The Department of Energy announced funding for six cost-shared research and development projects investigating different aspects of coal-to-hydrogen production and the utilization of hydrogen or hydrogen/natural-gas mixtures in combustion engines.
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 six projects are as follows:
Abengoa Bioenergy R&D will seek 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)
Iowa State University is developing 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)
Louisiana State University researchers will develop a coal-based process for the conversion of syngas to ethanol and higher alcohols using rhodium-based catalysts.
Coal-derived syngas will be produced using Conoco-Phillips’ EGAS technology. Louisiana State University researchers will be joined by scientists from Clemson University, Conoco-Phillips, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (DOE share: $2,257,427; industry share: $1,346,913; project duration: 36 months)
Energy Conversion Devices will develop a low-cost method to convert small (less than 25 hp) gasoline internal combustion engines to run on hydrogen fuel, while maintaining performance and durability equivalent to the unmodified gasoline engine. (DOE share: $1,200,000; industry share: $514,288; project duration: 27 months)
Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation will partner with Roush Industries, Argonne National Laboratory, and Sacré-Davey Innovations, 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, Hydrogen Components and the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory at Colorado State University will acquire three identical heavy-duty, spark-ignited natural gas engines and subject them to long-term (2,500-hour) stationary testing. Two of the engines will be modified, one for operation on Hythane (a hydrogen and natural gas mixture of 20 vol% or less hydrogen) and one for pure hydrogen operation. 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)