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New Hertfordshire Sustainable Energy Technologies Centre launches to build “greener” cars

13.12.2006
A centre to build the world’s “greenest” cars is being launched at the University of Hertfordshire this month.

The final touches are being put on the building at the University’s College Lane campus, which will house the Sustainable Energy Technologies Centre (SETCE), an operation which will bring very significant advances in the global quest to move to zero carbon fuels.

Mr Derek Eade, Director of SETCE, commented: “As petrol and diesel are not able to be sustained in the coming future, we have needed to think about other ways of running cars. “

As a result of this drive to minimise overall emissions of carbon dioxide by vehicles in the future, the University has entered into a Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) with ITM Power Plc in developing the use of electrolytic hydrogen in vehicle engines, which will be developed at SETCE.

The aim of the joint development programme is to improve internal combustion engine emissions; with the potential to bring very significant advances in the global quest to move to zero carbon fuels.

The programme includes the following objectives:

- To develop a safe, low-cost modification package for a town car to run on hydrogen and to provide the ability to refuel the vehicle at home or at work, independently of the current fuel delivery infrastructure.

- To investigate the conversion of existing petrol fuelled electrical generating sets to run on hydrogen produced from zero carbon sources, such as solar and wind.

- To investigate how the addition of hydrogen to the diesel combustion process can either reduce fuel consumption or pollutants and to provide the necessary on-board hydrogen generator system for diesel engines.

ITM will own all intellectual property (IP rights) including any new discoveries made during the development carried out under this programme.

Jim Heathcote, CEO, ITM Power Plc, said: “We believe this development programme will help to demonstrate the importance of electrolysers for use in the automotive industry. The University is renowned for its close automotive industry relationships, excellent test facilities and high calibre engineers. These capabilities are crucial to the success of this development programme.”

Mr Eade added: “We believe that the development programme that we are jointly undertaking could be significant to the automotive industry. We hope it will accelerate the market penetration of clean renewable transportation fuels. Widely distributed electrolysers could address the cost and availability problems that have prevented the adoption of hydrogen as a competitive fuel. We hope the programme will successfully place the University and ITM Power at the forefront of the hydrogen economy.”

Notes for editor
1. Mr Eade is part of the University’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences.

2. ITM Power plc has developed and patented low-cost hydrogen technologies. ITM Power has been developing new materials and processes that dramatically reduce the cost of fuel cells and electrolysers. The patented membrane materials used in the devices have higher performance and are 1% of the cost of the industry standard materials.

Electrolyser:
An electrolyser converts water and electricity into hydrogen and oxygen. These gases can be used as fuel for combustion engines, fuel cells, heating and conventional electricity generation.

ITM’s unique patented technology has allowed ITM to achieve cost/performance targets which in production would equate to electrolysers stack costs as low as $164/per kW. These technical breakthroughs simultaneously solve the cost and infrastructure barriers to the use of hydrogen as a competitive fuel.

For further information, please contact: Hélène Murphy, Media & PR Officer, University of Hertfordshire, Tel: 01707 28 4095, Email: h.1.murphy@herts.ac.uk.

Or

Gemma Chandler, ITM Power Plc, Tel: 01799 532 860, Mobile: 07921 957712

Helene Murphy | alfa
Further information:
http://www.herts.ac.uk

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