Update on Alchemix HydroMax

The HydroMax technology uses any carbon source including low sulfur and high sulfur coal to produce electricity, hydrogen and syngases which can be used as fuel for gas-fired power plants or converted into diesel, jet fuel, gasoline or ammonia. Alternate carbon sources include petroleum coke, municipal waste, biomass and shredded tires.

The company continues to make excellent progress as the U.S. Patent Office has now allowed 206 claims contained within a handful of patent applications. There is an opportunity to participate in an independent engineering evaluation of HydroMax vs. other hydrogen production technologies (such as gasification), to participate in a demonstration program, and to make a direct investment in Alchemix.


See: UFTO Note – H2 Production Adapts Smelting Technology, 15 Nov 2002:
(password required)

HydroMax adapts existing metal smelting technology to convert dirty solid fuels to clean gases. In iron making, carbon (coke) is mixed into molten iron oxide, and the result is elemental iron (Fe) and CO2. Alchemix’s new process, HydroMax, injects steam into a molten iron bath which makes H2 and iron oxide (FeO). HydroMax then makes use of iron making technology to return the iron oxide to pure iron for re-use. These two steps are done one after the other, and the fixed inventory of iron/iron oxide remains in place. (To produce a steady output stream, two reactors alternate, one in each mode.)

FeO + C –> Fe + CO2
Fe + H2O –> FeO + H2


A great deal of information is available at the company’s website:

Look under “News” and “Shareholders” for several powerpoint presentations and other items. Also a white paper under “Technology”. These emphasize the point that Alchemix provides a bridge strategy between hydrogen now, and the hydrogen economy of the future.

Alchemix says they have the lowest cost zero-emission coal/hydrogen technology, noteworthy in light of the somewhat controversial and problematic DOE FutureGen plan* to spend over $1 billion on a gasification approach. See Alchemix’s comments on how HydroMax will meet the FutureGen goals far more effectively.



Latest developments include specific plans for a commercial demonstration plant to be built in cooperation with members of the Canadian Oil Sands Network for Research and Development (CONRAD, Several members of CONRAD decided on July 15 to proceed with an engineering study to evaluate the HydroMax technology, economics and environmental impact in comparison with the alternate methods of producing hydrogen (i.e. steam methane reforming, gasification of solids and partial oxidation of heavy liquids). If the results of the study are positive for HydroMax as expected, then this group is likely to proceed with funding the first HydroMax plant, to be built in northern Alberta where the oil sands are located.

The plant will use petroleum coke to make 20 million scf/day of hydrogen and 10 MW of electricity. The plant will be profitable. An executive summary available on the Alchemix website (under “Introduction”) includes pro formas for the plant.

The group in Canada would welcome participation in the study (and the demo plant) by additional companies including US utilities. Alchemix will make introductions for anyone who is interested.

The group includes governmental organizations and private companies who will provide funding for the plant but may not require an equity position since they are interested in accelerated access to the technology. Alchemix, anticipating a capital requirement on its part for a substantial portion of the project (estimated at $120 million US), has drafted an investment opportunity. The proposal is for sale of stock in Alchemix with a call option for another traunch as the project proceeds.

A detailed memo on the rationale for this investment is available (password required) at:

Contact Robert Horton, Chairman

Non-Thermal Plasma H2, no CO2

Precision H2, a Canadian company, is developing a non-thermal plasma process which disassembles methane (CH4) into hydrogen and carbon black. Note, no CO2!

There are dozens of plasma companies, often focused on medical waste, and some on power (with coal or some waste stream as the feedstock). (See footnote) Usually these are hot plasmas, and tend to be expensive due to the materials problems at high temperature. In a plasma, sometimes called the 4th state of matter, material is very highly ionized by an electrical arc discharge. Lightning is a good example, and many plasma systems are brute force, require a lot of energy, and get very hot.

