Nu:ionic Technologies entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) commercial agreement with Liberty Utilities (Gas New Brunswick) LP for the development of a 2.4 tpd (2,400 kg/d) H2 production system, utilizing Nu:ionic proprietary Microwave Catalytic Reformers (MCRs). Liberty will utilize the facility to pilot the blending of H2 into natural gas. This is the first commercial application of Nu:ionic’s onsite, on-demand H2 production technology using microwave energy to decarbonize natural gas with electrified reforming.
Nu:ionic’s highly efficient microwave reformers eliminate the need for fuel combustion, greatly reducing the amount of feedstock required to produce H2 and significantly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while also allowing for the efficient use of renewable electricity to reduce the carbon footprint of the natural gas grid.
Nu:ionic’s proprietary process technology will be used to generate low-carbon H2 at low cost, for blending into Liberty’s natural gas distribution system and clean power generation and fuel production for zero-emission fuel cell electric vehicles in the heavy duty and mass transportation sector. The MCR design includes a carbon capture system to produce readily transportable liquid carbon dioxide (CO2). Nu:ionic will also provide equipment commissioning, maintenance and remote monitoring support for the components.
The proposed facility is scheduled to be in operation the first half of 2025 and Liberty is negotiating with H2 and CO2 offtakers. When fully operational, this pilot scale H2 blending project is projected to have the GHG capture capacity equivalent to more than 400 hectares (1,000 acres) of forest, and depending on the use of the H2, could potentially result in significantly more GHG emission reductions.
“We are proud to collaborate with Liberty to deliver cleaner energy solutions to the New Brunswick communities they serve while also helping the Company take another step forward in achieving their sustainability goals,” said Jan Boshoff, CEO, Nu:ionic Technologies.
“Providing safe, reliable, cost-effective energy solutions – for current and future generations – is central to our purpose of sustaining energy and water for life,” said Gilles Volpé, Vice President and General Manager, Liberty New Brunswick. “We take pride in caring for our community and our planet and are exploring ways to further reduce our carbon footprint. We are excited to see this pilot's impact on our community and what we can accomplish through this new project.”
This agreement will enable both companies to collaborate and demonstrate the feasible use of low-carbon H2 to reduce greenhouse gases within New Brunswick. In parallel with this initiative, the companies are collaborating to obtain funding for project development from federal and provincial organizations.
MCR technology provides precise, immediate and highly efficient targeted heating which eliminates the need for fuel combustion and resulting emissions, and accommodates low-cost H2 carriers such as renewable methanol, biogas or natural gas to produce low-carbon H2. The CO2 byproduct is in liquid form for reuse or sequestration. Nu:ionic’s H2 production and carbon capture systems are fully modularized for easy deployment and quicker-to-market installation and production.
Conventional steam methane reforming, the most prevalent reforming approach to H2 production and responsible for significant CO2 emissions, requires large amounts of natural gas (methane) as feedstock and a fuel source, and cannot be cost-effectively deployed with carbon capture at distributed production capacities. Nu:ionic Technologies’ MCR process uses approximately 30% less natural gas as compared to conventional reformer methods, reducing the associated upstream emissions of natural gas exploration, production and transmission, eliminating the need for cost-prohibitive post-combustion carbon capture, and is significantly more compact compared to conventional equipment. Comparing the MCR process to electrolysis results in greater than three times CO2 reduction per unit of renewable electricity used.
Owner/operators benefit from lower capital investment, a simplified, modular and compact equipment design, increased energy efficiency and the ability to cost-effectively produce H2 with 90% lower emissions.