Hydrogen Storage Technology Wins Renewable Energy Grant

There are challenges with seemingly every aspect of the hydrogen energy cycle, particularly the storage side. New state grants, combined with Federal grants, will now enable a Massachusetts-based company to demonstrate its technology that stores and transports hydrogen in non-flammable chemical slurry.

The Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust SEED Program (Sustainable Energy Economic Development), a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), has awarded Safe Hydrogen, LLC, $308,000. That funding represents the remaining costs of completing a three-year, $2.4 million technology demonstration project awarded to Safe Hydrogen by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). With these funds, the company is to confirm the functionality of, as well as validate the cost and efficiency of, Safe Hydrogen’s proprietary compound to store, transport and generate hydrogen, an effort that began in April 2004. The safe, pumpable hydrogen-rich fuel that releases hydrogen as needed was developed by Safe Hydrogen, which will now demonstrate its storage and distribution technology. The core ingredients of the pumpable chemical hydride slurry are environmentally friendly and completely recyclable. The slurry, both before and after yielding the hydrogen, is not flammable, is safe to handle, easy to store and can use current pumps and tanks used for diesel fuel, gasoline or water. At the end of 2005, Safe Hydrogen had completed half of the DOE demonstration project. The first prototype of the company’s hydrogen generation device has been tested and several functional slurry versions have been produced. The second half of the project targets further improvements in the prototypes and aims to complete detailed costs and efficiency measures specified in DOE cost and efficiency targets. Safe Hydrogen’s technology of safe and efficient hydrogen storage enables broad-based use of renewable energy sources and the pollution-free conversion of hydrogen to electricity by fuel cells for off-grid, back-up and portable power. The technology also enables the use of hydrogen for vehicle power. The company’s progress has been closely monitored by the DOE’s Freedom Car Group, representing Ford Motor Co., General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and many major oil companies. The SEED funding program is designed to support Massachusetts companies developing critical energy technologies that may still be too far from commercialization to attract normal venture funding. Safe Hydrogen expects to seek further funding and strategic partnerships in 2006 to build commercial scale test and evaluation prototypes.

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