Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) announced that he secured $2,000,000 in federal funding for NanoDynamics Inc, a leading company in the rapidly growing field of nanotechnology, located along Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. The funding will be used for the design and construction of a fuel cell system operating through the use of methane gas, a by-product of many water treatment facilities. The technology can be used to ensure that water treatment facilities can operate without grid power in an emergency situation or due to terrorism. The funding was included in the Energy & Water Appropriations bill in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Biomass and Biorefinery Systems Research and Development program passed by the House of Representatives last night. The Energy & Water Appropriations bill will now proceed to the Senate.
“Keeping Western New York’s water clean in times of natural emergency, natural disaster, or terror attack is critical,” said Congressman Higgins. “We cannot always depend on traditional electricity sources to power the machinery to keep our water clean. The availability of an independent energy source which will continue to keep our water clean during an emergency is essential. Congressman Reynolds and I both know the crucial role of clean water and the importance of this type of research to our region; I applaud NanoDynamics for their cutting edge research and for making Buffalo a leader in this field.”
“This investment is great news for Western New York’s economy and alternative energy research,” added Congressman Reynolds. “Over the past two weeks in our area we have seen investments in a new ethanol plant, a Bio-reactor, and now this program which will assure safe and continued water supply during emergencies is critical to economic development and continued job creation. I am proud to have worked with Congressman Higgins on this critical investment.”
The availability of clean water is critical to our nation. The single most significant expense in operating a water treatment facility is electrical power. Without power, for any extended period of time, these facilities would be unable to address the industrial and residential needs of our communities. One by-product of waste water treatment is methane gas. Many, if not most, water treatment facilities burn this gas and recover little, if any, value from its heat. Recent advances by NanoDynamics in the use of nanotechnology and nanomaterials have resulted in a solid oxide fuel cell technology which is capable of operating on a wide range of hydrocarbon fuels, including methane. Fuel cells generate electricity without noise, without external power sources, and are environmentally friendly. The waste products of a fuel cell are heat, water, and carbon dioxide.
This project is intended to design and construct a demonstration fuel cell, enabled by nanotechnology, which can be fueled by the “waste” methane gas being generated in a water treatment facility; generating “free” electricity for the facility and providing the potential of fully independent operation in the time of power disruption – due to natural emergencies or terrorism.