The H2-C Research Centre

Research activities in the field of hydrogen and carbon are coordinated at Montanuniversität Leoben in the Strategic Core Research Area SCoRe A+ Hydrogen and Carbon since 2020. One of the core research topics is methane pyrolysis, which enables the CO2-neutral production of hydrogen and high-purity carbon from methane. The promising research results led to the internal decision at the end of 2021 to continue researching methane pyrolysis on a larger laboratory scale in order to make a significant contribution to the future implementation of this technology at industrial scale. In addition to the pyrolysis of methane by means of two different processes, a hot gas filter for separating the solid carbon, a membrane system for product gas purification, a combustion chamber, and post-treatment facilities for solid carbon are further integral parts of the pilot research facility. The pilot plant will enable the conversion of up to 25 Nm³ of methane per hour, which to a scale-up by a factor of 20 to presently operated research facilities at the University of Leoben. The H2-C research centre will be operational by mid of 2024 and will enable interdisciplinary cooperation between multiple research groups of Montanuniversität Leoben. It will thus significantly contribute to the further development of methane pyrolysis technologies towards industrial implementation.

Furthermore, key research facilities for the characterisation and modification of carbon were already put into operation at different research units at Montanuniversität Leoben in 2022. This laid an important foundation for the application-oriented refinement of carbon from methane pyrolysis. In addition to the use of carbon in agriculture as a soil additive and as an additive in building materials or as a filler in plastics, research activities are also focussing on high-tech applications such as the storage of hydrogen in nanoporous carbon structures. The complete utilisation of the carbon from methane pyrolysis in a wide variety of applications plays a central role for the future implementation of methane pyrolysis on an industrial scale.