Chemical Reactor Uses Microwaves to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Feb. 16, 2024
Reactor technology could slash energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

West Virginia University engineers have received $3 million in U.S. Department of Energy funding for researching a novel chemical reactor system utilizing microwaves to reduce industrial heat and carbon emissions. This technology aims to produce ethylene and ammonia simultaneously, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 85%. 

Lead researcher John Hu is the Statler Chair in Engineering for Natural Gas Utilization at the WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, a professor of chemical engineering and director of the WVU Center for Innovation in Gas Research and Utilization. Hu emphasized that, while the study focuses on ethylene and ammonia production, the technology can be broadly applied to many other industrial processes that need heat to work.

“Using microwaves allows us to control the heat delivery very precisely, so that we can quickly switch between heating the reactor to produce methane and cooling it to synthesize ammonia,” Hu said in a Feb. 15 press release. “By using the hydrogen from methane coupling, we remove the need for a hydrogen production step in ammonia synthesis and make the process much more friendly to the environment.”

Sponsored Recommendations

Heat Recovery: Turning Air Compressors into an Energy Source

More than just providing plant air, they're also a useful source of heat, energy savings, and sustainable operations.

Controls for Industrial Compressed Air Systems

Master controllers leverage the advantages of each type of compressor control and take air system operations and efficiency to new heights.

Discover Your Savings Potential with the Kaeser Toolbox

Discover your compressed air station savings potential today with our toolbox full of calculators that will help you determine how you can optimize your system!

The Art of Dryer Sizing

Read how to size compressed air dryers with these tips and simple calculations and correction factors from air system specialists.