A so-called “non-thermal” plasma is one in which the electric discharge is controlled and confined. Locally it is extremely hot, but each spark doesn’t last long enough to heat up the surrounding materials. Precision H2 has created a “plasma dissociation reactor”, where the electrical discharge is carefully shaped and especially tailored to the specific job of dismantling methane. The electrical energy goes straight to the molecule, and doesn’t have to get there as heat. (It’s a little bit like cooking with microwaves instead of a conventional oven.)

The methane streaming through the reactor is partly converted to H2, with the carbon dropping out as a nanopowder. The output is then a blend of methane enriched with hydrogen (hythane). In an intriguing twist, this blend can be sent to a fuel cell which will consume the hydrogen, leaving the methane to be cycled back to the reactor. In effect, the fuel cell itself is used to separate out the hydrogen–for its own use. This configuration would produce electricity directly, rather than hydrogen. Pure hydrogen is gotten by using PSA (pressure swing absorption) or membranes to do the separation. Potential partners are already in discussions on both fronts (i.e. fuel cells and purification). Also, hythane can be used directly in engines, to good advantage.

The key is electronics (pulse shaping, and analysis and control of the discharge), and costs for electronics are well understood. Because temperatures remain modest, the reaction chamber can be made inexpensively, and is readily scalable.

There is an energy penalty–not all the “fuel value” of the methane is used, because the carbon itself isn’t oxidized. Instead, since no oxygen is present, no CO2 is produced–think of it as “presequestration”, with resulting GHG and carbon-trading benefits. Also, the carbon is in a valuable form which can be sold, enhancing overall economics. Detailed thermodynamic and financial models have been developed, and the company believes that even today, with “one-off” systems, they can produce hydrogen cost competitively.

The company is raising a round of equity financing.

Contact Dan Fletcher
Precision H2
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

An amazing find can be found at:

“Non-Incineration Medical Waste Treatment Technologies”, an August 2001 report …. explores the environmental and economic impacts, among other considerations, of about 50 specific technologies.

Chapter 4 in particular is an exhaustive review of every technology and nearly every company with a means to destroy hazardous materials. While the focus is on medical waste, most of the technologies also apply to hazardous materials, municipal waste and sludge, biomass, and fossil fuels. Gasification, pyrolysis, plasmas, and many different chemical and electrochemical oxidation and reduction methods are out there, and are being used today at industrial scale. When they can be made to work, the issues are cost, reliability, system longevity, emissions (creation of new hazards, e.g. dioxins), materials handling, feedstock variability, etc. etc. The key is to inject sufficient energy into the material to break the chemical bonds, for example, to get it hot enough for long enough (dwell time).

NxtPhase Optical I, V Transducers for High Voltage

NxtPhase Optical I, V Transducers for High Voltage

NxtPhase Corp., Vancouver BC, has developed a family of optical sensors to measure current, voltage, and power in high voltage power systems. These devices appear to be on the verge of becoming a commercial reality, and offer high accuracy, bandwidth and dynamic range. Integrated into the all-digital electronic substation measurement and control system of the future, they will help revolutionize metering, protection, and power quality management.

These optical voltage and current sensing technologies came out of two parallel independent development programs – one in the US and the other in Canada.

Current Sensor–
Honeywell applied fiber-optic gyro technology developed for demanding civil and military navigation applications to the measurement of current, and teamed with Texas A&M to produce a sensor. The first deployment was with Arizona Public Service at the Cholla Generating Station in 1997 where accuracy of 0.03 per cent has been demonstrated. Honeywell entered into a partnership NxtPhase, who has a complementary voltage technology and a similar market vision.

Voltage Sensor–
The other half of the NxtPhase story begins with Carmanah Engineering Ltd. – a successful hi-tech spin-off from the University of British Columbia (UBC). Carmanah, UBC and BC Hydro partnered to develop an integrated optic voltage sensing technology based on a unique electric field sensor called the Integrated Optic Pockels Cell (IOPC). Significant technological breakthroughs led to an extremely accurate optical voltage transducer that avoids the environmental concerns of alternative optical or conventional technologies. The first IOPC sensor was successfully deployed in 1997 at the Ingledow substation of BC Hydro.

