SIRTI, InnovaTek And Battelle Announce Grant Award From U.S. Army For Fuel Reformer Development



James W. Roberts, Manager, Technology Commercialization
Spokane Intercollegiate Research & Technology Institute
(509) 358-2043

Dr. Patricia Irving, President
InnovaTek, Inc.
(509) 375-1093

Ed Baker, Technical Group Manager
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
(509) 375-6720

James E. Stephens, Fuel Cell Technology Team Leade
U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command
(703) 704-2006

SPOKANE, WA - The Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute (SIRTI), InnovaTek, Inc. (ITI), and Battelle announce the receipt of a $3 million, 16-month contract to develop a logistics fuel reformer that will meet the needs of the U.S. Army and have significant dual-use applications in the commercial sector. The reformer will produce hydrogen from military fuels and, when coupled with a fuel cell, will create portable power systems that are clean, quiet, and efficient and can be used by soldiers in the field.

"We are very pleased with the creation of this partnership," said Jim Roberts, SIRTI's Manager of Technology Commercialization. "We look forward to working closely with InnovaTek, Battelle and the U.S. Army in the development and commercialization of this technology. There is a great deal of value in the skills, experience and perspective each party brings to the table." SIRTI will analyze the competitive landscape and determine the best entry points for both the commercial and military markets.

InnovaTek will focus on mid-range, 500 watt to 20 kilowatt-sized, reforming systems. "Production and distribution of energy affects all sectors of the global economy," said Patricia Irving, President and CEO of InnovaTek. "The increasing industrialization of the world and the dramatic increase in the use of portable electronic devices requires sustainable, highly efficient power production. For these reasons, we believe that fuel cell technology represents one of the most important technological advancements of the next decade. InnovaTek is positioning itself to make important contributions to the commercialization of this exceptionally promising technology. "

Battelle's research will concentrate on man-portable reformers for battery-sized applications. Battelle, based in Columbus, Ohio, operates Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL) for the Department of Energy.

"While fuel cells are becoming more prevalent, they haven't been practical for many applications, including military use, because they run on hydrogen," said Ed Baker, PNNL project manager. "Hydrogen is difficult to carry, not readily available on a battlefield and potentially explosive. The key to the man-portable system is a micro-channel fuel processor that produces hydrogen from traditional hydrocarbon fuels. This allows the Army to use its standard 'logistics fuels' like JP 8 and diesel."

"These parties were chosen because of their capabilities in the research and development of innovative reforming technologies," said Jim Stephens, the Army's Fuel Cell Technology Team Leader who will be overseeing the project. "We believe this technology will be key in meeting the U.S. Army's requirements of lightweight and portable power systems."

Fuel cells have long been promoted as an ideal source of clean, reliable power. The ability to operate them using independently produced hydrogen, opens up a host of new applications that had previously been deemed impractical.

SIRTI provides business and commercialization expertise and conducts comprehensive market analyses to understand the market potential and commercial interest in new technologies. It develops strategic alliances for the development and commercialization of new technologies that focus on commercial, industrial and defense applications.

InnovaTek, based in Richland, Washington, provides world-class technology- development capabilities to solve some of the nation's most demanding environmental and energy concerns.

Battelle, which operates the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, collaborates with national laboratories, universities, government agencies and industry to solve complex technical problems. Its researchers work with advanced equipment and specialized facilities to address client needs. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, located in Richland, Washington, is one of DOE's nine multi-program national laboratories and conducts research in the fields of environment, energy, health sciences and national security.