CARGEN™: A Novel Solution to Reduce Gas Industry’s Carbon Footprint in Qatar
The project has received interest from several local and international stakeholders
While Qatar is one of the world leaders in the production of natural gas, on the downside, it has one of the highest carbon footprints on a per-capita basis. Considering Qatar’s aims of developing a sustainable economy within a holistic environmental preservation framework, it is crucial that innovative technologies are developed which can enable Qatar to maximize the potential of its hydrocarbon industry with environmentally safe practices.
A team of researchers from Texas A&M University of Qatar has done just that by developing CARGEN™, a technology that overcomes Qatar’s worst environmental challenge – its CO2 emissions – and converts it into a billion-dollar opportunity.
Led by Dr. Nimir O. Elbashir, the research team started off by innovating ways to advance the process of dry reforming of methane (DRM) to tap into the potential of converting CO2 to value-added products and make the whole process environmentally sustainable. As a result of their efforts, the developed technology produces syngas, an important chemical precursor currently being used in the Pearl GTL and the ORYX GTL plants, and methanol and fuel additive industries in Qatar.
More importantly, CARGEN™ can successfully produce multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), a next-generation material with tremendous applications in the fields of health, electronics, construction, and aviation, to name a few. Impressively, all this is made possible while ensuring that the carbon footprint and operational costs of this technology are about 40% lower.
To understand the economic benefits of this project, one can look at the high current market prices of MWCNTs, which revolve around 500-1000 USD/kg. However, a preliminary techno-economic assessment has shown that CARGEN™ can reduce this price by at least 50 times due to its ability to use cheaply available CO2, and co-produce syngas that is compatible with downstream gas processing applications.
Owing to its impactful outcomes that can be implemented on a global level, CARGEN™ has already been published in four patent disclosures, two peer-reviewed journal publications, a book chapter, and has received extensive coverage in local and international media. Moreover, the team has been approached by several global corporations and research institutes expressing commercialization interest in the project.
The homegrown CARGEN™ technology directly addresses Qatar’s worst environmental challenge and could potentially produce millions of dollars in profitable income for Qatar, along with supporting the establishment of hundreds of new carbon-based material industries currently not existing in Qatar.