Optical Voltage and Current Transducer–
The NXVCT combines both the optical voltage and current transducers in one instrument, over the range of transmission voltages from 69 kV to 765 kV.

Applications include:
– Accurate metering of independent power plants (The dynamic range means accuracy at 1 amp and at 100,000 amps. This can have substantial revenue implications, with the ability to measure power inflow when a plant is not producing power);
– High bandwidth monitoring of power plants, i.e. transients and harmonics; and
– High voltage power quality measurements, to diagnose equipment failures.

Very shortly a technology alliance with BC Hydro will be announced. BC Hydro will conduct field trials to test and demonstrate the devices at one of its high voltage substations to verify performance over time, and at various operating temperatures. The company is looking for customers, partners and investors. They are already in discussions with several UFTO companies and others.

For more information about the company and its products, the website is:

Richard MacKellar, CEO, NxtPhase Corp., Vancouver BC
604-215-9822 x 222,

Steve Dolling, Director, Marketing
604-215-9822 x233,

Further details on the technology are available:

“Design Options Using Optical Current and Voltage Transducers
in a High Voltage Substation”
IEEE PES Substation Committee Annual Meeting May 1, 2000
Powerpoint presentation gives a good overview.

Here is the first page of each of two articles, and links for the pdf downloads.

“Optical Voltage Transducers for High-Voltage Applications”

Optical methods for the measurement of current and voltage in high-voltage (HV) environments have been attracting more and more attention in the recent years. This is mostly due to the advantages that they offer over conventional instrument transformers. They provide immunity to electromagnetic interference, are typically non-intrusive, provide excellent galvanic isolation, are much lighter and, therefore, easier to transport and install. Early work on optical current and voltage sensing in the HV environment started in the 1970’s [1-5] leading to more practical and accurate systems developed in the 1980’s and 1990’s [6-13]. Also, at the commercial level, current sensing technology (both for technical and economical reasons) led voltage sensing technology. In this paper, we present results obtained using NxtPhase’s optical voltage transducer, NXVT.

Most practical optical voltage sensors use electric field sensors that operate using the linear electro-optic (or Pockels) effect. It should be noted that the sensors themselves are, strictly speaking, electric field sensors and not voltage sensors. However, various means of getting a one-to-one relationship between the voltage applied and the electric field sensed are used to derive voltage. For example the entire voltage can be applied across the electro-optic crystal, or a capacitive divider can be used to apply a well-known fraction of the voltage to be measured across an optical electric field sensors. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these methods. Nevertheless, most successful devices in the past have used optical fibers for the transmission of light, bulk electric field sensors as sensing elements, and SF6 gas for insulation.

The NXVT introduced here combines the typical benefits of optical sensing technology with some additional features that provide further benefits to the user. For example, it does not use SF6 or oil-paper insulation, making it more environmentally friendly and much safer to use. The NXVT uses multiple miniature electric field sensors inside a high-quality post insulator, in a proprietary manner, to measure voltage with high accuracy.


“Optical Current Transducers for High Voltage Applications”

Over the past 15 years, optical current sensors have received significant attention by a number of research groups around the world as next generation high voltage measurement devices, with a view to replacing iron-core current transformers in the electric power industry. Optical current sensors bring the significant advantages that they are non-conductive and lightweight, which can allow for much simpler insulation and mounting designs. In addition, optical sensors do not exhibit hysteresis and provide a much larger dynamic range and frequency response than iron-core CTs.

A common theme of many of the optical current sensors is that they work on the principle of the Faraday effect. Current flowing in a conductor induces a magnetic field, which, through the Faraday effect, rotates the plane of polarization of the light traveling in a sensing path encircling the conductor. Ampere’s law guarantees that if the light is uniformly sensitive to magnetic field all along the sensing path, and the sensing path defines a closed loop, then the accumulated rotation of the plane of polarization of the light is directly proportional to the current flowing in the enclosed wire. The sensor is insensitive to all externally generated magnetic fields such as those created by currents flowing in nearby wires. A measurement of the polarization state rotation thus yields a measurement of the desired current.

