Hydrogen Storage Startup Claims Solution

Boston based Safe Hydrogen, believes it has solved the critical hydrogen storage problem, long considered a significant roadblock to utilizing hydrogen powered fuel cells.

Boston, Massachusetts – August 12, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The chief technology officer of the new firm, Andy McClaine, managed a three year, US$3 million dollar development project funded by the Department of Energy and is building the new company based on storage technology developed in that project. Safe Hydrogen uses a slurry – a liquid mix not unlike thick paint – that 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 Sig Tullmann, CEO of the start-up, this new technology provides benefits to both future and current hydrogen users. It saves storage and transportation cost and, “especially in our new security conscious world, saves security risks and costs by providing a non-explosive and non-flammable stored hydrogen,” he says. He estimates the cost of hydrogen to the consumer, if this technology were rolled out on a large scale, would be about 40 percent less than what Europeans are paying today to power their vehicles with gasoline refined from Middle East oil. According to McClaine, hydrogen is easily generated from plentiful raw materials and provides pollution-free energy but is notoriously difficult to store. Only one percent of the weight of a standard bottle of compressed hydrogen (the normal packaging of the product) is actual hydrogen. Currently, It takes an unwieldy 12 bottles of hydrogen to operate a car with a reasonably efficient fuel cell, says McClaine. Safe Hydrogen storage technology provides hydrogen to a car with a fuel tank only about eight percent larger than the average gasoline tank. Or in general terms, according to McClaine, Safe Hydrogen technology stores hydrogen ten times more compact than compressed and twice as compact as liquefied hydrogen. Today, compressed hydrogen and liquid hydrogen are the two most common way of storing and transporting hydrogen. An important plus is that both the loaded and depleted slurry can be pumped making use easily adaptable to the existing “gas station” support structure. No special pressures or temperatures are required. While the widespread use of the Safe Hydrogen storage process in automobiles will take some time, the technology can play a more immediate role in power back up, remote power, and marine power applications, according to Tullmann.
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