Damorphe, a nanotechnology firm based in the United States, is developing a hydrogen production method based on a rare earth oxide alloy that dissolves in water.

The company claims the technology has the ability to deliver clean hydrogen for as little as $1 per kilogram.

The company, which specializes in nanomaterials for niche applications ranging from aerospace and defense to energy and healthcare, is collaborating with partners to create a demonstration facility capable of producing 1 million tons of hydrogen per day in California.

Carmine Battista, chief commercial officer and CEO of Damorphe’s hydrogen division, told S&P Global Platts in an interview July 30 that Damorphe’s technology is scalable and has the potential to largely replace existing low-carbon and renewable hydrogen production methods such as steam methane reforming and electrolysis.

Electrochemistry separates hydrogen from water, gently dissolving the alloy, and it may utilize any type of water, which is another advantage over electrolysis, which requires higher grade water.

The business developed the reagent, and Battista stated that scaling it up would be quite simple and inexpensive. Damorphe is seeking financing to build these technologies and has already received an overwhelming response.

The $1/kg production cost, according to Battista, would make hydrogen cheaper than diesel in trucking and is around half the cost of SMR production in California and one-eighth the cost of proton exchange membrane electrolysis, according to S&P Global Platts statistics.

Battista stated that the corporation desired to sell hydrogen at a tiny margin above production costs in order to contribute in the growth of the sector and stimulate demand. It would collaborate with partners to develop distribution and manufacturing systems, while remaining focused on its core business of material development.

The company’s use of rare earth metals, which it did not reveal, is widespread in the United States and Canada, providing supply security. Battista stated that reserves were plentiful and that future mining exploitation was not a worry.

Damorphe is collaborating with a California trucking firm to create hydrogen for use in recharging fuel cell electric vehicles. Battista stated that the prototype facility will begin operations in 2022 and that due to the project’s low production costs, it would not require government assistance.

It would offer its technology close to cost and earn from carbon credits and hydrogen sales.

Additionally, the company is considering agreements with large energy and hydrogen companies, citing high interest in its technology.

The company is approximately two years away from putting the supply chain in place to create 50,000 mt/year of reagent, which, according to Battista, would produce “much more” hydrogen.

Following that, it intends to expand its operations beyond the United States into Europe and the Asia-Pacific area.

Battista acknowledged Europe’s advantage in clean hydrogen development in comparison to other regions, but believed the US could leapfrog Europe and seize the lead in renewable hydrogen production.

Nedim Husomanovic

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