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Clariant & Technip Energies launch EARTH®: Pioneering technology to reduce the CO2 footprint of steam methane reforming

Akkim HyCO plant, Turkey (Source: Akkim)
  • EARTH recuperative reforming technology is a breakthrough in sustainable hydrogen production via steam methane reforming
  • The drop-in solution offers producers a cost-efficient way to save energy or to increase capacity with a decreased CO2 footprint
  • First commercial use has shown drastic reductions in CO2 emissions, fuel consumption, and pressure drop at the same yield

MUNICH, November 11, 2021 - Clariant’s focus on sustainability continues to bear fruit. The collaboration on Technip Energies’ innovative technology solutions and our catalysis expertise has resulted in EARTH: a breakthrough in steam methane reforming that reduces the CO2 footprint of the process up to 20%. Being the acronym of “enhanced annular reforming tube for hydrogen,” EARTH technology has demonstrated excellent performance in its first commercial application and has already been awarded two major new contracts.

Stefan Heuser, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Clariant Catalysts, explained the urgent need for the new technology, stating, “Producing hydrogen from hydrocarbons calls for reducing the CO2 footprint. With EARTH technology, we can make a huge difference by significantly reducing the CO2 footprint of the steam reformer. Moreover, EARTH will not only help producers meet their sustainability targets, but will also greatly improve the productivity and efficiency of their plants.”

Stan Knez, Chief Technology Officer at Technip Energies added, “We are very excited to present EARTH in collaboration with our catalyst partner Clariant. It is a key technology of our BlueH2 by T.EN® suite of solutions to achieve more sustainable hydrogen and syngas production the market has been seeking. We look forward to furthering outstanding performance results.”

The EARTH system is designed as a drop-in solution, thus it is well suited to both existing and new reformer tubes. It is already in operation in the Akkim hydrogen (HyCO) plant since January 2019 and shows excellent and stable performance. Results to date are outstanding: 20% less CO2 emissions and nearly 40% lower fossil fuel consumption– all at equal hydrogen and CO output.

Clariant and Technip Energies have also been awarded two further contracts for EARTH. In the first of them, Repsol has selected the technology for a 21,000 Nm3/h hydrogen plant in Cartagena, Spain. Scheduled to start up in February 2023, the plant will use multiple feed sources, including natural gas and H2 rich off-gases, as feedstock.

The second assignment is for an upgrade of an existing European hydrogen plant. At either site, the expected results are the same: considerable environmental and economic benefits.

EARTH technology, developed and patented by Technip Energies, comprises a concentric tubular assembly in the steam methane reformer with a structured catalyst loaded in the outer annular space. The setup ensures simultaneously heat recuperation and high conversion rates. The technology uses a newly designed structured catalyst, jointly developed by Clariant and Technip Energies, which offers, next to low pressure drop, maximum activity, and heat transfer. Due to its outstanding stability and mechanical robustness, the catalyst can deliver excellent performance despite the thermal and mechanical stress of the reforming process and the reduced volume of the EARTH catalyst bed.


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