TECHNOLOGY: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ’s)
1) Why is AEC’s hydrogen production technology unique?
How is it more viable than other forms of hydrogen production?
It has been stated by leading industry experts that the hydrogen economy will not become reality until two important developments occur;
a) A reduction in the selling price of a reliable fuel cell, and
b) The availability of low-cost hydrogen.
Many fuel cell prices have started to descend, but are still considered to be too high for mass appeal. In addition, what is not included in these prices is the operating cost, which can include the replacement of very expensive membranes (i.e. PEM). The PEM fuel cell’s current cost includes the precious metal platinum, which currently represents approximately 30% of the cost of the cell. Therefore, any saving in cost is over-shadowed by the cost of the platinum, the result being an expensive fuel cell.
AEC’s affordable, on-demand Hydrogen production technology provides the solution to item b) above.
The least expensive hydrogen is currently derived from the reformation of fossil fuels such as natural gas, costing approximately $0.10 to $0.12 per kw. Current cost estimates indicate that AEC can produce hydrogen at a significantly lower cost and realize a strong profit even with selling it at a very competitive price. For business reasons AEC has not announced their cost of producing hydrogen nor the selling price
This will mean a potential savings to those that use hydrogen for any number of retail and small commercial applications. For those considering the purchase and use of fuel cells for alternative power needs, our low-cost hydrogen drastically reduces the operating costs, making it an affordable investment.
In summary, AEC is the only known low-cost producer of high-quality, on-demand hydrogen.
2) To whom will you be selling the product and when?
AEC intends to sell a combined product (our hydrogen production unit and a carefully selected, third-party fuel cell), through one or a number of major organizations being considered to the home owner and commercial power and government markets. AEC acknowledges the numerous large-scale market application opportunities for low-cost hydrogen, but has chosen to focus on the alternative energy sector pursuant to its corporate mandate / mission statement.
Though much is contingent on funding and/or the securing of suitable manufacturer/distributor alliances, marketing and manufacturing plans are currently being developed for AEC to have its hydrogen production technology deployed with various partners within one year (2004).
3) Can you disclose your method of hydrogen production?
At this point, while patents are being filed, AEC can disclose only a limited amount of technical information to protect its proprietary rights. Full disclosure will occur once patents have been secured.
What can be disclosed is the following. Using normal tap water or even sea water, a combination of readily available and price-stable metals and chemical compounds are added together into a sealed container combined with a solution that allows for a chemical reaction to take place. Hydrogen in a gaseous state is then produced (tested 99.9% pure), along with water and oxygen as non-toxic by-products. The process is completely bio-compatible (non-toxic and safe to the environment).
4) What is the cycle life?
Based on results from current in-house testing, conservative estimates indicate that our current hydrogen production unit will produce an on-going supply of hydrogen required to operate a 1kw fuel cell for several months without maintenance. The only additional requirement is the continuous addition of nominal amounts of water during this time.
To look at another example: A sugar-cube sized piece of our material, combined with the required chemicals and water will produce enough hydrogen to fill a cubic area the volume of a football field three (3) times.
5) How is carbonization of alkaline electrolyte handled?
With proper filtration and by using our pure hydrogen (99.9%), this should not occur.
6) What is your prediction on when (what year) cars will be powered by fuel cells?
This is not our area of expertise as we are currently focused on the stationary power unit. However, there is major application in the transportation arena since we can produce hydrogen on demand and eliminate the need for any storage and the creation of an enormously expensive hydrogen distribution infrastructure. We are currently exploring this market. Major auto manufacturers such as GM, Toyota and Honda have been quoted as saying that they will be in a position to launch to market within 5 years with an affordable hydrogen-powered automobile, but their models seem to all be based on the expensive PEM fuel cell technology.
7) What will be the cost of the appliance that will be used to power the average home?
Only very rough estimates on price can be ascertained at this time, as variables such as manufacturing costs, licensing fees and distribution all come into play. However, AEC is committed to
economically practical solutions and therefore is working to deploy a unit that is affordable to the home owner which could retail at a very low price. Since the operational cost is expected to be inexpensive, a conservative estimate of the savings on the cost of fuel is expected to be upwards of 80% to the home owner – a significant cost savings.
8) Are there any specific plans for mass production?
The current intention is to partner or license the technology with organizations that have reputable manufacturing experience, a pervasive distribution infrastructure and superior customer service capabilities in the retail sector to ensure quick time to market via their manufacturing, marketing and selling of the units. Communication with a number of interested parties is currently in progress.
9) How do you get away from the high heat (and thus high energy) requirements of the standard approach to this type of separation?
Unfortunately, since this would require the disclosure of significant proprietary information, we are not in a position to explain in any detail at this time. Simply, AEC’s hydrogen production process
does overcome the input energy and high-heat issues typically found in other forms of hydrogen extraction.
10) What is your output of H2?
Output volume tests have been conducted in-house by the company. On-going analysis on hydrogen volume maximization for our unit is also in progress. What can be disclosed is that AEC’s hydrogen production unit was able to supply enough power to run Astris Energi’s 1kw golf cart (Announcements, Sept 17th, 2003). The hydrogen requirement of the Astris fuel cell is proprietory and cannot be disclosed. During this test however, more hydrogen was produced than was needed. This was considered to be a small application, as AEC is targeting producing enough hydrogen per minute to run a stationary home unit of 6-7kw for months at a time without refresh of material (exception of water).
In addition to the above, the following questions have been asked and will be answered subsequent to the filing of our proprietary patents:
· What are the results/comprehensive analysis of a Gas (Mass Balance) ?
· What are the electrolyte dynamics ?
· What is changing in the electrolyte during the process ?
· How quickly does the material dissolve into water ?
AEC acknowledges its own limitations in its inability to quantify specific technology claims at this time. Many questions have arisen with regard to; control output/regulation of output, sustainable production rate and data to support the technology’s affordability, to name a few.
As was quantified with purity testing and the successful running of the Astris fuel cell, all questions relating to AEC’s hydrogen program will be answered as soon as is feasibly possible, with objective scientific evidence to support them by a recognized independent laboratory. Subsequent to the compilation of all data, a technology ‘spec sheet or White Paper’ will be produced and distributed to all wishing clarification and/or supporting scientific data.
We thank you for your patience in this regard.