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U.S. Department of Energy Awards $100 Million in Fuel Cell R&D

October 24, 2006 - 9:17am

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CHICAGO, IL -U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman today announced $100 million to fund 25 hydrogen research and development projects that can help change the way we power our nation.  These projects support President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative, which seeks to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy through the research, development and deployment of transformational new clean energy technologies.  Secretary Bodman made today's announcement while speaking to the Council on Competitiveness and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

"The Department of Energy is committed to breaking our addiction to oil by creating a diverse portfolio of clean, affordable and domestically produced energy choices," Secretary Bodman said.  "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."

DOE will negotiate these 25 cost-shared projects for an approximate total of $127 million ($100 million DOE cost; $27 million applicant cost) over four years (Fiscal Years 2007 - 2010).  These projects seek to overcome cost and durability barriers associated with hydrogen fuel cell research; and will specifically focus on fuel cell membranes, water transport within the stack, advanced cathode catalysts and supports, 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.

Advanced research associated with these awards directly furthers the goals of the President's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative (HFI), an integral part of the President's Advanced Energy Initiative.  The HFI seeks to make it practical and cost-effective for large numbers of Americans to choose to purchase fuel cell vehicles by 2020.  It primarily involves increasing research and development of hydrogen technologies including hydrogen production from diverse domestic sources; hydrogen storage and; polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.  The President's 2007 budget requests $289 million for the HFI, an increase of $53 million over FY 2006, to accelerate the development of hydrogen fuel cells and affordable hydrogen-powered cars.  As a result the President's investment in this initiative, the cost of a hydrogen fuel cell has been cut by more than 50 percent in just four years.

Fuel cells use hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity, with only water and heat as byproducts. They can power small portable devices and provide heat and electricity to buildings, and they can be used to power vehicles, with two to three times the efficiency of traditional internal combustion technologies.  Fuel cells are currently more expensive than internal combustion engines, however, and have difficulty maintaining performance over the full useful life of the system.

Selected organizations are as follows:

SELECTED ORGANIZATIONS LOCATION TOPIC DOE FUNDING
Arkema King of Prussia, PA membranes $6.3M
3M St. Paul, MN membranes $8.9M
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Berkeley, CA membranes $6.0M
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY water transport $2.7M
Los Alamos National Laboratory Los Alamos, NM water transport $5.5M
Nuvera Fuel Cells Cambridge, MA water transport $5.0M
CFD Research Corporation Huntsville, AL water transport $4.7M
3M St. Paul, MN catalysts $8.4M
UTC Power South Windsor, CT catalysts $6.4M
Los Alamos National Laboratory Los Alamos, NM catalysts $6.8M
Argonne National Laboratory Argonne, IL catalysts $5.4M
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Richland, WA catalysts $4.6M
GrafTech International Ltd. Parma, OH bipolar plates $2.3M
UTC Power South Windsor, CT seals $2.0M
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Oak Ridge, TN bipolar plates $4.5M
Plug Power Latham, NY innovative stack design $1.0M
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH innovative stack design $0.8M
Argonne National Laboratory Argonne, IL innovative stack design $1.0M
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Richland, WA innovative balance of plant $1.0M
University of Connecticut - Connecticut Global Fuel Cell Center Storrs, CT impurities $1.9M
Clemson University Clemson, SC impurities $2.0M
Los Alamos National Laboratory Los Alamos, NM impurities $3.6M
Plug Power Latham, NY demonstration $3.6M
Plug Power Latham, NY demonstration $4.0M
Intelligent Energy Inc. Long Beach, CA demonstration $2.2M

For more information about the President's Advanced Energy Initiative, visit: whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/01/20060131-6.html.

Media contact(s):

Craig Stevens, (202) 586-4940

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