MMT Converts Waste to Hydrogen Via Catalytic Extraction Processing

Founded in 1989, Molten Metal Technology, Inc. (MMT) began with an insight and a plan. The insight was that the world could no longer afford to throw away more than 60 billion tons of waste a year. The plan was to develop a new technology that would fundamentally change the economics of waste disposal by recycling waste into high-grade industrial products. The core technology that MMT developed to meet these objectives is Catalytic Extraction Processing (CEP), a process that uses molten metal as a medium to break down wastes and reconfigure them into new, raw materials (e.g., hydrogen) without producing harmful emissions.

In contrast to conventional thermal waste treatment technologies, CEP does not use temperature as the primary means to change the physical and chemical composition of the feed material. Instead, it relies on the catalytic and solvation properties of a molten metal bath. Feed materials are injected into the metal bath where dissociation of molecular entities to their respective elements and reaction of these dissolved elemental intermediates to form products occur. The solution chemistry and highly reducing (oxygen deficient) environment under which CEP operates inhibit the formation of undesirable oxidation by products such as NOx, SOx, dioxins, and furans, resulting in a high-quality gaseous product.

Production of high-quality hydrogen, a valuable chemical feedstock as well as a promising energy carrier, plays an important role in MMT’s business plan. MMT is currently designing a plant for Hoechst Celanese Chemical Group’s Bay City, Texas, manufacturing complex. The plant will convert a wide variety of hydrocarbon wastes—biosolid materials—into synthesis gas which Hoechst Celanese will use as a feedstock for its chemical manufacturing operations at that site. MMT also is designing a CEP plant for Celanese Mexicana, Mexico’s largest private sector chemical company in Veracruz, Mexico. The plant will recycle 50,000 tons per year of hazardous and nonhazardous manufacturing wastes, and produce approximately 3 million scf of hydrogen per day for Celanese Mexicana to use as a raw material in its chemical manufacturing process.

MMT currently is targeting niche, captive hydrogen markets where the CEP customers captively consume the hydrogen generated from the processing of their wastes. MMT believes that further development of the technology, together with successful integration of an economical hydrogen storage and distribution system, can establish CEP as a sustainable hydrogen production technology in both near- and long-term markets.

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