As Proton Power CEO Sam Weaver explains: “This process is carbon-negative, producing hydrogen gas or liquid fuels, plus a high temp biochar that is very stable in the ground. It’s a high PH (10-11) biochar with a surface area like an activated carbon.” Here’s the big takeaway: “Fundamentally, if we can get feedstock lower than $40/ton we can be lower than gas as the lowest cost producer of electricity.”
How? What’s the secret to high yields?
“It’s not typical pyrolysis, this is hydrous pyrolysis, where utilize some of the water to create the hydrogen. And, our system is dynamic, we are pulling the gas away, and we get a different equilibrium (than other developers).” How wet can the biomass be? “We can use 40 percent moisture for power, but for fuel we need it to be dry as possible, and in that case with get 15% hydrogen content with bone-dry biomass.”
Sam Weaver gave this illuminating overview to the company and its technology at ABLC 2017.