxic. It needs to be converted into less toxic components.

The current technology for treating hydrogen sulfide is the Claus process, which creates elemental sulfur (S) according to the following overall chemical reaction:

H₂S + ½O₂ → S + H₂O.

Thiozen develops an innovative process that first combines water, hydrogen sulfide, and iodine (I₂) to form hydrogen iodide (HI). Then, gaseous hydrogen iodide is thermally decomposed into hydrogen. This process could produce hydrogen with about 1.2 kg of CO₂ per kg of H₂, which is less than 20% of the CO₂ emissions from conventional steam methane reforming methods.

How Thiozen turns hydrogen sulfide into hydrogen

The diagram below depicts the process of how Thiozen turns H₂S into hydrogen gas and sulfur dioxide (SO₂).

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