Initiatives / Interventions
Energy of the Future / L’énergie du futur
Back to previous selection / Retour à la sélection précédente

California To Extract Hydrogen from Waste Using Plasma Torches

Printable version / Version imprimable

EIRNS—Washington, D.C.-based SGH2, a subsidiary of the Solena Group energy company, is ready to set up a $55 million facility in Lancaster, California and by 2022 will extract hydrogen from waste, using plasma torches, reports Global Construction Review (GCR). It will use mixed recycled paper as its feedstock with the hydrogen being sold to vehicle refueling stations in the state. All the electricity required by the plant, including the plasma torches, will be generated onsite by burning carbon monoxide — a byproduct of its proprietary process.

The key to SGH2’s process — which has been developed over a 20- year period — is the use of plasma torches to produce temperatures of up to 4,000°C, with the intense heat reducing all solids to gases, leaving not even ash behind. Oxygen-enriched air is injected into a catalyst-bed chamber heated by four plasma torches; when the solid waste feedstock is added, it immediately disintegrates into a mixture of gases, about 90% of which is a combination of hydrogen and carbon monoxide (CO) known as “syngas.” The remaining 10% of gases, including other elements such as chlorine and sulfur, are filtered out using gas scrubbers, and the H2 and CO are then separated. The CO is then burned to generate electricity for the process, producing carbon dioxide.

Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris commented: “This is game-changing technology. It not only solves our air quality and climate challenges by producing pollution-free hydrogen. It also solves our plastics and waste problems by turning them into green hydrogen, and does it cleaner and at costs far lower than any other green hydrogen producer,” GCR quoted him as saying. [RMA]