The test facility will be used to develop methanation technology, which is one of carbon recycling technologies
Inpex and its partners Hitachi Zosen and New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) have completed the construction of the methane synthesis test facility in Japan.
Located at the Koshijihara Plant of Inpex’s Nagaoka Field Office in Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture, the test facility is equipped to synthesize methane from CO2 and hydrogen.
The facility has been built as part of a project to develop effective CO2 utilisation technologies.
The organisations will use the test facility, which is scheduled to undergo a series of tests prior to commencing operating at end of fiscal 2019, to develop methanation technology, which is one of carbon recycling technologies.
Inpex said that the partners plan to produce methane through the synthesis of the CO2, which is generated at the Koshijihara Plant during the natural gas production process, and together with hydrogen produced through electrolysis of water.
Additionally, the parties plan to undertake a series of tests and continuous operation in order to assess and examine technical issues in order to optimise the methane synthesis process.
The issues will be evaluated by varying a range of parameters such as reaction temperature, reaction pressure and reaction loads.
The test facility features a Hitachi Zosen plate reactor
With a methane synthesis capacity of 8 Nm3 per hour, the test facility features a Hitachi Zosen plate reactor designed to achieve highly efficient heat recovery.
Inpex said in a statement: “Reducing CO2 emissions from thermal power generation and other processes is an important climate change countermeasure. There is also a need to develop technologies that effectively utilize CO2 as a resource.
“Reuse of CO2 as fuels, chemical feedstock, and other valuable materials is considered a useful way of efficient CO2 usage. Methane, the main component of natural gas (or town gas), holds great potential as an energy carrier, and because existing infrastructure for natural gas can be employed directly, it offers significant benefits.”