Methane, the main component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas. It can escape from many industrial processes, and is generally vented, meaning Ventilation Air Methane (VAM) is contributing more than 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to the atmosphere every year. Because methane is often found in and around coal, we collaborated with Anglo Coal to develop technology for effectively abating this methane emission source.
Methane doesn't remain in the atmosphere for as long as carbon dioxide, but in the first 20 years after release, its warming effect is 86 times more powerful (according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Using our research and development facilities and experience in platinum group metal (pgm) catalysts, our extensive experimental programme identified and developed the catalyst formulation, durability and physical form. The resulting COMET™ technology catalytically oxidises methane quickly and easily, delivering a VAM conversion rate of more than 99% at low temperatures.
Available technologies to handle these emissions in the past were expensive, which prevented adoption. Both the catalyst and the process underwent significant development to ensure all the required objectives, to make this technology commercially attractive on a global scale, had been met. The technology also has a low operating cost and makes economic sense wherever carbon credit prices are favourable.
Making a difference to lives
Following the emergence of COMET™ technology, which is inherently safe and even able to export power to the grid, we are looking to increase our efforts. Reducing greenhouse gases per unit of production output is one of our main targets surrounding our sustainable business goals to 2025, as we continue to pursue and develop new technologies to create a cleaner and healthier world.