Nanotechnology Holds a Key to U.S. Alternative Energy GoalsRENO, Nev.--June 14, 2006--Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. CEO and President Alan J. Gotcher, PhD, will brief the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday, June 14 on the important role Altairnano could play in the deployment of alternative energy sources, including those that could be used to power electric automobiles, critical facilities and installations, and a diverse range of military applications
Although Altairnano is operating on a variety of promising fronts, Dr. Gotcher said the company's work on nano lithium ion battery materials appears to embody the greatest near-term potential for significant real world applications.
"We are developing an advanced lithium ion battery: affordable, environmentally clean, with a range of operational capabilities applicable to high power uses that no conventional battery can match," Dr. Gotcher will tell Congress. The end result could set a new baseline standard in energy storage and power delivery.
It's a timely development, Dr. Gotcher will tell lawmakers, as "it will take a major breakthrough in electrical power management if the U.S. is to make tangible, near-term achievements in reducing our nation's increasing dependence on foreign sources of petroleum and natural gas, and thereby enhancing national energy independence, while also reducing the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are produced by our growing energy consumption."
Dr. Gotcher will demonstrate the impact the Altairnano battery technology could have with a number of examples of its potential use in a variety of applications. The examples will describe the potential of the technology, and in each case assume that independent third parties will make necessary investments into the products and related infrastructure to fully develop the applications. These examples will include:
Auto Industry Applications Advanced batteries of the type Altairnano is developing could enable the US auto industry to "leapfrog" the next generation of hybrid drive vehicles, where US industry and its technology are behind its Asian competitors, Dr. Gotcher will testify. An Altairnano battery sized for an average five-passenger sedan could enable automakers to design an all-electric vehicle with similar performance and comfort to today's internal combustion-engine cars, Dr. Gotcher will inform Congress. He will state that the Altairnano goal is to deliver battery capabilities that could provide a sedan with a 200-plus-mile driving range, no degradation of operation over that entire distance; a recharge time of under 6 minutes (or about the time it takes to fill the tank of a large SUV); a battery that is completely safe from explosion or leakage of hazardous contents, and not least, no carbon dioxide emissions of any kind. "As an indirect benefit, we believe that we will not have to compromise technical and economic competitiveness in the auto industry in order to have cleaner air," Dr. Gotcher will state. "Such a vehicle is not 20 years away. Cars based on the Altairnano battery technology could be in the market much sooner provided the automotive manufacturers decide to design and produce them, and the power recharging station infrastructure is built." Stationary Power Applications Dr. Gotcher will describe how existing telephone and communications networks (commercial and military) rely upon an infrastructure of backup power based on lead acid batteries. He will state that these batteries typically require replacement every three years, and pose hazardous waste issues around both their manufacture and disposal. He will contrast this with nano lithium ion batteries based on Altairnano's technology, which are projected to have a life of possibly as much as 15-20 years and be fully reliable in all conditions; pose no hazardous materials issues; and can be economically competitive with lead acid batteries. Military Applications Dr. Gotcher will describe how at sea naval ships could improve electrical power availability and reduce fuel costs by deploying Altairnano's battery technology in a distributed power, 24x7 availability configuration. He will go on to illustrate how on land the US Army could replace "use-once-and-dispose" batteries with rechargeable batteries using Altairnano technology. The fast-charge (in minutes) capability of Altairnano's battery technology removes the obstacle of using conventional rechargeable (charge in hours) batteries. This could reduce deployment logistics and costs as well as improve the life of the US foot soldier. And he will finish with an example of potential battery deployment in air planes, missiles, and spacecraft which all need reliable power-on-demand, with very quick discharge rates, in batteries that can withstand temperature extremes without any serious degradation of capability. In many instances, Altairnano's nano lithium ion batteries could replace current batteries, with significantly less weight and taking up around half the space requirements--thus allowing for larger payloads, increased speeds, or extended range.
The Role of Government in Stimulating Innovation
Dr Gotcher will maintain that the US lead in nanotechnology will require close cooperation between government and industry. He will be encouraging Congress to continue funding research in this area and to achieving a regulatory environment that is realistic and based on facts. Dr Gotcher will state that the US present lead in nanotechnology will help us to gain the lead in alternative energy technology deployment, and thus lead to energy security--but only if government works with industry to regulate only what demonstrably needs to be regulated, and only to the degree that regulation is an effective aid to the industry and not a serious hindrance.
Dr. Gotcher's testimony on "Nanotechnology in Alternative Energy" will take place before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, on Wednesday, June 14, at 10 a.m., in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562. A live webcast of the presentation can be viewed at http://commerce.senate.gov/public/ . A copy of his testimony will be available on the company's website, www.altairnano.com, June 15, 2006.
ABOUT ALTAIR NANOTECHNOLOGIES INC.
Altairnano is an innovator and supplier of advanced ceramic nanomaterials. With a skilled team of scientists in its 100,000 square foot facility who, coupled in collaborative ventures with industry partners and leading academic centers, have developed a unique portfolio of intellectual property and novel products. These researchers are complemented by a seasoned management team with substantial experience in commercializing innovative, disruptive technologies.
Altairnano focuses on nanotechnology applications to enable new high-growth markets. In alternative energy Altairnano is pioneering new battery materials and systems. The company is applying nanotechnology to the development of drug candidates for humans and companion animals, coatings materials for implants, and materials for dental applications. Its high performance nanomaterials have applications in paints, coatings, and the treatment of water and air. The Altairnano Hydrochloride Pigment process, the first new patented pigment process in 50 years, is an environmentally friendly method for manufacturing white pigment used in paints, paper and plastic. For additional information visit www.altairnano.com.