The optical current transducer being developed by NxtPhase (the NXCT) is an offshoot from the Honeywell fiber optic gyro program. Honeywell has been producing fiber optic gyros for a variety of commercial aviation applications since 1992. Extensive life and reliability testing has been carried out on the product to meet the stringent flight qualification criteria. Early on, Honeywell realized that this technology, with only minor modifications, could be applied to the field of current sensing, and a program to diversify into this area was maintained by Honeywell for several years. In late 1999, Honeywell joined with Carmanah Engineering to launch NxtPhase with the charter of commercializing the technology.

Principle of Operation
The NXCT uses the Faraday effect, but in a different architecture than the more well known polarimetric technique. The NXCT is a fiber optic current sensor and it works on the principle that the magnetic field, rather than rotating a linearly polarized light wave, changes the velocities of circularly polarized light waves within a sensing fiber wound around the current carrying conductor [1]. The effect is the same Faraday effect but differently formulated. We have found in our experience and heritage from the Honeywell fiber-optic gyroscope program that, for a variety of reasons, it is easier to accurately measure changes in light velocity than changes in polarization state. Chief among these reasons is that by using a velocity measurement scheme, we do not need to construct the sensing region from annealed fiber which is brittle and difficult to work with in a production environment.

Flue gas heat recovery and air pollution control

Simple in concept, FLU-ACE has accomplished something that many others have tried unsuccessfully to do for a long time, and they have plants that have been operating for over 10 years. Their condensing heat exchanger system replaces the stack in combustion systems, recovering almost all of the waste heat, and removing most of the emissions. With modifications, it even can remove up to 50% of the CO2.

It can be thought of as pollution control that pays for itself in fuel savings–or visa versa. Water is sprayed into the hot flue gas, both cooling and cleaning it. The water is then collected, passed through a heat exchanger to recover the heat, and treated to neutralize the acidity and remove contaminants.

Condensing heat exchangers aren’t new, but they normally can be used only when the hot gas is reasonably clean. FLU-ACE can handle any kind of gas, even if it contains particulates, acids and unburned hydrocarbons. Conventional wisdom holds that corrosion, plugging and clogging should defeat this approach, but FLU-ACE has overcome problems with its patented design. Systems show no degradation after years of operation. It has even been qualified for use with biomedical incinerator exhaust.

Industrial boilers and cogeneration plants are ideal applications. The installed base includes district heating systems, sewage treatment plants, hospitals, pulp and paper mills, and university campuses. Heat recovery is even greater when the exhaust gas is high in moisture content, e.g. in paper mills and sewage treatment. The largest system to date is 15 MW thermal, but there is no limit on the size.

A fossil power plant could use about 15% of the recovered heat for makeup water heating, so the economics are better when there are nearby uses for the heat. The company really wants to do a coal burning power plant–a slipstream demo could be the first step.

The company is a small publicly traded Canadian firm (symbol TMG – Alberta Stock Exchange). They have a dormant U.S. subsidiary, and are seeking U.S. partners, joint ventures and alliances for market expansion.

For further information:
Gustav Pliva, Exec. Vice President
Thermal Energy International Inc.
Neapean (Ottawa), Ontario, Canada
613-723-6776 Fax: 613-723-7286 E-mail:
Web Site –

(UFTO first reported on FLU ACE in October ’95)
The following materials are excerpted from the company’s website:

The unique FLU-ACE technology is a combined heat recovery and air pollution control system, which recovers up to 90% of the heat normally wasted in hot chimney flue gases. FLU-ACE substantially reduces the emission of “Greenhouse Gases” (including C02), “Acid Gases” (including SOx), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), unburned hydrocarbons (such as THC and VOCs), and particulates (such as soot and fly ash). It eliminates the need for a conventional tall smoke stack or chimney.

