So the team has developed a catalyst it says could be placed in the combustion chamber of a methane-burning power plant which would allow it to produce hydrogen with little modification.
The researchers tested the cerium oxide and nickel catalyst using a mixture of methane and oxygen at 400 to 550 ?C to simulate conditions in a power station.
Initially the methane burns up all of the oxygen present to generate heat. This allows the catalyst to break down the remaining methane into solid carbon and hydrogen gas. Two molecules of methane, containing eight hydrogen atoms between them, will yield roughly one molecule of H2 – this gives an effective hydrogen yield of 25 to 30 per cent from the chemical process.
In a power plant, some of the heat produced could also be used to drive power generation in the usual way, claiming back lost energy and increase overall efficiency.
So, you could package the methane and use it as fuel...or with this new process you could extract hydrogen from it and lose >70% of the energy, some of which could be recovered as waste heat. Sounds like a real winner...NOT!