Back to Top
Skip to main content
Modular Processing of Flare Gas for Carbon Nanoproducts
Project Number
Last Reviewed Dated

The goal of this project is to develop a low-cost and easily scalable natural gas (NG) decarbonization process to form nanoparticles and nanofibers (CNFs) to be used as a structural additive in concrete. The project will focus on the synthesis of the carbon nanoproducts through chemical vapor deposition, and on the impact of these fibers to the durability of the concrete. The process is conceptualized to be modular/mobile for manufacture on a skid with easy transport between gas wells and high turndown ratio to handle production rate changes.


University of Colorado – Boulder, CO 80309


Natural gas production in the United States has risen dramatically due to the “shale boom” and wide implementation of hydraulic fracturing. This increased production drove down prices of natural gas and, as a result, increased flare volumes significantly due to high transportation costs. Producers of oil are increasingly choosing to either flare or vent associated gas rather than sell it. Many wells are either too far from existing gas pipelines or only have access to pipelines already at takeaway capacity. Building pipeline infrastructure is often seen as the best solution to the gas flaring dilemma. However, if the decision were made to invest in pipelines, it would take years or even decades to complete construction. A profitable alternative to this waste of natural resources is needed. Natural gas decarbonization to value-added carbon nanoproducts, such as for cement additives, using low-value methane resources appeals to the oil and gas industry now as a means of utilizing this stranded resource. Because the fluidized bed reactor (FBR) units will be able to be removed and transported easily, the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process they use will be ideally suited for operation at a single well.


Domestically produced carbon nanoproducts from NG is an attractive solution to our nation’s economic, environmental, and energy concerns. This proposed research project focuses on NG decarbonization for flare gas reduction through conversion to carbon nanoproducts. The research and development in this project will result in a mobile unit which provides a high-quality carbon nanoproduct that addresses current challenges faced by flare gas processing in remote areas. The carbon nanoproducts provide value to the concrete industry for their ability to mitigate cracking and improve infrastructure lifetimes. Current costs for ultra-high-performance concrete make it a novelty product, this innovation in chemical engineering will enable durable concrete infrastructure and allow for the growth of carbon fiber reinforced products in additive manufacturing applications. Research developments in the processing approach will also enable larger-scale centralized gas decarbonization.

Accomplishments (most recent listed first)
  • Submitted project management plan.
  • Submitted technology maturation plan.
  • Preliminary techno-economic analysis completed, met goal of 25% Investor’s Rate of Return (IRR) with a carbon nanoproduct coated silica selling price of $2 - $4 per kg.
  • Completed the particle Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) FBR system modification
    • Minimum fluidization velocity determined for silica fume at temperatures of 140°C and 600°C
    • Reactor safely operated at 900°C
    • Fluidization enabled with proprietary aid.
  • The process and mechanical conceptual designs for module construction have been developed into a feasible system design. 
  • Process flow diagram, material and energy balances, major equipment sizing, mechanical general arrangement, and critical mechanical component details have all been completed. 
  • Cold flow designs to initiate testing have been completed. 
  • The ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) mix design including carbon products was optimized based on compressive strength and fluidity.
  • Met UHPC performance metrics using commercially available carbon nanofibers (CNFs).
  • The improvement of mechanical property and permeability was achieved by adding well dispersed CNFs. 
  • CVD has been carried out with a carbon content of > 25wt% achieved.
  • All major reactor components of the modular skid system have been constructed.
  • All instrumentation and electrical components for the modular skid system have been procured.
Current Status
  • Project is active and in progress on subtask 3.2
    • Incorporation of electronics and process instrumentation is underway
    • Skid system is at Forge Nano in the facility where it will be operated
    • Lab-scale experimentation with sintering, and CVD is ongoing
Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution


Performer Contribution


Contact Information

NETL –Kyle Clark ( or 304-285-5052) 
University of Colorado – Alan Weimer ( or 303-492-3759)
Forge Nano – Thornton Colorado
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association - Alexandria Virginia