Home Back Issues November 2010 Startup turns methanol and water into hydrogen

Startup turns methanol and water into hydrogen

| Print |  Email
Articles - November 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010

 

1110_ATS16
Element One has created a generator that will create fuel for hydrogen cells out of methanol and water. // PHOTO COURTESY OF ELEMENT ONE

Tech startup Element One this month launched a product that transforms methanol and water into hydrogen, paving its way to enter markets in the developing world. Its “Pegasus hydrogen generator” could provide fuel for hydrogen cells that power rapidly expanding telecommunication networks.

Produced in partnership with Taiwanese manufacturer CHEM, the Pegasus is poised to overcome a major obstacle in the use of hydrogen fuel cells as backup power sources. These backup systems use canisters that weigh up to 200 pounds to store hydrogen, a big transportation headache. “Our technology allows us to create hydrogen on demand,” says Element One COO Robert Schluter. Armed with the Pegasus, more remote locations can produce hydrogen from on-site 55-gallon drums of a methanol-water mixture. “A gallon and a half of methanol produces approximately the same energy as a [hydrogen] canister,” Schluter says.

So far this year, between 30,000 and 80,000 telecom towers and associated backup power units have been built in India, according to David Martin of Dantherm Power, a Danish company that makes emergency backup systems and is a potential customer of Element One. “At least half of these are off the grid,” he says.

Industry analysts emphasize the growing application of fuel-cell technology. “We are moving from the information age to the energy age to fuel economic growth,” Ruth Cox of the U.S. Fuel Cell Council says of the importance of energy access for telecommunications networks. Founded earlier this year, Element One has invested $650,000 in the production of the Pegasus units and plans to hire eight Bend-based employees by next year. The company also plans to sell 1,500 units in 2011, with the break-even cost at 200 units sold.

Although the science behind the Pegasus is promising, there remain obstacles such as possible erratic maintenance of remote power stations and general fear of technology that has not been tested in the marketplace. “There are growing pains,” says Patrick Noonan with the renewable energy group at New York-based accounting firm Marcum LLP. “It’s not commercially proven yet.”

PETER BELAND
 

Comments   

 
Guest
0 #1 Interested EngineerGuest 2013-08-28 15:56:01
What ever happened to this promising technology and production plans?
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

The future of money

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY JAKE THOMAS

An ancient institution moves slowly into the digital age. 


Read more...

How to help your staff solve their own problems

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 21, 2014
03.21.14 thumb coxcoffeeTOM COX | OB BLOGGER

During a recent talk to HR Directors, I asked if they saw leaders trying to solve every problem, instead of delegating to and empowering staff. Every head nodded. Every single one.


Read more...

Workplace benefits

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Health care and vacations rule. That’s the consensus from our reader poll on workplace benefits that help retain and recruit employees.


Read more...

Spreading the wealth

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
HiResBY PAIGE PARKER

A money management firm broadens its reach. 


Read more...

Closing the gap: Community colleges and workforce training

News
Thursday, March 27, 2014
03.27.14 thumb collegeBY MARY SPILDE | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Community college career, technical and workforce programs present an opportunity to bring business and education together as never before.


Read more...

Making faces

News
Thursday, February 20, 2014
02.20.14 Thumbnail ModelsBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

As retailers consolidate and newspapers fold, the business of modeling shifts to ad agencies, apparel companies and new media.


Read more...

Are millennials reshaping politics in the Pacific Northwest?

News
Wednesday, April 02, 2014

MillennialsThumbA new report explores the impact of millennials on Oregon's business and political climate.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS