LONG BEACH, Calif. -- InnovaTek Inc. and Seattle BioFuels Inc. have announced the first successful production of hydrogen from 100-percent biodiesel in a microchannel steam reformer.

InnovaTek's reforming system was initially developed to produce hydrogen from fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel. This is the first time a renewable fuel source has been used to produce hydrogen in a microchannel steam reformer to power emission-free fuel cells.

In addition to biodiesel, InnovaTek has also used its technology to produce hydrogen from glycerol (a by-product of biodiesel production), and the raw soybean oil that is used to manufacture the biodiesel fuel. The use of glycerol as a source for hydrogen has the additional advantage of producing a valuable commodity from a by-product of biodiesel production. This benefit contributes favorably to the economics of biodiesel as a fuel that is competitive with petroleum diesel fuel, the company said.

InnovaTek, a leader in sustainable power production, has successfully demonstrated the ability to generate hydrogen from pure biodiesel (B100) produced at the Seattle Biodiesel production facility. Biodiesel is a clean-burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. The fuel can be burned directly in diesel engines without any modifications to the engine. For cleaner, more efficient electrical power production, biodiesel can be reformed to produce hydrogen for a fuel cell.

Since hydrogen is a secondary energy carrier, the complete fuel cycle from primary energy source to final application must be considered when judging its environmental relevance. The advantage of H2 production from biomass is that renewable energy sources can be used, thereby reducing reliance on fossil fuels and eliminating pollutant and climate-affecting emissions.

Martin Tobias, Seattle BioFuels chairman and CEO, said, "Using the InnovaGen(R) fuel processor, we can open up new markets for biodiesel and a former waste product, glycerol, further improving the environmental footprint of our facilities. We are excited to partner with InnovaTek to open these new markets."

InnovaTek is presenting its paper, "Hydrogen Production from Bio-Diesel Fuel in a Microchannel Steam Reformer," at the National Hydrogen Association Annual Conference this week. This year's conference is emphasizing the use of renewable energy in the production of hydrogen.

InnovaTek Inc. is a Richland, Wash., based company which creates technologies for environmental safety and sustainable power. The company is a leader in portable fuel processing technology and advanced catalysts for hydrogen production from petroleum and renewable fuels. Its InnovaGen(R) fuel processor has been demonstrated to produce hydrogen efficiently from diesel, jet fuel, biodiesel, vegetable oil, glycerol, gasoline, propane, natural gas and methanol.

Founded in 2003, Seattle BioFuels Inc. is a national leader in next-generation biodiesel refining and manufacturing technology. Seattle BioFuels is the first company in the Pacific Northwest to open and operate a commercial-scale ASTM-certified biodiesel refinery, Seattle Biodiesel. Using proprietary technology, the company produces a diesel-fuel alternative made from vegetable oil.

SOURCE: Seattle BioFuels Inc. via PR Newswire.