Gilbert firm seeks grant for clean-coal technologies

Gilbert firm seeks grant for clean-coal technologies

A Gilbert-based startup company that is developing clean-coal technologies is applying for a U.S. Department of Energy grant to help fund its research and development efforts.

Diversified Energy Corp., 2020 W. Guadalupe Road, is seeking $1.25 million from DOE’s National Energy Technology Lab to develop a process to convert coal to hydrogen, which could serve as a transportation fuel, and synthetic gas that can be burned cleanly to produce electricity.

About 20 to 25 companies are expected to apply for two $1.25 million grants as part of the department’s efforts to commercialize the production of hydrogen and electric power from coal by 2015.

The Gilbert company has acquired the rights to a new system called HydroMax that it claims produces synthetic gas and hydrogen from coal more cheaply and efficiently than previous coal gasification technologies.

The patented HydroMax process consolidates three typical gasification steps into a single reactor, producing separate streams of highpurity hydrogen and syngas, the company said. The developers say the process reduces traditional gasification capital costs by up to 50 percent and also reduces the physical space needed for the plant.

”These types of economic benefits are exactly what is required to transition clean coal technologies into widespread commercial utilization,” said Phillip Brown, president of Diversified Energy. Diversified Energy acquired the rights to the HydroMax technology for $5 million from Alchemix Corp., a Carefree-based company that developed the process and is contributing financially to the research effort to build a demonstration plant.

Brown said the firms hope to use the DOE grant to develop hardware for pilotscale testing and software to simulate the process. Also the company wants to complete a conceptual design of the demonstration plant and conduct a financial analysis, he said.

DOE is expected to make the awards in October and fund the project beginning in January, Brown said.

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