Natural gas pyrolysis: a bridge to a green hydrogen economy

This issue brief presents the case for natural gas pyrolysis as an alternative method of hydrogen production. Incumbent ‘grey’ hydrogen production by steam methane reformation (SMR) inherently produces process CO₂ emissions, as the carbon in natural gas is converted to CO₂. Pyrolysis of natural gas produces ‘turquoise’ hydrogen and solid carbon particles, with CO₂ emissions arising only from the heat generation. Thus, the pyrolysis process produces similarly priced hydrogen with significantly lower emissions than SMR. Apart from prices and emission comparisons, the study explores potential use cases of the carbon by-product, which can offset imports of certain commodities used in other industries. The study makes recommendations on how to scale up pyrolysis in India as a short- to medium-term solution until green hydrogen becomes more affordable.