Anaheim, California-based Catalyx Nanotech is to install plants at landfills in California to convert the methane gas produced there into two useful materials: elemental graphitic carbon, which will then be transformed into nanomaterials, and hydrogen.
To do so, it has teamed up with Dudek, a California environmental and engineering consulting firm, and together the companies are seeking multiple landfills in Southern California on which to site their new production facilities.
Catalyx Nanotech employs a patented process that it plans to deploy at the landfill sites.
The process uses a catalyst to sequester the carbon from the landfill methane as high purity graphite, a product used in aerospace, automobiles, batteries and many other applications.
The graphite can then be converted to platelet graphite nanofibres by further processing.
Chris Trees, senior project manager at Dudek, said: ‘Catalyx Nanotech’s solution has the potential to offer cost and environmental benefits to all parties involved, particularly landfills and anaerobic digester plants that are struggling to generate sufficient revenues from electricity generators for the methane content in their biogas.
‘By using landfill methane at its source, and not requiring internal combustion engines or turbines to make beneficial use of the methane, you not only eliminate NOx emissions, but CO2 emissions as well.’
As an added benefit, by using landfill methane, Catalyx Nanotech expects to be able to offer inexpensive hydrogen near urban areas to help minimise the logistical hurdles for a hydrogen economy.
Catalyx Nanotech anticipates that production from the first plant will begin later this year.