Methanation of hydrogen: A valid carbon dioxide utilisation route?


Methanation is the conversion of hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2) to methane and water by the Sabatier reaction. It is essential in several chemical processes to remove residual CO2 that may poison catalysts.

Methanation has also been used to generate e-methane from green hydrogen. Is this a sustainable pathway to utilise CO2 and generate a clean energy vector?

Most of the hydrogen produced today is derived from methane as natural gas. Coal gasification and electrolysis are also used to generate hydrogen but to a lesser extent. Given this situation, what motivation can there be to convert the hydrogen back to methane? After all, each chemical conversion results in energy losses so the more changes that are made before the energy vector is used, the less energy can usefully be recovered.

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