A family of patents is also proposed, with new provisional patents already prepared. The new patents are intended to either expand the scope of operations, or provide protection for the original patent as the technology evolves.
A substantial amount of the R&D budget is already being ﬁnanced locally, through government grants for innovation and for promoting climate-friendly technology.
Land acquisition strategies are being prepared at regional scale. These may benefit from traditional lending institutions, as Proton proposes to enhance recovery and improve the value, profitability and sustainability of aging facilities and depleted reservoirs.
At this early stage an opportunity exists for investors to participate at the ground ﬂoor, helping the company address challenges in each region and each type of reservoir.
As the HEE technology becomes widely available, and hydrogen becomes available and affordable, the market will certainly respond. Initially this will certainly mean that fertilizer production becomes more profitable nearby the Troves. It will also generate an immediate increase in production of synthetic fuels and fuel additives.
HEE is on top of reservoirs, and is likely to be conveniently located for existing refineries. HEE hydrogen can immediately displace hydrogen from hydro-cracking (SMRs) – reducing both the cost and carbon footprint of oil and natural gas.
Another immediately application is electricity generation and thermal production. Hydrogen can be used almost anywhere, at any scale, to produce electricity – either from fuel cells or thermal generators. A steady supply of ‘green’ hydrogen by means of existing rail or pipeline can provide ideal peak-shaving and load-management tool for electrical utilities, and also a more efficient base for distributed electricity generation (with greatly reduced transmission losses).
Hydrogen from HEE is likely to be competitive on its own merits, and even more so as carbon taxes and air quality regulations restrict the use of oil, gas and coal.
In a hydrogen economy, hydrogen becomes a kind of energy currency, allowing for easy conversion, transport and storage of energy derived from multiple ‘green’ sources like wind and excess hydro. The challenge for such a hydrogen economy has always been the environmental and economic cost associated with production and transport, and these factors vary by region.
HEE will be especially attractive in regions that have easy access to oil or coal reservoirs, and where hydro electricity is limited, air quality is poor, and pure water is in short supply.
Initial simulations indicate a very competitive price for the hydrogen. Production costs are estimated to be below $0.50/kg (USD), compared with the current standard Steam Methane Reformers at $2 to $3/kg (USD).
Proton Technologies, in collaboration with the Gates Research Group, will continue to refine this simulation work throughout 2017, but preliminary results are in: