LEXINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 14, 2003--The days of hydrogen-powered vehicles driving down Main Street are one step closer with the U.S. Department of Energy's decision to award a contract for Safe Hydrogen's unique hydrogen storage technology.
President Bush made hydrogen a research priority in this year's State of the Union Address. Safe Hydrogen's unique chemical-hydride slurry technology addresses the critical safety, storage and infrastructure challenges of using hydrogen powered vehicles and has been chosen to be part of the "National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap," according to Sig Tullmann, President and CEO of Safe Hydrogen, LLC. The Department of Energy (DOE) is facilitating this technology's development and implementation with an annual funding level that may hit $600,000 for three years.
Much more research, according to the DOE, is required to overcome the challenges of achieving a pollution-free, oil-free hydrogen economy. One critical challenge is the market's acceptance of hydrogen fueled vehicles and their need for new hydrogen storage technologies. The current storage options of carrying highly compressed hydrogen fuel in an automobile pose safety issues and provide limited driving ranges. According to Tullmann, the DOE has identified chemical hydrides as a very promising storage solution. Safe Hydrogen's unique chemical-hydride slurry technology can provide the storage safety and storage volume to give future hydrogen powered vehicles the "one-tank" 300-plus mile driving range required by American drivers.
Safe Hydrogen's safe and fully recyclable, patented, hydride slurry can be energy-cost competitive with gasoline. And, according to Safe Hydrogen's chief technology officer, Andrew McClaine, "the real killer benefit is that the Safe Hydrogen technology can use much of the current gasoline distribution infrastructure to deliver hydrogen to tomorrow's motorists". Safe Hydrogen's slurry - a liquid mix not unlike thick paint - both stores and generates 99.999 percent pure hydrogen on demand by the addition of water. This is achieved by a very simple and low cost mixing system using any available water. Additionally, the Safe Hydrogen slurry provides the handling and safety benefits of a non-explosive and non-flammable storage format, according to McClaine.
Safe Hydrogen storage technology provides that 300-plus mile driving range to a car in a fuel tank about 20 percent larger than the average gasoline tank. Or in general terms, according to Ken Brown, one of the founding investors and Vice-President of Business Development, Safe Hydrogen technology stores hydrogen ten times more compact than compressed hydrogen and twice as compact as liquefied hydrogen. Today, compressed and liquid hydrogen are the two most common ways of storing and transporting hydrogen, Brown explains.
Safe Hydrogen LLC is a start-up company based in Lexington, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 2001 and owns all intellectual property and relevant patents generated by a $3 million, three year research effort to evaluate the properties of various hydride slurries as potentially efficient and safe hydrogen storage and hydrogen generating fuels. Andrew McClaine, Safe Hydrogen's CTO, managed that research at a division of Thermo Electron Corporation in Waltham, Mass.
Safe Hydrogen is in discussion with several large energy companies who can act as a strategic partner and share some costs of executing the DOE project. DOE funding typically does not cover all costs associated with projects.
The company will also seek additional funding as the project gets under way later in the year.
Sig Tullmann, 781/861-7252