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Washington Company Generating Buzz with Carbon Capture Technology

There is an overwhelming consensus among all stakeholders – utilities, labor, homeowners, businesses, and environmental advocates – that we need to transition our energy sector away from fossil fuels. The goal is clear; the strategies are not. There is no shortage of technologies that can lead us to a clean energy future, but key factors should be economic viability and reliability. We want to highlight one emerging technology that creates clean energy with little investment because it utilizes an existing fuel source and delivery system. 

The company developing the technology is Modern Electron, which removes carbon from natural gas before it’s burned for energy. How does it work? Modern Electron’s equipment is hooked up at an industrial or commercial building right at the point where natural gas is delivered to the property. The natural gas flows through the equipment and strips the carbon from the natural gas. The resulting carbon – a black, powdery substance – remains in the box and the clean gas is sent into the building to power heating units or other energy-intensive applications. 

There are four benefits for this technology. First, since natural gas is never burned for energy, there are no resulting emissions. Modern Electron’s equipment converts the natural gas to clean hydrogen by stripping out the carbon. Second, the source is abundant, affordable and reliable. Unlike electricity, which can only be used when it’s generated, natural gas can be purchased and held in tanks or underground storage. That makes it available at any time, even when other electricity sources may be unavailable. This is critical for businesses, which need consistent energy sources to keep operations running. Third, the fuel is delivered through a vast, existing pipeline infrastructure that is dedicated to gas. There is no need to invest in costly transmission systems that can take decades to permit and construct. Finally, the resulting carbon – that powdery substance we mentioned – can be sold to companies that manufacture car tires or make asphalt for roads. As long as the carbon isn’t burned, it’s a benign substance that can be used in a number of important applications.

Attaining our goal of a clean energy future will take an “all of the above” approach. Some have adopted the slogan “electrify everything,” which fails the test of economic viability and reliability. It’s simply not possible to generate and deliver enough electricity to meet current and future demand in the Pacific Northwest. Modern Electron provides a practical and innovative approach to advancing clean energy, while leveraging the integrated generation and delivery system we rely on everyday.

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