Clean Hydrogen from Methane Pyrolysis

A presentation by Pete Johnson, Private Equity Fund Leader at Azimuth Capital Management.
Methane pyrolysis for hydrogen, ie “Turqoise Hydrogen,” is a growing field where more and more commercial companies are being launched. The energy required to release hydrogen from methane or natural gas is approximately 7X less than the energy required to release hydrogen from water, but there are technical challenges for operating pyrolysis furnaces at scale, particularly around carbon management, coking, and carbon product control.

Most companies in the space are relatively early stage, but Monolith Materials was able to rapidly move into commercial operations by acquiring technology from Aker Solutions and fully commercializing it in Nebraska. The company is currently operating its first commercial scale production furnace, which is the largest CO2-free hydrogen production plant in the world by a factor of more than two. Opportunities exist now to rapidly deploy these furnaces to produce baseload hydrogen for large consumers eager to reduce their carbon footprints.

Interview

Question 1: What drives you?
Impacting climate change through building profitable businesses..

Question 2: Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
I am one of the world’s leading experts on turquoise hydrogen and will share the current state of the art in the industry..

Question 3: What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Methane pyrolysis for hydrogen production, hydrogen from waste, and other hydrogen production routes. Long term, i believe that hydrogen production and distribution, electrification of light duty transportation, and routes to baseload dispatchable net zero power will be the most critical areas to invest time and capital.

Question 4: What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
All significant impacts in reducing carbon in more challenging industries.

Question 5: What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
Capital availability, certainty in policy, permitting challenges to aid in distribution networks.

About Pete Johnson
Pete is a Partner with the Firm. Pete runs the Firm’s SF Bay Area office and focuses on investments in energy transition and sustainable assets. His responsibilities include driving investment hypotheses in the changing energy landscape, origination and selection of new investment opportunities, and guiding existing portfolio companies.

Prior to joining Azimuth, Pete was Co-Founder, President, and Chief Technology Officer of Monolith Materials, Inc., a company that secured, developed, and commercialized technology for producing industrial grade hydrogen and carbon materials from natural gas with significant environmental and economic advantages over incumbent methods. Monolith is now operating a full scale commercial facility in Nebraska that is the only large scale pyrolysis hydrogen plant in the world. Prior to forming Monolith, Pete led engineering and product development for AREVA Solar and spearheaded the manufacturing and construction of a 125 MW solar plant in Rajasthan, India after successfully merging the company Ausra with AREVA.

Pete received a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Prior to that he graduated Summa cum Laude with a Bachelors degree in Physics from the University of Utah. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of California and is an inventor on 12 patents. He serves as a director for Monolith Materials and as an advisor to the US Department of Energy.

Pete is an avid surfer, mountain biker, and ski mountaineer, but spends most of his time coaching youth soccer and enjoying an outdoor oriented family life in California.

About Azimuth Capital Management
Azimuth Capital Management is a uniquely positioned energy-focused, growth private equity fund manager with $1.6 billion of cumulative assets under management and an additional $1.8 billion of co-investment capital under management. The firm has developed a track record of investing across the energy landscape. Azimuth is currently focusing on energy transition opportunities with proven technology advantages and affirmative environmental impacts. Azimuth has offices in Calgary, Alberta and the San Francisco Bay Area, with operating partner presence in Denver and Houston. The Firm has broad investment and operational experience across the US, Canada and Europe.

Peter is speaker at the 2021 edition of the Clean Hydrogen Fashion Conference.

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