Microwave Plasma Catalysis Pyrolyzer for Low-Carbon Hydrogen Production
Profile last edited on: 12/22/2021

Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Principal Investigator
Leslie Bromberg
Activity Indicator

Company Information

Maat Energy Company

1558 Massachusetts Avenue Unit 22
Cambridge, MA 02138
   (503) 213-3114
Multiple Locations:   
Congressional District:   05
County:   Middlesex

Phase I

Phase I year
Phase I Amount
The goal of MAAT Energy is the production of low-carbon hydrogen at a cost of < $2.0 / kg H2. Currently, the primary method (> 95%) employed for hydrogen production commercially is steam-methane reforming (SMR). While, this process can produce hydrogen at a cost of < $2.0 / kg H2 it has a high carbon intensity. On the other hand, while electrolysis is an environmentally friendly alternative for hydrogen production, the cost of hydrogen generation using electrolysis is typically > $4.0 / kg H2. We propose the development of Microwave Decomposition of Methane (MDM). The MDM process is a novel low temperature plasma catalysis system for the pyrolysis of methane into hydrogen and carbon black, as a value-added byproduct (CH4 ? 2 H2 + C(s)). The electricity required per mol of hydrogen in the MDM process is ΒΌ that of the electricity required for electrolysis. In addition, the solid carbon produced by the MDM can be used a valuable byproduct. Maat Energy has been developing microwave-based plasmas for other applications. We will leverage that expertise in order to provide operational advantages of the MDM process. In Phase I we will develop explore the use of catalysts that can be used to adjust the plasma temperature, and configurations that eliminate the need for dielectrics in close proximity to the plasma, in order to improve the reliability of the system. If successful, the market is large, as the US consumes about 10 million tons per year of hydrogen, mostly for refinery and ammonia manufacturing applications. At $2/kg, the potential market is around 20 B$/year. In addition, other applications, such as transportation, can substantially increase the hydrogen market size.

Phase II

Phase II year
Phase II Amount