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Energy Department Invests $10M Through the Fuel Cell Technologies Incubator Funding Opportunity to Support Innovations in Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Fuel Technologies

February 25, 2015 - 1:34pm

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The Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) has selected 11 projects to receive up to $10M in funding in support of innovations in fuel cell and hydrogen fuel technologies. The intention of these selections is to identify high-impact technologies that are not already addressed in FCTO’s strategic plan or mainstream project portfolio.

The selected projects will support research and development efforts to address critical challenges and barriers for hydrogen and fuel cell technology development. The projects selected have the potential to dramatically lower the cost or improve the performance, durability, or efficiency of fuel cells or hydrogen fuel production. For example, in contrast to industry’s primary focus, which is polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, selected projects include a higher risk, completely different approach—alkaline exchange membrane fuel cells—that can significantly reduce or even eliminate the need for expensive platinum as a catalyst in the long term. Such high-risk but high-impact potential projects complement the current FCTO portfolio.

Selections include the following projects:

  • Advent Technologies, Inc., East Hartford, Connecticut, will advance liquid-fueled and higher temperature fuel cell technology at the catalyst, gas diffusion electrode, and membrane electrode assembly levels for stationary and auxiliary power unit applications.
  • Center for Transportation and the Environment, Atlanta, Georgia, will develop 700 bar conformable hydrogen storage systems based on novel pressure vessel designs developed by the founder of High Energy Coil Reservoirs.
  • Gas Technology Institute, Des Plaines, Illinois, will assess the technical and economic feasibility of thermal compression for cost-effective pressurization of hydrogen to 700 bar for hydrogen fueling stations, as well as demonstrate the concept in a small-scale test system.
  • Giner, Inc., Newton, Massachusetts, will develop reversible fuel cells for energy storage applications based on alkaline exchange membrane technology.
  • Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, will develop non-PGM, anion poisoning-resistant, oxygen reduction reaction electrocatalysts to replace high platinum loadings in phosphoric acid-based fuel cells for combined heat and power stationary applications.
  • Proton OnSite, Wallingford, Connecticut, will advance alkaline exchange membrane-based electrolysis technology by developing durable and efficient PGM-free electrolysis cells.
  • University of California, Irvine, California, will develop a novel photocatalyst particle-based slurry reactor with the potential for low-cost renewable hydrogen production via solar water splitting.
  • University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, will develop a new class of anion exchange membranes with high oxidative-stability for use in cerium redox-flow batteries and with potential for use in fuel cell applications.
  • University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, will address a major challenge for anion exchange membrane fuel cells, which is the absence of a reliable anode catalyst for the hydrogen oxidation reaction.
  • Versa Power Systems, Littleton, Colorado, will develop hydrogen production technologies using high temperature solid oxide electrolysis capable of operating at high current densities (i.e., high hydrogen production rates) and high efficiencies.
  • Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, will develop biological hydrogen production technology based on an in vitro synthetic biosystem composed of numerous thermoenzymes and biomimetic coenzymes.

The Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about the Energy Department's broader efforts to develop affordable, efficient fuel cell and hydrogen technologies on EERE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cells page.

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