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Saving the planet by splitting a molecule

Zinc hydrolysis produces green hydrogen below DOE’s target price


Diagram showing the four steps of the Blackstone Method of green hydrogen production Blackstone Green Energy has developed a method for producing green hydrogen via zinc hydrolysis. The “Blackstone Method” is described in two patent-pending applications for production and distribution. As discussed below, hydrolysis produces hydrogen much more efficiently and less expensively than electrolysis.

What makes us different

  • Closed-circuit method produces 100% green hydrogen without any toxic emissions (unlike steam methane reforming)
  • No grid electricity required (unlike electrolysis)
  • Cost per kilogram significantly less than DOE Gasoline Gallon Equivalent (GGE) target price
  • Zinc supply comes from our wholly owned, patented, 100-acre ore deposit in southwest Idaho

  • How it works
    Blackstone zinc ore is ground and fumed, and water is injected into the fumes. The resulting hydrolytic reaction produces hydrogen and zinc oxide. Second-stage firing of the remaining calcine also produces matte bullion of copper, silver, lead, gold, and manganese. Sales of matte bullion offset much of our costs.

    Zinc oxide is shipped to a solar-powered plant for dissociation to zinc powder. Zinc powder is then shipped to hydrogen dispensaries equipped with hydrolysis reactors that convert zinc powder into green hydrogen and more zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is then shipped back to the dissociation plant for reconversion to zinc powder and the process begins anew. One charge of zinc powder can be reused multiple times.

Advantages of the Blackstone Method

  • More efficient and less expensive than other production methods
  • No need for grid-generated electricity to produce hydrogen
  • 100% clean and green
  • Operates entirely closed-circuit
  • Burns no fossil fuels
  • Releases no toxic emissions
  • Hydrogen can be produced at point of distribution
  • Tube trucks not required for transporting hydrogen to dispensaries
  • Cost of dispensary construction less than 25% of current baseline
  • Reduces size of dispensary footprint
  • Hydrogen-compatible ore comes from our wholly owned and federally patented 100-acre zinc deposit
  • Also yields matte bullion of copper, lead, silver, and gold

Value of the Blackstone ore body

As shown in the tables below, the hydrogen value of the proven zinc reserves is $60,582,980 and the hydrogen value of the probable zinc reserves is $317,454,815. The matte-bullion value of the proven hydrogen-compatible ore reserves is $43,691,210 and the matte-bullion value of the probable hydrogen-compatible ore reserves is $228,917,324. The estimated total value of the explored portion of the Blackstone ore body is $650,646,328. To date, less than one percent of the entire ore body has been explored.

Blackstone zinc reserves (as powder for hydrolysis) as of 02/10/21
PROVEN1 (35,500 tons)
%/ton Kilograms 10x Redox2 GGE/Kg3 Hydrogen value
8.5 2,742,304 23,035.354 $2.63 $60,582,980
PROBABLE4 (186,000 tons)
8.5 14,369,673 120,705,253 $2.63 $317,454,815
Blackstone hydrogen-compatible ore reserves as of 02/10/21
PROVEN1 (35,500 tons)
Metal Ozs/ton Lbs/ton Price Matte bullion value
Gold 0.106 - $1844.00 $6,938,972
Silver 23.53 - $27.51 $22,979,516
Copper - 98.8 $3.68 $12,907,232
Manganese - 23.0 $1.06 $865,490
Total matte-bullion value $43,691,210
PROBABLE4 (186,000 tons)
Gold 0.106 - $1844.00 $35,356,304
Silver $23.53 - $27.51 $120,399,716
Copper - 98.8 $3.68 $67,626,624
Manganese - 23 $1.06 $4,534,680
Total matte-bullion value $228,917,324
    1Proven reserves are the economically mineable part of a measured resource for which a preliminary feasibility study demonstrates that economic extraction could be reasonably justified with a high degree (90 percent or better) of confidence.
    2Assumes Zn:H2 production ratio of 1:1 and 10x reuse of the Redox pair at 84 percent efficiency. See: Hamed, et al., 2008, "Hydrolysis of Evaporated Zn in a Hot Wall Flow Reactor,"ASME J of Sol Energy Eng. 130, pp. 041010(1)-041010(6).
    3Gasoline Gallon Equivalent (GGE) is the amount of alternative fuel it takes to equal the energy content of one liquid gallon of gasoline. One gallon of gasoline is equal to 3.9 gallons of hydrogen.
    4Probable reserves are the economically mineable part of a measured or indicated resource for which a preliminary feasibility study demonstrates that economic extraction could be reasonably justified with a degree of confidence lower than that applying to proven reserves (at least 50 percent, but less than 90 percent).

The Blackstone ore body consists of five claims (~100 acres) that were federally patented in 1903 by former Idaho Governor James H. Hawley in the name of Blackstone Green Energy’s parent corporation. A patented claim is one for which the federal government has actually passed title to the claimant, making it private land. A mineral patent gives the owner exclusive title to the locatable minerals, as well as all surface and below-surface resources. The five patented claims are the Kentucky, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, and Oregon claims (Mineral Survey No. 1662), more particularly described in Book 15 of Patents at page 407, et seq., in the Office of the County Recorder, Elmore County, Idaho. All claims have been wholly owned in fee simple title for more than a century.

Commercialization plan

Blackstone Green Energy is a development-stage company. Our commercialization plan consists of three stages.

  • Stage one will involve the construction of a hydrogen-fueled pilot plant (10 tons per day capacity), producing zinc oxide and matte bullion, and manufacturing prototype reactors for local hydrogen production via the Blackstone Method.
  • Stage two will involve constructing a centralized dissociation facility to produce zinc powder for existing hydrogen filling stations in the western United States, allowing them to dispense inexpensive green hydrogen.
  • Stage three will involve constructing up to 23 additional hydrogen filling stations (outfitted with Blackstone Method reactors) to supplement existing refueling infrastructure. Limited refueling options currently make hydrogen fuel cell vehicles impractical for all but local, short-range travel. Building a true “hydrogen highway” will require numerous hydrogen dispensaries that can be supplied with inexpensive green hydrogen. We believe the Blackstone Method solves this problem.

Electrolysis: Not as green as you think

Pick up almost any article on green hydrogen and you’ll probably see the term “electrolysis.” Electrolysis uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen inside a unit called an electrolyzer, which can range in size from small home units to large centralized equipment.

Inherent inefficiencies
Unfortunately, hydrogen produced by electrolysis is neither efficient nor necessarily green. Electrolysis requires massive amounts of electricity — as much as 4½ times more energy than the hydrogen produced. If the electricity is not produced from renewable resources, the environmental costs outweigh the benefits. The Department of Energy has stated that today’s electrical power grid is not suitable for electrolysis because of inefficient production methods and greenhouse gas emissions.

In contrast, the Blackstone Method of zinc hydrolysis uses concentrated solar energy to produce hydrogen from water without the inefficient and expensive step of electrolysis. Hydrolysis allows us to produce green hydrogen at a cost less than the Department of Energy's GGE target price of $2.30 per kilogram. And because the Blackstone ore deposit contains a variety of other valuable metals (copper, silver, gold, and lead), which are produced as a matte-bullion byproduct of the Blackstone Method, our net production cost is actually -$1.48 per kilogram.



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