Stackable Structural Reactor (SSR®) Named Best in Advanced Energy, Power & Propulsion Category; Represents Significant Advancement in Hydrogen Production
GARRETTSVILLE, OH - Catacel Corporation, driving reaction system innovation with patented technologies, is the recipient of a 2010 NorTech Innovation Award in the Advanced Energy, Power & Propulsion category. Catacel was one of more than 40 nominees from Northeast Ohio's manufacturing, industrial, medical and innovation industries.
The annual NorTech awards honor the achievements of organizations whose groundbreaking developments are playing a critical role in establishing Northeast Ohio as a global nexus of technological innovation. The award to Catacel recognizes the Stackable Structural Reactor (SSR®), a catalyst-coated metal foil structure that enables the production of hydrogen gas with less consumption of fossil fuel and less greenhouse gas emission.
NorTech, in partnership with Crain's Cleveland Business, will recognize award winners during a dinner reception the evening of Wednesday, February 24, at La Centre in Westlake, Ohio. Event details are available at www.nortechinnovationawards.org.
SSR is a significant advancement in the production of hydrogen from natural gas. Many industrial manufacturing processes require hydrogen, particularly in the petrochemical, steel and food industries. Pure hydrogen is also the energy source required by most fuel cells. SSR can enable hydrogen plant operators to meet the increasing global demand for this essential gas while achieving favorable economic and environmental results.
"More than 70 million metric tons of hydrogen were produced globally in 2009," said Bill Whittenberger, founder and president, Catacel Corporation. "At the projected annual growth rate of 10%, the world's demand for hydrogen will border on 130 million metric tons by 2015. With widespread adoption, SSR could substantially reduce the quantities of natural gas, oil and coal that will be required to meet production."
About Hydrogen Production
Hydrogen is produced when methane is exposed to steam and a catalyst inside an alloy tube that is heated in a furnace by burning a fossil fuel. Catalyst-impregnated ceramic pellets "poured" inside the tubes have traditionally driven the chemical reactions in this steam reforming method. However, the pellets do not transfer heat evenly (which compromises reaction efficiency) and tend to degrade and crush to powder, necessitating change-out every three to five years (an inevitable, reoccurring cost of hydrogen production). SSR was designed specifically to resolve the inefficiencies and limitations of this nearly century-old practice.
Approximately the size and shape of a one-pound coffee can, Catacel's SSR is stacked vertically inside a reformer tube (as opposed to filling it with pellets). Constructed from metal foil with specially designed flow channels, SSR more efficiently transfers heat* from the tube wall to all working catalytic surfaces. As the result of this superior heat transfer, the same amount of hydrogen can be produced at lower furnace temperatures meaning less fossil fuel is consumed in the process. This equates to overall energy savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Furthermore, testing indicates SSR has at least double the continuous operational lifespan of ceramic media. This longer service life can facilitate sharply reduced plant shutdown expenses for operators.
Catacel completed fiscal 2009 with 45% overall job growth, a 50% increase in workspace and 72% revenue growth. The company's success since its founding in 2001 has been fueled by several key factors including: effectively leveraging Ohio Department of Development Third Frontier Fuel Cell Program (TFFCP) funding with allied grants totaling $4.8 million; a recent $250,000 investment commitment by Northeast Ohio venture development organization JumpStart Inc.; as well as the company's own investments totaling more than $2 million.
o Funded by a GATE Partnership Award, Catacel teamed with NASA Glenn Research Center (Cleveland, Ohio) to conduct testing of SSR catalyst technology, which showed significantly improved heat transfer of 1.3 to 1.6 times greater than ceramic pellets. Test results have been subsequently validated with the first commercial demonstration of SSR technology - a 250 m3/h H2 plant in Europe that has been in continuous operation since July 2008.
About Catacel Corporation
Catacel, based in Northeast Ohio, provides solutions for challenging catalyst-based applications. Using its diverse background in durable metal honeycombs, reaction design, catalytic chemistry and large-scale production techniques, the company has engineered solutions for a diverse range of global clientele. Catacel primarily serves the advanced energy and chemical industries. Catacel solutions are geared to the fuel cell, hydrogen, gas-to-liquid, petrochemical and aerospace sectors. Visit www.catacel.com to learn more.
NorTech, the Northeast Ohio Technology Coalition, is a nonprofit Technology-Based Economic Development (TBED) organization that champions growth in Northeast Ohio's 21 county region. NorTech marshals resources and forges collaborations to put economic growth on the fast track by: accelerating technology development and moving innovations from the lab to the marketplace; driving growth in the region's high tech industries (with a current focus on Advanced Energy and Flexible Electronics); and expanding state and federal funding to support early stage technology commercialization and industry building. Learn more at www.nortech.org.
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