Japan’s Kureha, Brazil’s Petrobras team up on offshore carbon capture


Japanese chemical manufacturer Kureha is collaborating with Brazilian state energy company Petrobras to develop carbon capture at offshore oil rigs.  Both hope to create a new way to capture the greenhouse gas and utilize it to make various valuable products, such as batteries and automotive parts. 

Kureha is set to begin making a new catalyst already this year at its research facility in Japan, team up with partner Kitami Institute of Technology.

Next year, the company plans to demonstrate a small-scale prototype of the device, which can later be tested at an oil rig operated by Petrobras off the coast of Brazil. 

Kureha intends to make its technology commercially available in the years leading up to 2030, which is in line with the company’s strategy of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. 

If trials are successful, the Brazilian oil giant will likely utilize Kureha’s solution to reduce CO2 emissions from its operations. 

The attraction of this new approach lies largely in the fact that it is an example of carbon capture and utilization (CCU), which not only does away with the task of permanently storing away the captured emissions, but also results in useful products. 

By separating carbon from the natural gas, which is a typical byproduct at oil rigs, it can be turned into a powder and transported easily to different facilities for further use. 

The powdered carbon can then be used to manufacture carbon nanotubes, which are utilized in various electronic devices, batteries and even car parts. 

Kureha’s CCU process will involve first extracting methane from the natural gas emitted at the offshore oil rigs. Methane is a gas much more potent than CO2 in its global warming capabilities. Then the company’s new catalyst comes into play to break down the methane in hydrogen and carbon.

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