Denso’s Anjo plant is home to the company’s Electrification Innovation Center, where it develops and manufactures next-generation technologies for battery-powered cars. And a pilot facility there, housed in a small box-like outbuilding, is where the magic happens.
Inside, a complex tangle of pipes, tanks, dehydrators, generators and catalyzing equipment synthesizes methane by combining carbon dioxide with hydrogen.
The carbon dioxide is piped into the building from an aluminum smelting facility on the other side of the sprawling Anjo complex, where the emissions are captured.
The hydrogen is generated on-site by electrolyzing water with electricity.
That electricity is green and renewable, generated by solar panels at the factory. Today, the oxygen split from the hydrogen through electrolysis is released into the atmosphere. In the future, Denso plans to capture the oxygen, too, as another source of power combustion.
The synthesizing facility combines hydrogen and carbon dioxide through a catalyst reaction to create methane, a chemical compound consisting of one carbon and four hydrogen atoms.
The idea is to recoup the resulting methane and reuse it as a fuel source. Carbon given off through its combustion can, in theory, be recaptured and recirculated through the same process.