... NW Natural, Modern Electron Pilot Project to Create Clean Hydrogen

NW Natural, Modern Electron Partner on Pilot Project to Turn Methane into Clean Hydrogen

NW Natural, a 163-year-old gas utility based in Portland, Oregon, announced July 27 a partnership with Washington-based Modern Electron to create clean hydrogen directly from natural gas and blend it into its existing natural gas distribution network.

The innovative technology process known as “concurrent combustion methane pyrolysis” is designed to produce clean hydrogen and solid carbon using only natural gas and air as inputs – and does not require any electricity, water, or consumable catalyst.

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“This technology could provide an incredibly elegant and flexible way of producing clean hydrogen, and potentially at a very low cost whenever and wherever we need it on our system to help decarbonize,” said Kim Heiting, senior vice president of operations for NW Natural.

The technology, which is planned for pilot at NW Natural’s Central Portland facility, is one of many solutions the utility is pursuing in its efforts to achieve carbon neutrality for the energy it delivers to customers, as detailed in its Destination Zero report.

Hydrogen created by this clean pyrolysis process has the potential to be used for heating in industrial, commercial, and residential applications. Solid carbon resulting from the process could be turned into products such as asphalt, construction materials, automobile tires and soil amendments.

This project will be the first in a line of scheduled gas utility installations from Modern Electron, the suburban Seattle-based sustainable heat and power technology company.

“The fastest and most economical way to reduce CO2 emissions at a national scale is to effectively leverage existing infrastructure,” said Mothusi Pahl, vice president of business development and government affairs. “By decarbonizing natural gas at the point of use, our Modern Hydrogen products help businesses reduce their carbon footprints without the cost and complexity of changing their processes. We are all about decarbonization. And we are excited about our partnership with NW Natural.”

The pilot is expected to go live in early 2023.

Modern Electron is a sustainable heat and hydrogen company. The company’s gas decarbonization products are designed to generate cost-effective hydrogen from natural gas at the point of use without CO2 emissions.

NW Natural is a local distribution company that currently provides natural gas service to approximately 2.5 million people in more than 140 communities through more than 780,000 meters in Oregon and Southwest Washington with one of the most modern pipeline systems in the nation. The company has a longstanding commitment to safety, environmental stewardship (ESG Report).

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