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Altair Nanotechnologies, University of Nevada Research Foundation and Hydrogen Solar LLC Lead Alternative Energy Consortium With
$3 Million Grant From U.S. Department of Energy


Altair to Receive $400,000 as Subcontractor to Perform Research Activities to Enhance the Capabilities of Hydrogen Refilling Stations

 

RENO, NV -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 11/23/2004 -- Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALTI), in collaboration with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Research Foundation (UNLVRF) and Hydrogen Solar LLC, today announced the consortium has received a $3 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The fund is for joint research activities related to solar hydrogen production at a refilling station that is under development in Las Vegas. Vehicle integration testing and demonstration will also be included in the project.

Under the terms of the multi-year grant Altair will receive $400,000 for collaborative research and development efforts through its subcontractor agreement with UNLVRF. Additional project partners include University of Nevada Center for Energy Research (UNLVCER), Proton Energy Systems (PES), and the Las Vegas Valley Water District.

"This grant award marks a groundbreaking event for the development of alternative energy sources," said Dr. Alan J. Gotcher, chief executive officer of Altair Nanotechnologies. "The consortium's two-pronged approach -- that of developing new Tandem Cells™ for power, along with related vehicle refilling stations -- should serve to rapidly commercialize alternative energy vehicles throughout Nevada and ultimately the entire U.S. We are proud to be part of a project supporting the National Hydrogen Fuel Initiative."

"The hydrogen refilling station project is a positive step toward achieving the national goal of energy independence," said Thomas Williams, Executive Director of the UNLV Research Foundation. "We are pleased to work with such prestigious companies in advancing the hydrogen economy. We are also addressing related factors, such as how to achieve higher efficiency for electrolysers, and the development of new and expanding technologies that will alleviate our dependence on fossil fuels."

Hydrogen Solar's CEO, Dr. David Auty, added, "This project is the first step to commercializing our Tandem Cell technology in the American arena. We believe we have a highly efficient and world leading product for producing inexpensive, carbon-free hydrogen. We expect this to be a key technology as we move towards a future hydrogen economy, and are delighted to be working with such high caliber partners."

"Hydrogen is the fuel of the future and solar applications to produce hydrogen are a good way to become energy independent," said Senator Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader and a long-time supporter of hydrogen research and development at UNLV. "We have the capabilities in Nevada to bring these cutting-edge technologies to the market. The research performed by this grant will bring us a step closer to achieving our goals."

Under the terms of the grant, UNLVRF, a non-profit affiliate of UNLV, and UNLVCER will lead a team of industrial and technology partners to spearhead multiple research and development projects that will lead, in the future, to production and commercialization of solar-based hydrogen technologies. UNLVCER serves as the technical lead, with PES as the electrolyser developer, supplier and subcontractor. Hydrogen Solar LLC and Altair will act as research and product development partners in utilizing nanotechnology processes. The Las Vegas Valley Water District will provide vehicles for conversion, as well as continuing site support and coordination.

Phase I of the project, entails the development of a hydrogen refilling station, and work is already underway on this by the UNLVRF.

Phase II comprises the expanding of capabilities of the existing station by developing a high pressure, more efficient electrolyser. Phase II also includes the use of the Tandem Cell™, which converts light and water directly into hydrogen fuel in a highly efficient, renewable and carbon-free process.

Hydrogen Solar LLC believes the Tandem Cell will provide hydrogen at a significantly lower cost than the current photovoltaic / electrolyser routes being developed.

Central to the Tandem Cell technology is the very high performance of the photo-catalytic nano-crystalline thin films developed by Hydrogen Solar LLC. These are used to gather photons of incident light and convert them into electrons to directly split water into its constituent elements. Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. will use their nanomaterials synthesis technology to develop low cost processing for and further improve the performance of the thin film electrode in the front section of the Tandem Cell. Altair's efforts will focus on iron oxide-based materials and include development of film deposition methods and synthesis routes for the optimized metal oxide nanomaterials.

The Tandem Cell concept was co-invented by the Swiss Federal University of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and the University of Geneva (UoG), and was made possible thanks to research and development support by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy over a considerable period of time. The Tandem Cell™ concept is the subject of a patent by Prof. Michael Graetzel (EPFL) and Jan Augustynski (UoG). Hydrogen Solar LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hydrogen Solar Ltd UK, which holds the world-wide exclusive rights to the Tandem Cell™. Prof. Graetzel is a scientific advisor to both Hydrogen Solar Ltd and Altair.

ALTAIR NANOTECHNOLOGIES INC.

Although an emerging field, nanotechnology is already having a unique impact on several industry sectors. Altair Nanotechnologies is positioning itself through product innovation to become a leading supplier of ceramic, metal oxide-based nanomaterial technology and nanomaterials worldwide. Altair owns robust proprietary technology platforms for manufacturing a variety of crystalline and non-crystalline nano-materials of unique structure, performance, quality and cost. Altair has installed semi-works capability with a capacity to produce hundreds of tons of nano-materials.

The company is organized into two divisions: Life Sciences and Performance Materials. The Life Sciences Division is pursuing market applications in pharmaceuticals, drug delivery, dental materials, cosmetics and other medical markets. The Performance Materials Division is pursuing market applications in Advanced Materials for Paints and Coatings (titanium pigments and thermal spray coatings), Advanced Materials for Improving Process Technologies (titanium metal manufacturing, catalysts and water treatment), Advanced Materials for Alternative Energy (high performance batteries, fuel cell and photovoltaics) and other high performance material applications. For additional information on Altair and its nano-materials, visit www.altairnano.com.

Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc.®, Altair Nanomaterials™, TiNano®, RenaZorb™, NanoCheck™, TiNano Spheres™ and the Hydrochloride Pigment Process™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information on consortium members:


Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc.: www.altairnano.com
Hydrogen Solar Ltd: www.hydrogensolar.com or RupertLeach@Newspath.co.uk
Las Vegas Valley Water District: www.lvvwd.com
Proton Energy Systems, Inc.: www.protonenergy.com
Senator Harry Reid: www.reid.senate.gov
UNLV Center for Energy Research: www.me.unlv.edu/research/energy.htm
UNLV Research Foundation: www.unlv.edu/Research/foundation.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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