US Govt gets into Eden

EDEN Energy says it will soon have the backing of the United States Department of Energy for a long-term trial of its proprietary hydrogen-natural gas fuel, Hythane, running a direct comparison with pure hydrogen fuels.
US Govt gets into Eden US Govt gets into Eden US Govt gets into Eden US Govt gets into Eden US Govt gets into Eden

The US DoE has awarded a $US2.1 million grant to Eden’s wholly owned US subsidiary, Hythane Co, to demonstrate the fuel’s effectiveness compared to pure hydrogen fuels over two years, and the trial will begin shortly after a DoE audit of the Australian company.

“This is the first breakthrough into the massive American automotive market we have been working towards,” Eden Energy executive chairman Greg Solomon said yesterday.

The US Government is aggressively pursuing the development of hydrogen-based fuels as a means of reducing its dependence on foreign oil products.

Eden is hopeful that its hybrid hydrogen fuel product will prove more efficient than pure hydrogen, giving the company unprecedented access to the United States’ massive transport fuel market.

Solomon said natural gas, Hythane and hydrogen internal combustion engines (ICEs) represented the three most practical, and therefore the most likely, transitional steps in the future between current diesel ICEs and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Under the terms of the grant and test program, two identical, heavy-duty, spark-ignited natural gas engines will be acquired and modified, one to run on Hythane and the other to run on hydrogen.

Over the 2500 hours of the test program, the otherwise identical trucks will be monitored against a variety of criteria including long-term performance, emissions and engine durability.

The test program is expected to take approximately two years to complete and will be largely undertaken by the Colorado-based Hythane Co.

“It is possible that the hydrogen content in the test fuels, particularly the pure hydrogen-powered engine, could contribute to issues with engine lubricants, the engine component or emissions system materials, the behaviour of fuel supply components, or combustion product effects,” Solomon said yesterday.

“These possible sources for accelerated deterioration may be subtle and require long-term interaction to become apparent.”

Solomon told EMN this morning that he was confident that the Hythane-powered vehicle would easily pass the durability trials, and was less likely to experience the “hydrogen embrittlement” phenomenon which can weaken the structural integrity of engines.

Eden has also been pursuing opportunities in other regions, including China, promoting the fuel as a versatile fuel that produces 50% of the emissions of natural gas – a drastic reduction from petroleum fuels.

Further, the company claims that production of the proprietary fuel can capitalise on reduced initial capital costs by integration with the existing natural gas infrastructures in key markets such as the US, Australia, China and India. Eden claims the fuel mix can also be altered to incorporate compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) or low-purity hydrogen.

Solomon told EMN that Eden expected to make significant inroads into the Chinese market in time to be running a fleet of buses for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, and the company would be aggressively pursuing new opportunities in the Indian market, which has a major gas-based transport fuel economy, coupled with a desperate need for cleaner-burning fuels.

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