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4 December, 2006 - 12:11 By Staff Reporter

MoD sees potential in ITM

Saffron Walden-based alternative energy innovator, ITM power has signed a deal with the MoD with the aim of using its hydrogen technology to make a host of government vehicles more fuel efficient, more powerful and less polluting.ITM will be collaborating with ABRO, a trading fund of the Ministry of Defence, which maintains vehicles and equipment from the British armed forces and also emergency services, local authorities and airports.

The purpose, the partners said, is to employ ITM's technology to improve the fuel efficiency and pollution control of the diesel engines operated and maintained by ABRO in military and civilian environments. They aim to develop a number of equipment packages,designed for retro fitting to vehicles, which will be rigorously tested to establish the operational and commercial potential in a range of scenarios.

The two organisations said they anticipate that “significant mutual commercial benefits will result from the successful completion of this programme.”

The stockmarket agreed, with AIM-listed ITM's shares rising 8 per cent to 133.5p. No further news is expected to be announced until the completion of the tests, which could take more than 6 months.

The cooperation of the two companies looks to further initial work done by ITM with the University of Hertfordshire in it carried out a number of tests, reporting that the addition of hydrogen to a diesel engine had a “positive impact in the compression ignition combustion process.”

ITM have also announced the development of a home refuelling system for a bi-fuel car which is intended to “demonstrate ability to refuel an existing petrol engined car with hydrogen anywhere that has access to water and electricity.”

If the project progresses as expected, June of next year would see the rolling out of an ‘electrolyser home refuelling system’ and a bi-fuel vehicle capable of running on hydrogen for up to 25 miles before switching to petrol for longer journeys.

An electrolyser converts water and electricity into hydrogen and oxygen which can be used as gases for combustion engines, fuel cells, heating and generating electricity. The US Department of Energy aims for electrolysers to be reduced in cost from $2000 to $300 per kW by the year 2010. Research conducted by ITM has achieved costs as low as $164 per kW.

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