Japanese chemicals company Kureha [4023:JP] and Brazilian state energy firm Petrobras will join forces to develop an innovative method for capturing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from offshore oil fields, as reported by Nikkei Asia on August 20. Kureha is currently working on the development of a novel catalyst to be integrated into a carbon capturing device. This device is set to be demonstrated next year and subsequently tested at an oil rig operated by Petrobras. The device’s mechanism involves the capture of natural gas, a common byproduct at oil rigs. The captured natural gas will then undergo a process involving activated carbon to extract methane. This methane will subsequently be broken down into hydrogen and carbon using the newly developed catalyst. Finally, the produced powdered carbon will be utilized to manufacture carbon nanotubes, which possess diverse applications in electronic devices, batteries, and automotive components.
This approach offers a fresh solution to the persistent issue of unabated methane emissions, which contribute to approximately one-third of global warming. Moreover, this method aligns with the concept of carbon capture and utilization, as it not only avoids the need for permanent storage of trapped emissions but also transforms them into valuable products. Kureha aims to commercialize this technology by the latter half of the 2020s. If successful, Petrobras may consider implementing the technology at its own facilities as part of its efforts to mitigate GHG emissions. In 2022, Petrobras injected a record 10.6 million tons of CO2 underground, accounting for a quarter of the total volume of carbon emissions injected by the global oil and gas sector throughout the same year.