Press Releases

DOE Funds InnovaTek for Clean Coal Technology

6.28.2005

InnovaTek has received a $100,000 Phase I SBIR Contract from the Department of Energy (DOE) for technology that will be used to produce hydrogen from coal.

RICHLAND, WA - InnovaTek has received a $100,000 Phase I SBIR Contract from the Department of Energy (DOE) for technology that will be used to produce hydrogen from coal. The work done under this contract will lead to the development of a low cost membrane system that will separate and purify hydrogen from coal gas for a variety of applications including chemical processing, stationary fuel cell power systems, and fuel cell vehicles.

Hydrogen separation and purification is an enabling technology of the DOE FutureGen Program. The objective of DOE’s FutureGen Program is to generate electricity and pure hydrogen from coal gasification. Coal is the lowest cost and most abundant fossil fuel resource in the United States. Even though much progress has been made since the 1970’s, current coal technologies still pose a serious environmental concern, such as greenhouse emissions and hazardous air pollutants. When operational, FutureGen will be the world's cleanest, full-scale fossil fuel power plant.

“In the not-too-distant future, the nation may be dotted with coal-fired plants modeled on FutureGen. They will be producing electricity for a vibrant economy and hydrogen to fuel a growing fleet of clean hydrogen-powered cars,” said Secretary of Energy, Spencer Abraham.

Using the latest technology, the FutureGen plant will generate electricity, sequester greenhouse gases, and provide a new source of clean-burning hydrogen. Rather than burning coal as today's conventional plants do, it will turn coal into a gas and employ new technology to remove virtually all of the resultant air pollutants - sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury. Carbon will be converted to CO2 then captured by a carbon sequestration process. The separated and purified hydrogen will be used to supply refineries and fuel cell vehicles.

InnovaTek’s technology will yield a new category of ultra-thin membranes that are of low cost and high reliability. Currently, hydrogen is three to four times as expensive to produce as gasoline (when produced from its most affordable source, natural gas). “Manufacturing approaches to reduce the cost of hydrogen production such as proposed by InnovaTek will help speed the acceptance and utilization of clean coal and hydrogen-based energy systems”, said Patricia Irving, CEO and Founder of InnovaTek.