NW Natural, Modern Hydrogen Unveils Methane Pyrolysis Project

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The project at NW Natural’s Central Portland facility uses methane pyrolysis technology to generate clean hydrogen and capture solid carbon.

NW Natural and Modern Hydrogen launched a new project for hydrogen production and carbon capture. Using Modern Hydrogen’s equipment—installed at NW Natural’s Central Resource Center in Portland, OR—the methane pyrolysis process captured solid carbon and collected and integrated it into Modern Hydrogen’s asphalt products, which are then used for paving and road repair projects. Hydrogen is generated onsite and blended with natural gas, then delivered through the current energy infrastructure.

“We are proud to stand at the forefront of this transformative journey, pushing the boundaries of what's possible in energy production and environmental stewardship,” said Modern Hydrogen Co-Founder and CEO Tony Pan. “Together, we are not just witnessing, but actively participating in history with the launch of innovative systems that advance hydrogen production, leverage existing infrastructure for a cleaner future, capture and repurpose carbon, and significantly reduce the carbon footprint of gas utilities.”

As a result of this partnership, Modern Hydrogen established the first utility-distributed pyrolysis system, the first pipeline injection of pyrolytic hydrogen, and the first solid carbon-capture project for both companies. NW Natural, in addition to this three-year pilot project, is exploring potential hydrogen applications through testing at its Sherwood Operations and Training facility. Here, the company evaluates the safety and performance of 5-20% hydrogen blends in natural gas systems and equipment.


“Over the years we have held to our core values of safety and service while embracing new technologies and better ways of doing things,” said NW Natural CEO David Anderson. “Today we’re looking to renewable natural gas, clean hydrogen, carbon capture and other ways to decarbonize our system. People are eager for solutions that can be put into action today, and we’re proud to play our part.”

In October 2023, NW Natural and Hycamite TCD Technologies collaborated to sign a letter of intent to apply Hycamite’s methane pyrolysis technology to the production and transportation of hydrogen within the Oregon energy market. Natural gas customers will be able to develop facilities, within NW Natural’s service region, to use Hycamite’s methane-splitting technology for the production of low-carbon turquoise hydrogen. The production of low-carbon hydrogen will supplement or begin to replace the use of natural gas.

"We want to help a variety of industrial customers to decarbonize their production cost-efficiently, and we are ready to scale up the production in North America swiftly," said Hycamite CEO Laura Rahikka. "We look forward to working with NW Natural to develop opportunities with the utility and its largest natural gas customers."

The pyrolysis technology being deployed by Hycamite decomposes large volumes of methane into hydrogen and carbon—the atomic components of methane—and eliminates the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The clean hydrogen derived from this process can be used as industrial raw material or fuel. According to Hycamite, its technology requires only 13% of the energy needed to produce hydrogen through electrolysis. Methane feedstocks from geologic, biomethane, or synthetic natural gas allow production scale to increase at a quicker pace.