Charles McCoy, representing MSEnergy, presented the drawing of a prototype cold molecular fission reactor to the New Madrid City Council Monday evening and explained the process it would use to produce electricity from water.
The process, which McCoy called cold molecular fission, splits water molecules using electrolysis. The hydrogen then becomes the fuel and the oxygen the oxidizer to power a turbine generator.
McCoy said the company would construct its prototype plant on about five acres of land located on the southside if Highway U, near the northwest edge of New Madrid. The initial plant would generate seven megawatts of electricity of which two megawatts would be needed to power the plant and the other five megawatts would be sold.
"This is cheaper than coal or nuclear power," he said, adding there are no harmful byproducts such as carbon dioxide. "In fact it has no byproducts and is a totally closed system."
While McCoy envisioned the initial use of the plant for power, he pointed out the automotive industry is considering alternate sources of fuel including hydrogen. Such a plant could provide the hydrogen needed to power such vehicles of the future, he said.
"This is a new technology," McCoy explained. "Once this pilot project is completed and working we will know how this will work best."
In a news release, McCoy stated the technology and machinery are standard. What would make this plant different is how it is arranged. He credits Mike Requadt, the man behind MSEnergy, as the developer of the new arrangement.
Bob Neubert, who also attended the council meeting to promote the project, emphasized that while 99 percent of the technology has been in existence, Requadt has pulled it together in unique way. Patents on the reactor process are pending, Neubert said.
"We see the clock as ticking. We want to see this produced in the U.S. otherwise someone from some other country will take this idea, develop it then import it back into the United States for sale to us," said McCoy.
McCoy said the company is working with government officials on grants which would fund the proposed $18-20 million project. Ideally, he continued, construction could begin in June with the plant up and running within a year.
Once completed the plant would initially require some 12 to 24 persons to operate the facility round-the-clock, McCoy said. Many of the jobs, he predicted, could be filled by local residents willing to receive the necessary training. Also he indicated the company would make every effort during the construction to use products produced in the United States.
"We are amazed how things are fitting together so quickly," said McCoy, who praised local officials and individuals for their willingness to work with the new company. The proposed location is one of the sites earmarked by the city as industrial property for development owned privately by Hunter Enterprises.
There is a market for the power, McCoy said, noting companies nearby and across state lines which have needs for power. And he predicted "very inexpensive power will more than likely attract new industries."