SOURCE: Altair Nanotechnologies

November 01, 2005 13:32 ET

Altair Nanotechnologies, University of Nevada Research Foundation and Alternative Energy Consortium Receive $2.5 Million Grant From U.S. Department of Energy

Altairnano to Receive $750,000 for Development of Solar Hydrogen Generation Cells

RENO, NV -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 1, 2005 -- Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALTI), in collaboration with the University of Nevada Las Vegas Research Foundation (UNLVRF), today announced the consortium has received a $2.5 million Phase III grant award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the joint development of solar hydrogen generation cells. Under the terms of the multi-year grant, Altairnano will receive $750,000 for collaborative research and development efforts through its subcontractor agreement with UNLVRF beginning October 1, 2005, and continuing through December 2006.

"This grant award is timely as the rapid development of alternative energy sources is more necessary than ever for the U.S.," commented Altair Nanotechnologies Chief Executive Officer and President, Alan J. Gotcher, Ph.D. "The consortium's two-pronged approach, which supports the National Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, is the joint development of a cell for direct hydrogen production from sunlight and water, along with related vehicle refilling stations. We expect this approach to accelerate the commercialization of alternative energy vehicles and resource utilization throughout the state of Nevada and, in due course, the United States."

Under the terms of the grant, UNLVRF, a non-profit affiliate of UNLV, will lead a team of industrial and technology partners to spearhead multiple research and development projects to drive production and commercialization of solar technology-based hydrogen projects.

"We are pleased with the close collaboration we have formed with Altairnano," commented Thomas F. Williams, Executive Director of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Research Foundation. "They have contributed significantly to the success of the project with their work on electrode coatings, which is a major element in the efficiency of the hydrogen cell design. We look forward to further excellent research work from Altairnano in Phase III."

Altairnano's nanocrystalline metal oxide materials are key components to the overall effectiveness of the hybrid cell being developed under Phase II of the grant, which will be completed in December 2005. Altairnano has established a dedicated laboratory for electrode fabrication and characterization. The lab contains state-of-the-art equipment for electrical performance measurements.

Under Phase III, Task IV of the new grant, Altairnano is charged with enhancing electrode materials to increase the photoelectrodes' current density, and developing a flexible conducting substrate material for scaling up the electrodes. The solar cell under development is expected to provide hydrogen at a significantly lower cost than the photovoltaic/electrolyzer route being used today. Key to the technology is the performance of the photo-catalytic nano-crystalline films used to gather photons of incident light and convert them into electron whole pairs for directly splitting water. The multi-junction cell is made up of a transparent front which captures the near UV and blue/violet range of visible light and allows the green/red range of visible light to pass through to the back of the cell, and provides the voltage needed to assist the photocatalytic reaction.

ABOUT ALTAIR NANOTECHNOLOGIES INC.

Altairnano is a leading supplier and innovator of advanced ceramic nanomaterial technology. Based in Reno, Nevada, Altairnano has assembled a unique team of materials scientists who, coupled in collaborative ventures with industry partners and leading academic centers, have pioneered an array of intellectual property and products.

Altairnano's robust proprietary technology platforms produce a variety of crystalline and non-crystalline nanomaterials of unique structure, performance, quality and cost. Altairnano's two divisions, Life Sciences and Performance Materials, are focused on applications where its nanotechnology may enable new high growth markets. The Life Sciences Division is pursuing market applications in pharmaceuticals, drug delivery, dental materials and other medical markets. The Performance Materials Division is focused on market applications in advanced materials for paints and coatings; air and water treatment and alternative energy including new Li Ion battery electrode materials. For additional information on Altairnano and its nanomaterials, visit www.Altairnano.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release may contain forward-looking statements as well as historical information. Forward-looking statements, which are included in accordance with the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, may involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the company's actual results and performance in future periods to be materially different from any future results or performance suggested by the forward-looking statements in this release. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, the risks that Altairnano's numerous research and development projects, including its work on solar hydrogen generation cells, will fail to lead to commercial products, that, even if commercial products are developed, no market will exist for such products, or that, despite a viable commercial product, Altairnano itself will not receive significant revenue directly or indirectly from that product. In general, Altairnano is, and expects to be in the immediate future, dependent upon funds generated from sales of securities, grants, testing agreements, and licensing agreements to fund its testing, development and ongoing operations. In addition, other risks are identified in the company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, as filed with the SEC. Such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this release. The company expressly disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements found herein to reflect any changes in company expectations or results or any change in events.

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