• Dec 23rd 2010 at 4:01PM
  • 11

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it's accepting applications for up to $74 million in grants for, "the research and development of clean, reliable fuel cells for stationary and transportation applications." A significant portion of the money – $65 million to be exact – will be set aside to fund the research and development of vital fuel cell components, such as catalyst materials and electrode assemblies. The DOE hopes that the grants will provide companies with the means to develop fuel cell systems that display improved durability, increased efficiency and, perhaps most importantly, reduced costs.

The remaining $9 million in grants will be used to conduct cost analysis of fuel cell technologies and to research hydrogen storage systems. The DOE claims that its monetary support will guide, "U.S. leadership in the emerging global fuel cell market, while limiting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the country's reliance on fossil fuels."

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu summed up the goal of the DOE fuel cell grants:
The investments we're making today will help advance fuel cell technology in the United States. This is part of a broad effort to create American jobs, reduce carbon pollution, and help ensure the U.S. stays competitive in the growing clean energy economy.
Applications for the DOE grants must be submitted no later than March 3rd, 2011.

[Source: U.S. Department of Energy]

PRESS RELEASE

Department of Energy Announces up to $74 Million for Fuel Cell Research and Development


The U.S. Department of Energy today announced it is accepting applications for a total of up to $74 million to support the research and development of clean, reliable fuel cells for stationary and transportation applications. The solicitations include up to $65 million over three years to fund continued research and development (R&D) on fuel cell components, such as catalysts and membrane electrode assemblies, with the goal of reducing costs, improving durability, and increasing the efficiency of fuel cell systems. The funding also includes up to $9 million to conduct independent cost analyses that will assess the progress of the technology under current research initiatives and help guide future fuel cell and hydrogen storage R&D efforts. These awards will help support U.S. leadership in the emerging global fuel cell market, while limiting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the country's reliance on fossil fuels.

"The investments we're making today will help advance fuel cell technology in the United States," said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "This is part of a broad effort to create American jobs, reduce carbon pollution, and help ensure the U.S. stays competitive in the growing clean energy economy."

Fuel cells use the chemical energy of hydrogen or other fuels to cleanly and efficiently produce electricity or heat with minimal byproducts, primarily water. They can produce power in large stationary systems such as buildings or for vehicles such as commercial forklifts, buses and automobiles.

The Department will be funding research and development initiatives related to fuel cell system balance-of-plant components, fuel processors, and fuel cell stack components such as catalysts and membranes, as well as innovative concepts for both low and high temperature systems to help meet commercial viability targets in terms of cost and performance. Applicants will likely include teams of university, industry and national laboratory participants.

The cost analysis funding opportunity will help to determine the economic viability and technical progress of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies for stationary, transportation, and emerging market applications, including light duty vehicles, forklifts, buses, and stationary power plants, as well as hydrogen storage systems. Under the program, the grantees will be expected to conduct life cycle cost analyses for different manufacturing volumes to help gauge the near-term, low-volume market viability for these technologies, along with their long-term potential.

Applications for the $65 million research and development program are due by March 3, 2011. Applications for the cost analysis solicitation are due on February 18, 2011. Funding for both programs are subject to congressional appropriations. Read about the application requirements and instructions for the Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Storage System Cost Analyses and Fuel Cells R&D opportunities.

The Fuel Cell Technologies Program has a comprehensive portfolio of activities that address the full range of barriers facing the development and deployment of hydrogen and fuel cells with the ultimate goals of decreasing our dependence on oil, reducing carbon emissions, and enabling clean, reliable power generation. For more information on the Fuel Cell Technologies Program, please visit the Fuel Cell Technologies Program Web site.


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  • 11 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      facepalm...
      • 4 Years Ago
      :)


      General research in fuel cells is a great step forward as stationary and materials handling applications are beginning to commercialize. These funds are supporting a broad spectrum of fuel cell technologies - so those who have specific disagreements with hydrogen should be able to find something of merit that interests them (SOFCs for electrical power generation will make BEVs even cleaner).

      Methanol fuel cells for consumer electronics are also in here. Applications for cleaning up maritime and air traffic (which was a concern expressed the other day) are also being researched under the FC program aegis.

      In short, this funding is going to make our world better, for everyone.
        bajohn3
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not likely, the billions in hydrogen research so far have done nothing but waste our money and resources. This will do more of the same. Hoping that fuel cells will somehow someday make the world better doesn't mean it will happen. If all that hydrogen research money had simply been used to install solar, wind, and battery systems the world actually would be better right now, instead it's worse.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Excellent rebuttal, John.

        I'm not sure why I thought that hydrogen fuel cell research has made progress, or what its role is in reducing carbon emissions.

        LOL.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things. I'd rather they focused on alcohol and other types of fuel cells. Storing energy as hydrogen doesn't make a lot of sense except in space based applications.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What? No way, storing hydrogen just suck. The gas and amount of volume it takes up doesn't make it any viable.

      Why not support more battery technologies instead?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well, there are types of fuel cells that run on other fuels, fuels that are far more compact and much easier to store than H2. For example, solid oxide fuel cells can run directly on various hydrocarbon fuels like natural gas, molten carbonate fuels can run on carbon, and there are even zinc-air and aluminum-air fuel cells that run on zinc pellets or aluminum sheets.

        Fuel cells running on methanol are under intensive development for powering small devices like laptop computers and cell phones, if the price can be reduced enough they could conceivably be scaled up for automotive use.
      harlanx6
      • 4 Years Ago
      They will burn up 74 mil in a heartbeat, and still have no way to defeat the laws of physics. Now if someone can solve the cold fusion problems, they would have something.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think this was the grant that even Chu supported (originally $68 mil, so not that big of an increase). Research into fuel cells make sense, just in case a breakthrough can happen (and also for the stationary applications where it seems to be working economically). However I think what was cut were the vehicle programs, which were restored by congress.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, this is a token to keep some research alive.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's their way of saying that fuelcells are ready, cheap, efficient, non-polluting and will be
      ban for minimum another years by madscientists paid by the goverment to impede patents and commercialisation. These gadjets are working good, replace ices, cost next to nothing, wear slow and can be fueled for free with the adapted apperatus, namelly a home electrolyser and or solar panel and or windmills and or stationare exercises bench like a stationnary bycycle for exemple. As a side note for education purposes, all kind of next to nothing cost gadjets can recharge an electric car and these educationnal gadjets should be sold to electric car owners for educating him how he can recharge a car and what efficiency he's reaching with a given gadjet.