A series of tanks for hydrogen fuel storage.Bill Gates filling a pothole would be newsworthy enough. But it wasn’t the fact that Bill was filling the hole as much as what he was filling it with.

He was at Modern Hydrogen to check out a demo of the company’s new methane pyrolysis reactor. The device can process natural gas from fossil fuels, biogas and even manure, creating hydrogen and solid carbon as byproducts. The hydrogen can be used as a fuel, and the solid carbon can be used for many industrial applications.

This includes a new form of carbon-trapping asphalt, which Bill used to fill the parking lot’s pothole.

Imagine a reactor that could revolutionize hydrogen production, potentially replacing fossil fuels in energy production. This is the promise of Modern Hydrogen’s methane pyrolysis reactor. When the hydrogen it produces is burned, it releases water vapor instead of carbon, offering a potential win-win for the economy and the environment.

Modern Hydrogen’s journey began in 2015 as Modern Electron, a part of the innovation hub Intellectual Ventures. Recently, the company has expanded, moving to larger quarters in Woodinville. This new facility will enable the production of a larger version of their innovative reactor, marking a significant step in their growth and development.

Demo reactors are already in operation with Portland’s NW Natural, Oregon’s largest natural gas utility, and a customer in Miami who preferred not to be named publically.

While there are a number of hydrogen projects in the works in Washington and the rest of the U.S., Modern Hydrogen has taken a different approach. Hydrogen is costly to transport, so the company focused on creating a reactor that can produce and use hydrogen onsite. The reactor is even self-powered in optimal conditions. About a quarter of the hydrogen can be recycled back into the system to power the reactor to make more fuel.

The only question left was what to do with the carbon. Asphalt immediately came to mind since it didn’t require any additional processing. It can replace fossil-fuel-derived bitumen that is used to bind the sand and gravel used in asphalt, so the material sequesters the carbon, reduces the impact on the climate and saves money.

Read all about it in Geekwire…