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Ecotality lends hydrogen tech to clean-coal project

Hydrality applied to Arizona project for creating natural gas from coal without carbon dioxide pollutants.

Ecotality is lending its hydrogen technology expertise to a municipal electricity project that aims to squeeze natural gas from coal without emitting carbon dioxide.

The company is partnering with the Arizona Public Service public utility company, which received $8.9 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for its Advanced Hydrogasification Project (AHP), according to Ecotality.

Hydrogasification is a process in which natural gas is made from coal without releasing the pollutant carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

For the AHP project, Ecotality will contribute its so-called Hydrality technology, a process it developed in conjunction with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory that produces hydrogen from magnesium pellets and water, with water as the only byproduct. The company has previously used the Hydrality process as an inboard source of power for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

In this case, the Hydrality process will be examined to figure out reactor and storage dynamics for large-scale hydrogen production. The hydrogen will be used in a high-temperature and high-pressure reaction with coal to produce methane.

Ecotality has been expanding its interests beyond hydrogen fuel and electricity. In September, the company purchased Innergy, a San Diego, Calif.-based company that makes mobile solar power technology, and in June it bought the fuel cell retailer Fuel Cell Store.