WASHINGTON, DC - The Department of Energy today announced the selection of six cost-shared research and development projects that will aid in alternate hydrogen production and greater hydrogen utilization.
The selections help to fulfill President Bush's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative which describes a hydrogen economy that minimizes America's dependence on foreign oil, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and provides funding for hydrogen research and development.
Hydrogen is considered a potential energy carrier for the future, and it may be produced from hydrogen-containing materials such as water and fossil fuels. Until other resources are available to produce hydrogen at lower costs, production from coal is the most economical source.
To identify, implement, and integrate the research and technology development needed to achieve the hydrogen economy, DOE developed the Hydrogen Posture Plan, and several DOE offices and national laboratories, including the Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory, are charged with implementing the plan.
DOE will help fund these six new projects which focus on two different areas of interest:
- Alternate hydrogen production uses coal to create hydrogen-rich, zero-sulfur liquid fuels or synthetic natural gas, with demonstration of an alternative pathway and reforming system to produce hydrogen in decentralized locations anticipated by the end of 2011.
- Hydrogen utilization seeks to demonstrate protocols for hydrogen or hydrogen/natural-gas mixtures and modifications to reciprocating internal combustion engines for advanced engine systems.
The total value of the six projects is nearly $18 million dollars, with DOE providing $12.9 million and industry partners contributing more than $4.9 million. The industry cost-share of almost 28 percent indicates industry's commitment to these advanced technologies, and suggests strong future support for their commercialization and adoption. Descriptions of the six new projects are shown below.
- Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, La.) – In this project, researchers will develop a coal-based process for the conversion of syngas to ethanol and higher alcohols using rhodium-based catalysts. Clean coal-derived syngas will be produced using Conoco-Phillips' EGAS technology. The final step is the selective catalytic conversion to ethanol. Louisiana State University researchers will be joined by scientists from Clemson University (Clemson, S.C.), Conoco-Phillips (Houston, Texas), and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tenn.). (DOE share: $2,257,427; industry share: $1,346,913; project duration: 36 months)
- Abengoa Bioenergy R&D, Inc. (Chesterfield, Mo.) –
This project seeks to improve the catalytic conversion of coal-derived syngas into ethanol and investigate ethanol reformability to hydrogen. The goal is to design new catalysts for higher alcohol synthesis, with the research aimed at accelerating the crucial steps that limit the selective conversion of synthesis gas to alcohols, especially ethanol. (DOE share: $2,965,899; industry share: $749,781; duration: 36 months)
- Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (Rochester Hills, Mich.) –
Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. will develop a low-cost method to convert small (less than 25 horsepower) gasoline internal combustion engines to run on hydrogen fuel, while maintaining performance and durability equivalent to the unmodified gasoline engine. There is a huge potential worldwide market for reliable, low-cost small engines with near-zero emissions in stationary and mobile applications including two- and three-wheeled vehicles, lawn and garden care equipment, and small back-up generator sets. (DOE share: $1,200,000; industry share: $514,288; project duration: 27 months)
- Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (Phoenix, Ariz.) –
Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation will partner with Roush Industries (Livonia, Mich.), Argonne National Laboratory (Chicago, Ill.), and Sacré-Davey Innovations (North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), to evaluate the durability of a proven hydrogen internal combustion engine design using both accelerated aging tests under laboratory conditions (maximum power and torque for 300 hours) and field tests in diverse fleets (24,000 miles and 1,100 hours of operation per vehicle). Results of the durability evaluation will be compared to current gasoline internal combustion engine standards, and recommendations to reduce durability risk factors will be developed. (DOE share: $1,323,271; industry share: $567,117; project duration: 29 months)
- Hythane Company, LLC (Littleton, Colo.) –
Three organizations—Hythane Company LLC and Hydrogen Components Inc., both of Littleton, Colo., and the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory at Colorado State University (Fort Collins, Colo.)—will collaborate on this project aimed at acquiring three identical heavy-duty, spark-ignited natural gas engines and subjecting them to stationary testing. Two of the engines will be modified, one for operation on Hythane® (a hydrogen and natural gas mixture) and one for pure hydrogen operation. The modified engines will be optimized for emissions, efficiency, and power relative to the natural gas baseline, using the experience and intellectual property of the project team. All three engines will undergo durability testing to demonstrate their long-term performance. (DOE share: $2,481,935; industry share: $1,068,309; project duration: 36 months)
- Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa) –
The objective of this project is to develop a process that will convert syngas from coal into ethanol and then transform the ethanol into hydrogen. Investigators will first synthesize, characterize, and evaluate mesoporous manganese silicate mixed oxide materials supports for rhodium nanocatalysts. They will then construct and demonstrate two reactor systems: one for producing synthetic liquid fuel from a simulated syngas stream and one for evaluating ethanol reformability. The data gathered will be used to analyze the process and provide a preliminary economic evaluation. (DOE share: $2,750,000; industry share: $690,614; project duration: 36 months)