NASA Taps Central Ohio Company to Provide Energy Storage to the Moon

By December 1, 2020 3   min read  (605 words)

December 1, 2020 |

NASA Taps Central Ohio Company to Provide Energy Storage to the Moon

COLUMBUS Ohio – Power to Hydrogen, a startup company in the heart of Ohio with a mission to accelerate society’s transition to a clean energy economy here on earth has the potential to reach even farther – all the way to the moon.  

Power to Hydrogen (P2H2), of Columbus, Ohio is benefitting from a $3.4 million NASA Tipping Point contract for lunar energy storage. The funded project provides a boost for Clean Energy Bridge™, a reversible fuel cell technology invented at material science company pH Matter and being commercialized by P2H2.

NASA’s Tipping Point program is reserved for technologies that have been proven to a great extent but would benefit from investment to accelerate maturation. According to the program description, “a technology is considered at a tipping point if an investment in a demonstration will significantly mature the technology, increase the likelihood of infusion into a commercial space application, and bring the technology to market for both government and commercial applications.” This describes well P2H2’s Clean Energy Bridge that can effectively provide energy storage on the moon and also be used to convert renewable energy – such as solar and wind – to hydrogen for use as fuel or converted back to electricity to be used during peak times or when renewable energy generation assets are not producing power.

In practical terms, this means that excess solar energy collected during the moon’s “daytime” – which lasts 14 earth days, can be banked in Clean Energy Bridge™ to provide electricity to a future lunar base during the equally long lunar night. The hydrogen that is stored can also be tapped for other uses on the moon such as transportation fuel or as an ingredient in producing
materials on the moon.

NASA’s Tipping Point nod is essentially saying that this Buckeye State tech has great promise to help enable further space exploration and commercial efforts.

“When we began development of Clean Energy Bridge, our intent was to help accelerate the clean energy economy here on earth,” said Dr. Paul Matter, P2H2 Chief Technology Officer. “In fact, once we proved our initial concepts and design, we attracted attention from the green energy sector as well as international energy companies like Shell– and they’re now a strategic partner.”

“We’re excited about the Tipping Point Award and would love to see our tech on the moon. However, our real mission at Power to Hydrogen is to improve things here on Earth,” said P2H2’s CEO Tad Dritz, who is a veteran of both the fossil fuel and green energy industries.

“Clean Energy Bridge holds great promise to supply low cost, zero-carbon fuel for fleet vehicles from lift trucks to buses, trucks and trains, act as a hub of renewably powered microgrids, and improve the economics of utility-scale wind and solar installations,” Dritz added.

For the past year, Dritz worked closely with inventors of the core technology, Matter and Christopher Holt, pH Matter COO, to establish P2H2. Despite the pandemic’s effects on travel and the like, Dritz and team have accelerated P2H2’s activities over the summer and fall. In that time, the startup has secured support from partners, added personnel in business development and engineering, and established an office on the northside of Columbus.

Matter and Holt previously founded pH Matter in 2010 to develop innovative materials to be used for advanced energy storage solutions. Along the way they’ve developed and sold specialized materials to customers as varied as the U.S. Dept. of Defense, and automotive OEMs.

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