Thermal Energy International Inc. has built eleven FLU-ACE Air Pollution Control and Heat Recovery Systems in Canada. All of Thermal’s FLU-ACE installations in Ontario have been approved by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy. The life expectancy of the FLU-ACE system is at least thirty-five to forty years. In December 1997, the company received patent protection in 42 countries; the US patent is expected early in 1998.

Low NOx FLU-ACE provides a payback on investment and is self financing from the savings that it generates for the industry user. The company is able to provide “Off-Balance” Sheet financing or 3rd party financing options for acquisition of its FLU-ACE technology by industrial and institutional buyers.

Using a direct-contact gas-to-liquid mass transfer and heat exchange concept, the system is designed to process flue gas from combustion of fossil fuels, waste derived fuels, waste, biomass, etc. The FLU-ACE System is configured as a corrosion resistant alloy steel tower at a fraction of the size of any conventional stack. All of the hot flue gas from one source or multiple sources (including co-gen and boilers) are redirected into the FLU-ACE tower, where it is cooled to within one to two degrees of the primary water return temperature, which enters the tower typically at between 16°C (60°F) and 32°C (90°F) depending on the season and outside air temperature. The heat (both latent and sensible) from the flue gas is transferred to the primary water which then reaches up to 63°C (145°F) and with special design up to 85°C (185°F), and circulated to various heat users.

FLU-ACE most sophisticated version (HP) reduces air pollutant emissions by over 99% including particulate down to 0.3 micrometers in size, and simultaneously recovers 80-90% of the heat in the flue gas normally exhausted into the atmosphere. This results in a reduction of fuel consumption by the facility up to 50%.

7th Intl Conf on Cold Fusion

7th International Conference on Cold Fusion (ICCF-7)
April 19 – 24, 1998
Vancouver Trade & Conventional Centre
Vancouver, Canada

The study of low energy induced nuclear reactions in solids has continued to mature, and many new and compelling scientific findings are becoming known. ICCF-7 provides a unique international forum for direct interaction among top scientists in the field. The quality and diversity of on-going research and commercial implications make ICCF-7 an important event that should not be missed.

ICCF-7 Secretariat
391-B Chipeta Way
Salt Lake City, Utah 84108 USA

Phone (801) 583-2000 Fax (801) 583-6245


Rotating Chairperson for ICCF-7:
Mr. F. Jaeger (USA)
Honorary Co-Chairpersons Emeritus:
Dr. Martin Fleischmann (UK), Dr. Stanley Pons (France)

Committee Members:
Prof. T. Bressani (Italy), Prof. G. Preparata (Italy), Prof. H. Ikegami (Japan), Prof. N. Samsonenko (Russia), Mr. R. Machacek (Canada), Prof. C. Sanchez (Spain), Dr. M. McKubre (USA), Dr. F. Scaramuzzi (Italy), Mr. K. Namba (Japan), Dr. M. Srinivasan (India), Prof. M. Okamoto (Japan), Prof. X.Z. Li (China)

Scientific Chairman: Prof. G. Miley – Univ. of Illinois
Organizing Chairman: Mr. Fred Jaeger – ENECO

Prof. P. Hagelstein – M.I.T., Prof. R. Oriani – Univ. of Minnesota, Prof Y. Kim – Purdue , Dr. T. Passell – EPRI, Dr. Y. Kucherov – ENECO, Mr. R. Machacek – Ontario Hydro, Dr. Carol Storms – Los Alamos (retired), Dr. E. Storms – Los Alamos (retired), Dr. D. Nagel – Naval Research Lab, Dr. F. Tanzella – SRI

