Torrent Energy (Plasma technology converts methane and waste oil into hydrogen for on site hydrogen production)

Torrent Energy, an American cleantech startup founded in 2020, develops high-temperature plasma pyrolysis reactors to thermally decompose methane and waste oil feedstocks into hydrogen gas and solid carbon black in a zero-emission process. Torrent Energy’s technology is applied in on-site hydrogen generation across various applications, from fueling stations to industrial processes.

Challenges: hydrogen fuel

Hydrogen (H₂), the most abundant element in the universe, is not just a fundamental building block of stars—it's also a vital ingredient in the synthesis of ammonia. Ammonia production is at the heart of creating a plethora of products that we rely on daily, from the fertilizers that nourish our crops to the plastics that are woven into the fabric of modern life.

Traditionally, the world has leaned heavily on steam methane reforming (SMR) to produce over 60 million tons of hydrogen annually. However, this method comes with a significant environmental cost. It's an energy-intensive process that contributes approximately 2% to the global carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions, releasing between 5 and 9 tons of CO₂ for every ton of hydrogen it generates.

Additionally, centralized industrial plants produce hydrogen, which must travel a great distance to reach its users. Hydrogen transportation involves either pressurizing the hydrogen gas above 300 pounds per square gage (psig) or cryogenically cooling the hydrogen gas to -253 ºC to create liquid hydrogen. According to the International Energy Agency, the cost of hydrogen transportation could be three times that of its production.

Torrent Energy Technology

Torrent Energy has developed energy-efficient, high-temperature plasma reactors that convert methane (CH₄) or waste oil into hydrogen and solid carbon. With Torrent Energy's reactor, the amount of energy required to produce a kilogram of hydrogen is less than 25 kWh. This is much less than that of current commercial electrolyzers, which are 50–55 kWh/kg H₂. Torrent Energy's modular reactors are ideally used for on-site hydrogen production, which avoids the cost of hydrogen transportation.

How Torrent Energy converts methane into hydrogen

The diagram below depicts Torrent Energy’s plasma reactor that converts methane (CH₄) into hydrogen.

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