Farming is dependent on ammonia and its constant production to make fertilizers. These fertilizers make it possible for billions of people to be fed, but here’s the downside: about 1% of total global greenhouse gas emissions come from producing fertilizers. This is where Monolith Materials comes in.
This startup company breaks apart natural gas to create carbon black (used in materials like rubber) which can be combined with nitrogen to create ammonia. The plant Monolith is creating will be able to eventually produce 275,000 tons of ammonia per year on top of 180,000 tons of carbon black. 100% of the plants’ energy will be from renewable energy and should be ready to go by next year.
Ron Hanson and Phillip Johnson, cofounders of Monolith Materials, met each other while working at energy firm AREVA. They had a common goal of finding a business plan that was not only environmentally transformative but financially sustainable.
In an article from Forbes, they talk about a process called methane pyrolysis which is when “natural gas is heated without being exposed to oxygen. The heat forces the molecules to split up into carbon on one hand and hydrogen gas on the other. The hydrogen can be sold as is or used for different purposes.”
The existing process of creating carbon black releases a lot of carbon dioxide into the environment. Monolith is aiming to manufacture carbon black in a sustainable way.
This sustainable approach has raised about $274 million to date, creating the capital for the company to develop its tech and get the first plant up and running in Nebraska.
Monolith is confident in its ability to make this process cleaner and better for the environment. What started as a black piece of paper with some ideas now has the potential to do great things for our world.
They are leading the way to energy transition!