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ECOtality to Participate in Arizona Public Service and DOE Advanced Hydrogasification Project

ECOtality, Inc. will participate in the Arizona Public Service (APS) Advanced Hydrogasification Project (AHP) by investigating the use of its Hydrality technology for on-demand hydrogen production and storage to support APS’ hydrogasification efforts to deliver “clean” electricity to the public.

The AHP program is a collaborative project among APS and industry partners, including the DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), to develop an economical process of producing substitute natural gas (SNG) from coal without the release of carbon dioxide.

The APS project will use hydrogen to react with coal in a high temperature and pressure reaction that ultimately produces methane that can be injected into existing natural gas pipelines. Specifically aimed at supporting the AHP hydrogasification efforts, ECOtality  will conduct testing to evaluate the process kinetics and reactor dynamics of ECOtality’s Hydrality process for large-scale hydrogen production and storage applications.

APS, Arizona’s largest public utility company, has previously received $8.9 million in funding for this pilot project from the US Department of Energy (DOE).

In the process of researching and developing the Hydrality technology, we have identified several additional applications for Hydrality that include stationary use, remote power, back-up power systems, and large scale industrial and utility use. Our invitation to participate with APS and DOE/NETL in the AHP project expands the developmental scope of Hydrality beyond transportation into large-scale utility power applications.

—Jonathan Read, president and CEO, ECOtality, Inc.

ECOtality’s Hydrality stores and produces hydrogen on-demand using magnesium hydride and steam. In the process, steam is injected into a tube filled with powdered MgH2, resulting in this reaction:

H2O + MgH2 → MgO + 2H2 + 240 kJ/mol

The heat of the reaction spreads through the powder by conduction of the powdered material and convection of the steam and hydrogen mixture, powering the usual reaction used in traditional metal hydride systems to discharge hydrogen and absorbing the heat generated in the initial reaction:

75kJ/mol + MgH2 → Mg + H2

ECOtality, Inc. and Arizona State University (ASU) are working together to develop regeneration solutions for the magnesium oxide byproduct of the system. (Earlier post.) ECOtality envisions using Hydrality on board vehicles in conjunction with a hydrogen fuel cell.

Hydrality is a proprietary technology of ECOtality that is currently being researched, developed and tested by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Arizona State University, Green Mountain Engineering and Airboss Aerospace, Inc. (Earlier post.)

ECOtality’s science team attended the recent COMSOL Multiphysics Conference 2007 in Boston, Massachusetts and  presented a technical report about the Hydrality project. Written by Tyler Williams of GreenMountain Engineering, this report, “Reaction and Thermal Modeling of a Packed Bed Reactor for Hydrogen Storage,” provides an in-depth modeling of the thermal performance and reaction rates of Hydrality.

The white paper report validates the core Hydrality reaction and concludes:

  • Hydrality is safe and has internal self-stabilizing controls that prevent runaway reactions;

  • The Hydrality reaction is extremely efficient, operating near thermodynamic optimums, and does not waste significant water or energy in its processes;

  • The Hydrality reaction has an independently sufficient endothermic process that requires no extra heat supply.



Of all the metal hydride storage mechanisms for H2, this hydride would probably be the lightest practical one. So the addition waste mass carried around in a vehicle with a Metal hydride tank would probably be best.

I have no idea about volumetric efficiency as this was not discussed.


I don't get it. The system is powered by coal:
Coal->methane->hydrogen->MgH2->hydrogen-> user...
I propose a simpler and more efficient approach:

Enough said.

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