Sep 26, 1997 — Official call for one-page abstracts.
Nov 1, 1997 — Deadline for abstracts & registration for presenters.
Jan 1, 1998 — Conference fee increases to $500 USD.
Jan 15, 1998 — Final notification of oral or poster status.
Jan 30, 1998 — Final amendments for abstracts to be published
in ICCF-7 Program Manual and website.
Apr 19, 1998 — Deadline for final papers for inclusion in the
ICCF-7 Proceedings (distributed – Summer ’98)
Apr 19-24th — Vancouver, Canada


08:30 – 09:10 — Invited presentation of the day’s topic.
09:10 – 09:30 — Follow-up discussion and questions.
09:30 – 09:55 — Oral presentation #1 *
09:55 – 10:20 — Morning break
10:20 – 10:45 — Oral presentation #2
10:45 – 11:10 — Oral presentation #3
11:10 – 11:35 — Oral presentation #4
11:35 – 12:00 — Oral presentation #5

12:00 – 13:30 — Lunch

13:30 – 15:00 — 15-20 oral previews of poster presenters (3-5 min/ea)
15:00 – 15:30 — Afternoon break
15:30 – 17:30 — Poster presentations

19:30 – 20:30 — Evening workshops; three nights

* Regular oral presentations will be 20 minutes followed with a 5 minute question and answer period. All oral presenters in the morning will also host a poster follow-up session in afternoon.
November 24, 1997

Significant attention has been drawn to harmful effects that growing fossil fuel emissions have on the environment. Clearly, non-polluting alternative energy sources must be developed to maintain ecological balances and to sustain economic growth.

“Cold Fusion”, a new area of energy research, has the potential to provide economical, clean energy for the next century. The field has steadily evolved to its present form as the study of low energy induced nuclear reactions in solids. It has grown into a diversified, international area of research involving hundreds of scientists from many highly respected laboratories.

An International Conference on Cold Fusion (ICCF) is held every 18 months to present laboratory results and to exchange ideas for the advancement of scientific knowledge for this promising new field. The 7th international conference, ICCF-7, will be held in Vancouver, Canada next April 19th-24th.

We are seeking financial support from your organization for the ICCF-7 scholarship fund. Conference organizers want to ensure the presentation of the broadest possible peer-reviewed work, regardless of the financial ability of the presenting researcher. Every $5,000 of financial sponsorship will cover basic local expenses and fees for up to five research scientists at ICCF-7. Scholarship recipients can often obtain the balance of travel expenses from their institutes once they have early assurance that their basic local expenses are covered under our cost-sharing scholarship program.

Please let me know if your organization is willing to help fund the ICCF-7 scholarship program for presenting scientists. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely, Fred Jaeger, Organizing Chairman

International Climate Change Exhibition

From: FUELCELL–SMTP Date and time 03/27/96 10:15:00
Subject: International Climate Change Exhibit I am writing to draw your attention to the International Climate Change Technology Exhibit being held as part of the second Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP2), Geneva, Switzerland, July 8-18, 1996.
Participation in the exhibit will provide you with a unique opportunity to meet key decision-makers from around the world who set priorities and implement national and global climate change projects.
Some 1500 delegates will attend COP2, including members of national delegations, international financial institutions and United Nations and inter-governmental organizations.
The exhibit is being organized by the Government of Canada, in cooperation with the Climate Change Secretariat. Its purpose is to encourage an exchange of ideas between delegates and exhibitors on the role of proven technologies, services and project concepts that help control greenhouse gas emissions.
Exhibits will include technologies that reduce all forms of greenhouse has emissions (CO2, CH4, N2O) across all relevant industrial sectors. Most are expected to target energy efficiency and energy substitution or the reduction, capture and reuse/conversion of greenhouse gasses.
The exhibit will consist of between 15-20 booths through which three groups of exhibitors will be rotated during the period of the COP. Thus a maximum of 60 organizations from around the world will be able to participate.
For further information, please consult the International Climate Change Exhibit World Wide Web site ( or contact:
Roy Woodbridge
International Climate Change Exhibit Office Suite A
78 George Street Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1N 5W1
Tel: 613-789-1660 Fax: 613-789-0539 email: