Industry News

PCC Hydrogen secures funding from USDA and KSTC to convert ethanol to green hydrogen

by | Aug 11, 2023

PCC Hydrogen (PCCH2) has been awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I Award of U$175,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). PCCH2 has also been awarded a Matching Grant Award of U$99,917 from the Kentucky Cabinet For Economic Development (KCED) through the Matching Grant program.

Both grants will be used by PCCH2 to accelerate the technological and commercial development of its negative carbon intensity hydrogen production process using ethanol as a feedstock.

Many believe that ethanol will play a significant role in hydrogen production as it is already abundantly available, with more than 15 billion gallons produced annually in the USA. It is also readily extractable from fermentation of biomass, relatively easy to transport, and also supports farming communities.

When using ethanol as a green source of hydrogen it is essential to be capable of efficiently and cost effectively converting it to hydrogen in a compact production process that can be easily replicated in a multitude of areas.

The funding awarded by the USDA Phase 1 SBIR funds vital work associated with the integration of several enabling technologies. This includes patented catalyst technology, an adiabatic oxidative reformer system, and an electrolyzer for both hydrogen and oxygen production.

When used in combination, the three components simplify the process of converting ethanol to hydrogen while yielding a pure carbon dioxide stream. By either co-locating or using a green mixture of power for the electrolyzer, the capture and sequestration of the byproduct carbon dioxide, yields hydrogen with a net negative carbon intensity.

The KCED matching funds supplement the USDA grant and will enable PCCH2 to evaluate the commercial potential of net negative carbon intensity hydrogen in various applications, to include as a fuel for grid independent fuel cell powered battery electric vehicle charging stations. In this application, low cost, negative carbon intensity hydrogen is deployed to fuel cell powered, non-grid connected, level 3 charging stations. Because power delivered to BEVs is produced from PCCH2’s hydrogen, and not the grid, each BEV mile driven on a PCCH2 charge reduces CO2.

“The grant funding from both USDA and KCED are crucial to the technological and commercial development of our novel process,” said Timothy Fogarty, CEO, PCC Hydrogen. “We are grateful to both agencies for their support and look forward to launching the first commercial ethanol to hydrogen production facility in 2024 followed shortly thereafter with a demonstration of our zero-emissions vehicle electric charging station.”

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