C-Zero is a hard-tech startup whose mission is to decarbonize natural gas. C-Zero’s technology, which was initially developed at the University of California Santa Barbara, uses high temperatures to split methane - the primary molecule in natural gas and renewable natural gas- into hydrogen and solid carbon in a process known as methane pyrolysis. C-Zero’s hydrogen can be used to decarbonize a wide range of industries including ammonia production, gasoline and diesel fuel, electric generation, process heat, and fuel cell vehicles.
Making an Impact
C-Zero’s team of scientists, engineers and chemical process development experts are dedicated to tackling the challenge of eliminating CO2 emissions from natural gas use. C-Zero’s team combines a deep understanding of thermocatalysis with decades of experience in building some of the world's largest chemical plants.
Realizing the vision
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In order to access the zero-emission energy in natural gas, C-Zero uses a process called methane pyrolysis which breaks methane down into hydrogen and solid carbon. This allows for 60% of the energy in natural gas to be used without generating any CO2 emissions - a process which has the potential to decarbonize more than 25% of the world’s energy. C-Zero’s approach to methane pyrolysis is to use high temperature thermocatalytic liquids to break the chemical bonds in hydrocarbons.
Although hydrogen accounts for 60% of the energy in natural gas, it comprises just 25% of the mass with the remainder being solid carbon. For this reason, C-Zero’s focus has been the generation of clean, separable carbon that can be easily removed from the reactor and packaged for sequestration.
A quarter of the world’s energy comes from natural gas; enabling its continued use without emitting carbon dioxide is critical to the rapid decarbonization we need to mitigate climate change. C-Zero is focused on making that a reality.
Research on methane pyrolysis
Professor Eric McFarland begins research on methane pyrolysis in his lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara
Eni Invests in C-Zero
Eni, along with Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and AP Ventures, invests in C-Zero.
First Pilot Plant
First large-scale demonstration of C-Zero’s technology producing hydrogen and solid carbon from natural gas.
First Commercial unit online
C-Zero’s first commercial unit will provide enough hydrogen for 25 million kilometers of zero emission heavy duty truck transport per year.
World Scale Plant Built
C-Zero’s first world scale plant will produce enough hydrogen to decarbonize the electricity consumption of 250,000 homes when used to power a combined cycle turbine