Star Scientific is poised to make significant strides in the clean hydrogen sector with the establishment of a new research and manufacturing base in New Mexico. The company, known for its groundbreaking Hydrogen Energy Release Optimiser (HERO) technology, has committed AUD 100 million (approximately $63.45 million) to this initiative and recently formalized this commitment by signing a letter of intent with the government of New Mexico.
The ambitious project aims to create a sprawling research and manufacturing complex in Albuquerque, New Mexico, mirroring a facility Star Scientific plans to construct in Australia. This substantial investment is expected to bolster the company's presence in North America and cater to customers in the United States, Canada, and, initially, South America.
The HERO technology developed by Star Scientific is a game-changer in the field of clean hydrogen production. It catalyzes hydrogen and oxygen without the need for combustion, rapidly generating industrial-scale heat while avoiding the emission of greenhouse gases.
Andrew Horvath, Chairman of Star Scientific, highlighted the significance of this development, stating, “The facility in New Mexico will mirror the facility we will build in Australia, and it will service customers in the United States, Canada, and, initially, South America. We will be developing GHG-free process-heat systems for industry and stand-alone power systems while continuing research on other projects.”
The HERO technology revolves around a coating substance that, when applied to ceramics or specific metals, can achieve a remarkable temperature increase from 0°C to above 700°C in just three minutes. This remarkable capability opens up a plethora of applications, including off-grid power generation, desalination, and meeting the high-temperature requirements of heavy industrial production.
Horvath further elaborated on the technology, explaining, “Because it's not burning, it's a reaction, all that energy is excitement energy, and it goes straight through the substrate. So our energy transfer is above 90% into whatever you're transferring it to, whether it's water, CO2, whatever medium. HERO allows us to make saturated steam for energy production, or, in fact, any sort of heat-driven energy production – be it in industry, be it in food, or be it in mass energy production.”
Star Scientific is actively scouting for approximately 20 hectares of land in Albuquerque, where it intends to construct up to 10 buildings dedicated to administration, design, testing, manufacturing, and laboratory research. The project is anticipated to create employment opportunities for approximately 200 people.
The company is also in negotiations with the New Mexico Economic Development Department for incentives, which could include assistance from the Job-Creation Fund under the Local Economic Development Act and job training support. The company has set its sights on breaking ground in New Mexico by late 2024, marking a significant step forward in advancing clean hydrogen technology on a global scale.