Pioneering technology uses light to decarbonise chemical production, helping manufacturers reduce both emissions and operational costs. Global technology and software company Emerson (NYSE: EMR) has been chosen by Syzygy Plasmonics to automate its innovative catalyst reactor technology that uses light instead of thermal energy, such as heat generated from burning fossil fuels, for chemical manufacturing. The all-electric production method is designed to replace fossil fuel-based combustion, helping reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions and operational costs while advancing global sustainability goals. Syzygy estimates its reactor systems could eliminate 1 gigaton of CO2 emissions by 2040.
The Syzygy catalyst reactor technology will advance decarbonization in a cost-effective way by electrifying carbon-intensive activities such as chemical manufacturing and reducing the carbon intensity of hydrogen, methanol and fuel production. Rather than rely on thermal energy, the Syzygy reactor harnesses the power of light to energise chemical reactions and reduce the carbon footprint in transportation fuels.
“We are excited to advance this opportunity with Emerson not only for its automation technologies and software but also its sustainability leadership and domain expertise in chemical engineering, electrification and hydrogen production,” said Syzygy Chief Executive Officer Trevor Best. “As we expand beyond traditional paradigms of reactor technology and launch a new way to electrify chemical manufacturing, we wanted a technology partner who can help us scale our technology efficiently, safely and reliably.”
“Emerson is excited to collaborate with Syzygy Plasmonics on such promising technology that could have a significant impact on industries that are some of the most challenging to decarbonise,” said Peter Zornio, chief technology officer at Emerson. “This aligns with Emerson’s culture of innovation that takes on our customers’ biggest challenges.”
Syzygy has developed, scaled and integrated its core technologies, incubated at Rice University, into a universal photocatalytic reactor platform, which includes the Rigel™ photoreactor and the proprietary photocatalyst that enables light-driven chemical reactions at unprecedented efficiency.
For the Syzygy modular reactors, Emerson will provide hardware, software and services, including its DeltaV™ distributed control system, industrial software for process simulation and data analytics; Rosemount instrumentation to measure pressure, temperature, level and flow; and Fisher™ valves to control pressure and improve safety.
Syzygy has received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation and investments from Aramco Ventures, BP, Chevron Technology Ventures, Equinor Ventures, EVOK Innovations, Goose Capital, Horizons Ventures, LOTTE Chemical, LOTTE Fine Chemical, Pan American Energy, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, The Engine and Toyota Ventures. Syzygy has three field trials planned for 2023. Leading global partners are driving strong market interest with trials located in North Carolina, California and South Korea.
Syzygy Plasmonics’ co-founders sign an agreement on May 10 selecting Emerson to automate the electrification of chemical production processes at the Emerson Sustainability Leadership Summit held at Rice University. The pioneering technology method uses light to decarbonize chemical production, helping manufacturers reduce both emissions and operational costs.
Bottom row left to right: Suman Khatiwada, Ph.D., Syzygy co-founder and chief technology officer; Trevor Best, Syzygy co-founder and chief executive officer; Mike Train, Emerson chief sustainability officer; and Peter Zornio, Emerson chief technology officer.
Top row left to right: Jim Cahill, Emerson chief blogger and head of social media; Arif Mustafa, Emerson vice president Gulf Coast region global sales; Mosta El-Haw, vice president of North America sales for Emerson’s process systems and solutions business; Liam Hurley, vice president and general manager of North America for Emerson’s process systems and solutions business; Denka Wangdi, Emerson director of growth and sustainability Gulf Coast; Ben Chilton, director of chemical and hybrid technologies for Emerson’s process systems and solutions business; LeEtta McDowell, industry sales analyst for Emerson’s process systems and solutions business; Sean Hosseini, Puffer-Sweiven manager for reliability solutions and systems sales; and Carlos Garza, Puffer-Sweiven senior vice president of reliability solutions and systems sales.