US awards $100m to fuel cell research and development

October 30, 2006

Brussels, 26 October 2006

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel Bodman announced October 24 that $100 million will go to fund 25 hydrogen research and development projects.

The projects support President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative, which seeks to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign sources of energy through the research, development and use of new clean energy technologies.

"We expect hydrogen to play an integral role in our energy portfolio and we are eager to see hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the road in the near future," Bodman told the Council on Competitiveness and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Foundation in Illinois.

DOE will negotiate 25 cost-shared projects for a total of $1 million ($100 million from DOE and $ million from applicants) over four years -- fiscal years 2007 to 2010.

The projects seek to overcome cost and durability barriers associated with hydrogen fuel cell research. They will focus on fuel-cell membranes, water transport in the stack of fuel cells that make up each cell, cell hardware, innovative fuel-cell concepts and effects of impurities on fuel-cell performance and durability.

Awards also include stationary fuel cell demonstration projects to help foster international and intergovernmental partnerships.

Fuel cells use hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity, with water and heat as byproducts. They can power small portable devices, provide heat and electricity to buildings and be used to power vehicles, with two times to three times the efficiency of traditional internal-combustion technologies.

But fuel cells are more expensive than internal-combustion engines and have difficulty maintaining performance over the full useful life of the system.

Advanced research associated with the awards furthers the goals of the President's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative (HFI), which seeks to make it practical and cost effective for large numbers of Americans to choose to purchase fuel cell vehicles by 2020. (See fact sheet.)

The initiative mainly involves increasing research into and development of hydrogen technologies, including hydrogen production from diverse domestic sources, hydrogen storage and polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, which use hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air to produce electricity, mainly for use in cars.

The HFI is one way in which the U.S. Climate Change Technology Program is working to accelerate the development and deployment of technologies that can help bring about substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.. (See related article.)

Press release, including a list of funded projects
Bodman's remarks as prepared for delivery

U.S. Mission to the EU
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