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Interview with Hycamite

Ahead of Carbon Black World 2024 we spoke to Davide Bergna, Senior Application Specialist at Hycamite TCD Technologies.

We are looking forward to your presentation at Carbon Black World 2024. You will be speaking about the production of low emissions carbon black from methane splitting. Can you give us a few more details about this process?

Methane thermal cracking is an endothermic process that involves the decomposition of methane into hydrogen and solid carbon. The key steps in methane thermal cracking are as follows:

  • Methane, the feedstock, is introduced into a reactor holding a specifically designed catalyst
  • The reactor is heated to a specific temperature, causing the methane to decompose into hydrogen and solid carbon
  • The hydrogen gas produced is later separated from the solid carbon, which then undergoes further processing. The specific type of carbon generated is intrinsically linked to the catalyst formulation, which forms the cornerstone of our technology.

A significant advantage of this process is its environmental impact. Unlike other methods, it does not directly result in CO2 emissions. Additionally, it is less energy-intensive compared to electrolysis, making it a more sustainable approach to produce both hydrogen and carbon.

How does methane pyrolysis contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional carbon black production methods?

In comparison to the widely adopted furnace black process and the acetylene black process, our method offers several distinct advantages. Our process uses methane as a feedstock material, which is not only readily available but can also be sourced from renewable sources like biomethane. This makes our process more sustainable and less dependent on non-renewable resources.

A lifecycle assessment (LCA) of Hycamite's products, conducted in collaboration with the German research company FfE (h, revealed that Hycamite's technology before refining treatments depending on the specific application can produce solid carbon product in the reactor with indirect emissions as low as 0.59 kgCO2/kg C. If biomethane is used as a feedstock and the produced carbon is permanently sorted, the technology can capture -2.75 kg CO2e /kg C.

One of the key by-products of our process is hydrogen. This versatile element can be used as an energy vector, powering a wide range of applications from fuel cells to industrial processes. The production of hydrogen as a by-product not only increases the efficiency of our process but also contributes to a circular economy by providing a valuable resource that can be used in other industries.

Our thermal black process is deigned to work at lower temperatures, thanks to our innovative catalyst design. This results in significant energy savings, reducing the overall environmental impact of our process. By running at lower temperatures, we also reduce the wear and tear on our equipment, potentially leading to lower maintenance costs and longer equipment lifetimes.

Finally, being based in Finland, we are also striving to reduce the dependency and streamline the supply chain with relative emissions, for this crucial raw material.

In summary, our process offers a more sustainable and efficient alternative to traditional carbon black production methods. By using readily available feedstock materials, producing valuable by-products, and working at lower temperatures, we deliver a high-quality product while minimizing our environmental footprint.

What are the potential applications and markets for the carbon black produced this way?

Our primary goal is to manufacture a carbon product that meets the current technical standards, thereby making it suitable for all applications where carbon black is traditionally used. We are not just aiming to replicate the performance of existing products, but to exceed them by using our advanced production techniques and innovative approach.

In addition to this, we offer a unique value proposition - the ability to customize our carbon materials in collaboration with the end user. This collaborative approach allows us to fine-tune the properties of our carbon to meet specific requirements, thereby creating a product that is not only technically superior but also more suited to the user's needs.

Moreover, we are deeply committed to environmental sustainability. By perfecting our production processes and working closely with our users, we aim to create a product that is not only technically superior but also has a lower environmental impact. Through these efforts, we hope to contribute to a more sustainable future while delivering high-quality, tailored solutions to our customers.

What are you most looking forward to at Carbon Black World 2024?

I expect the chance to highlight our cutting-edge technology. Our primary goal is to present our product and set up a network that is not only constructive but also profitable. We believe that through collaboration and shared expertise, we can foster an environment that encourages innovation and growth. By using our technology, we aim to create solutions that address key challenges, drive efficiency, and deliver significant value. We are committed to building strong, mutually beneficial relationships within this network, and we look forward to the possibilities that lie ahead.