Press Release | Department of Energy Selects Oceanit for Research Award for Hydrogen Power Development

Energy, In the News, Press Release
  • Award is one of 158 grants totaling $35M nationwide to support scientific innovation and clean energy development 
  • Oceanit’s hydrogen research will deliver progress toward a sustainable, hydrogen fuel-based economy  
  • In 2021, Oceanit launched several hydrogen projects covering production, transmission & storage, and distribution.

11 January 2022 | U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced today that Oceanit was awarded one of 158 Department of Energy (DOE) grants totaling $34 million, awarded to 68 small businesses in 24 states, including projects relating to wind turbine and wind farms, improved battery electrolytes, solar generation of hydrogen, and upcycling of carbon dioxide, along with a wide range of other efforts.

Oceanit will work to develop a system called “HALO”, proposing a novel strategy to take what we’ve learned with earlier DOD investments in high-risk research and apply it into new strategies to produce hydrogen (H2) that side step many of the expensive features currently stifling progress in H2 development.

In particular, Oceanit will create a controlled and contained high temperature reaction using plasma physics. Initial funding with the DOE will also enable partnerships with major energy companies that plan to join this H2 quest. Consistent with Oceanit’s “Intellectual Anarchy” approach to creating disruptive innovation, this new phase is risky. However, the approach has drawn interest and attention from big energy companies, most notably, ENI of Italy.

“We have great support from The National Energy Company of Italy (ENI),” said Oceanit CEO Patrick Sullivan, “Oceanit and ENI will collaborate as we develop a practical application of high energy physics to demonstrate a novel idea in H2 production. We must reduce impact immediately from current energy sources while simultaneously create and develop new energy sources. HALO will deliver progress toward a sustainable hydrogen fuel-based economy of tomorrow.”

If successful, Oceanit’s technique could be transformational, enabling major international and national energy companies to accelerate their transition from petroleum to clean energy.  The HALO system will extract hydrogen from the massive amounts of wastewater produced in traditional oil & gas production (known as “produced water”). The project has the potential to not only reduce water treatment costs and energy expenditure, but also create a source of clean power, enabling a global energy transformation. This recapturing of hydrogen, along with other value-added materials from produced water, would significantly reduce waste and offset the environmental impact of ongoing oil & natural gas extraction.

It is estimated that fossil fuel production processes generate up to 100 times more produced water than actual oil, resulting in hundreds of billions of gallons of wastewater that needs to be treated and disposed of. Oceanit’s “Hydrogen-Recovery Using an AI-Arc-Plasma Learning Operational System” (HALO) will use the extreme temperatures of plasma plumes to dissociate this produced water and recover hydrogen, which can then be used as a source of clean energy.

Beyond the oil and gas industry, HALO aims to utilize artificial intelligence to create a “feed agnostic” system capable of adapting to a water source’s composition and optimizing the extraction of hydrogen from any source of water, including municipal wastewater or even seawater. If HALO can be powered by renewable energy, the resulting hydrogen captured would be considered “green hydrogen”—the ultimate clean, sustainable source of energy.

“Supporting small businesses will ensure we are tapping into all of America’s talent to develop clean energy technologies that will help us tackle the climate crisis,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE’s investments will enable these economic engines to optimize and commercialize their breakthroughs, while developing the next generation of climate leaders and helping to build a sustainable future to benefit all Americans.”

DOE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards aim at transforming DOE-supported science and technology breakthroughs into viable products and services. The awards also support the development of specialized technologies and instruments that aid in scientific discovery.

Founded in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1985, Oceanit is a privately held, award-winning innovation company that works to solve important problems across sectors like aerospace, energy, environment & climate, ocean sciences, health, and materials. A ‘Mind to Market’ company, Oceanit employs the unique discipline of Intellectual Anarchy to transform fundamental science developed in the lab into impactful technologies for the market. Oceanit creates cutting-edge solutions, services, and products recognized for excellence in advanced technology R&D and aimed toward delivering the future for the next 100 years.

More information about all the projects announced by DOE today is available at the following link: https://science.osti.gov/sbir