Honolulu, HI | 21 June 2021 – Oceanit has been awarded several 2021 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awards to develop novel clean energy technologies that enable sustainable hydrogen fuel use while reducing human climate impacts. Oceanit’s hydrogen programs will deliver progress toward a sustainable hydrogen fuel-based economy of tomorrow—perhaps sooner than most realize.
The DOE awards will further Oceanit’s overall strategy to address difficult global climate challenges with fundamental science and technology. “To be effective, we had to step way back and take a broad and fundamental look at the energy industry,” said Oceanit Founder and CEO, Dr. Patrick Sullivan. “As Daniel Yergin articulated in his Pulitzer Prize winning book The Prize – The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, it’s bigger than a single technology.”
Sullivan continued, “Energy transformation will require an encompassing energy strategy that has to recognize the reality of current business practices and interests. This had us breaking down the energy business into major elements/buckets and developing a technology roadmap for each of these buckets, including: exploration and production (E&P), transmission, refining and distribution of energy products. Additionally, we are addressing a 5th bucket: decarbonization. With this in mind, we set out developing technology strategies that address these functional business elements—enabling businesses to operate and deliver energy the world expects, while reducing climate impact to humans and society.”
Oceanit’s internal strategic review led to hydrogen, which has long been an elusive dream fuel for the energy sector. Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and has the promise of becoming the fuel of the future for machines and systems—if it can be generated, transported, and stored efficiently and safely. Moreover, to limit climate change caused by the global rise of CO2 emissions, technologies built around sustainable fuels, like hydrogen, will be critical in helping the world achieve climate goals. As science and technology advances, what was once considered impossible, has become possible.
Internally, Oceanit has launched several hydrogen programs covering production, transmission, refining, distribution, and storage, as well as decarbonization. As part of a Mind to Market strategy, Oceanit sought partners, like the Department of Energy, who have dedicated teams that understand energy and are willing to take on risk in support of new ideas and innovation.
The recent DOE awards back Oceanit’s approach to transmission safety of hydrogen using existing infrastructure. The opportunity is significant: if the energy sector can use existing assets with minor repurposing and updates, the returns could be massive.
Oceanit’s first program will use artificial intelligence (AI) to manage deployed optical sensors—edge AI optics. Transporting hydrogen through natural gas pipelines is considered the most efficient and economical way to move it, but comes with significant safety challenges.
This approach will enable lightweight, edge AI for continuous unmanned monitoring of natural gas blends, ensuring safe hydrogen concentrations within pipeline-quality natural gas streams. The real-time monitoring will be scalable and cost-effective, compatible with existing pipeline systems, and have hydrogen-specificity among diverse gas mixtures. It will ensure that build-ups or blockages are detected early and can be mitigated.
Second, Oceanit developed nanocomposite surface treatments to protect pipeline integrity for a dangerous phenomenon called “hydrogen embrittlement.” This occurs when small hydrogen molecules wedge themselves into the metal, making the metal brittle and at risk of rupture. Oceanit’s nanocomposite treatment will have two key benefits. It creates a protective barrier on the inside of pipelines to protect against damage, which minimizes hydrogen diffusion into the metal and creates an omniphobic “ultra-slick” surface that has the added benefit of drag reduction, thereby reducing the energy cost to transport while providing increased flow assurance.
These programs are the first set of hydrogen-focused, DOE-backed programs designed to address hydrogen transportation in pipelines. Oceanit expects to continue collaboration with the DOE and international energy industry partners to develop new technologies to transform global energy, all while reducing energy impact to climate change. DOE Awards are listed here: https://science.osti.gov/sbir/Awards
Oceanit is a ‘Mind to Market’ company that employs a unique discipline to move fundamental scientific breakthroughs from the lab to the market. Oceanit is based in Honolulu, Hawaii but has offices and staff in Texas, California, Illinois, and Washington, DC. Oceanit’s unique approach to disruptive innovation is featured in a book by Dr. Patrick Sullivan, Intellectual Anarchy – The Art of Disruptive Innovation, available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and other outlets.