Hydrogen From Seawater: Canadian Utility to Test New Tech

Feb 26, 2019, by David R. Baker

A Canadian utility has agreed to test technology developed by a Florida startup to extract hydrogen from seawater — a process that, if it works, could provide a new source of clean energy for coastal communities.

NB Power, the largest electric utility in the Maritime province of New Brunswick, will test the proprietary technology from Joi Scientific Inc. The startup has released few details of how its “Hydrogen 2.0” process works, but Chief Executive Officer Traver Kennedy said it’s more efficient than electrolysis and doesn’t require pre-treating the seawater.

The hydrogen will be burned in internal combustion engines to generate electricity, said Gaetan Thomas, NB Power’s chief executive officer. The utility sees Joi’s technology as a potential way to back up clean power and cut carbon dioxide emissions, Thomas said in an interview.

“Storage costs aren’t coming down fast enough,” Thomas said. “So this solution is pretty appealing to us.”

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