The U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) is running a promotion called “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator Challenge.” This is part of the Startup America initiative that makes it easier for small start-up companies to use technology developed by the DOE’s 17 national laboratories plus the Y-12 National Security Complex.
On the front of the DOE’s Innovator Challenge page are 14 startup companies that are using government technology to create products for businesses and consumers. Visitors to the website are able to “Like” the most promising products.
Voting ends Monday, February 6 at 8:59 a.m. EST so there is still time to give a thumbs up for your favorite. Currently in the number 2 position according to votes is a company called Element One.
This company has developed hydrogen safety technology to detect leaks. Hydrogen by nature is colorless and odorless and adding a color or odor to hydrogen could damage the durability of fuel cells used in the transportation industry. So Element One has found an alternative.
According to Susan Leach of Element One, “We have patented the only available coatings for the detection of hydrogen that change color reversibly or non-reversibly as desired to give both current and historical information about leaked hydrogen. Our detection products will change the paradigm in the way hydrogen leaks are detected, achieving a new level of safety in existing industrial and emerging consumer environments. These technologies could be used in new devices to alleviate concerns about hydrogen safety in consumer environments with the introduction of hydrogen cars.”
There is a video on the DOE website that explains in more detail the merits of this process of visual detection of hydrogen leaks especially as it has to do with the H2 car industry. This product adds a new level of hydrogen safety to an emerging industry where concerns have been voiced for many years.