Chart Industries Inc., a manufacturer of liquefaction and cryogenic equipment, has acquired 5% equity in Transform Materials, a US technology start-up company, for a US$ 25 million investment, H2 Bulletin reports.
Both companies also signed a binding commercial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the commercial collaboration and equipment supply arrangements for Chart to supply Transform projects.
Transform Materials is a chemical technology company using microwave plasma to convert methane in natural gas into hydrogen and acetylene without combustion. The company says that its technology does not form carbon dioxide.
David Soane, Chairman of Transform Materials, said, “An important benefit of our technology is that it repurposes the carbon that methane—a potent greenhouse gas—contains so that it doesn’t enter the atmosphere.”
Jill Evanko, Chart’s CEO and president, said, “Perhaps most impactful about Transform’s patented process technology is that there is no oxygen involved in the reaction, so therefore no carbon dioxide (“CO2”) is generated – the very definition of clean.”
By applying microwave-derived energy to methane, the Transform Materials reactor energises it to form a plasma, a state of matter in which the methane is converted into ions that can then recombine to form different chemicals.
Methane, by nature, is a highly stable molecule with strong bonds between its carbon atom and its four hydrogens. Microwave-generated plasma provides enough energy to rupture the carbon-hydrogen bonds in methane, allowing the carbons and hydrogen to rearrange themselves in the reactor to produce acetylene and hydrogen gas.
DSM Nutritional Products Ltd has already been licensed to use Transform technology. Transform also has a few potential commercial opportunities in North America and Europe and is expecting to start building around three plants within a year.
On 30th March, Transform Materials appointed Stuart Jara as CEO, whereas Dr David Soane, Transform’s founder and current CEO, transitions to the chairman of the board, where he will continue to foster the development of the company’s technology and intellectual property portfolio.