Obama Invests US$9 Million to Develop Hydrogen Fuel Cells

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    hydrogenfuelcellresearch.jpgWASHINGTON, DC, June 12, 2013 (ENS) - The Obama Administration is putting up US$9 million to accelerate the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies for use in cars and trucks as well as hydrogen refueling components.


    Projects selected by the U.S. Energy Department to receive this new funding will demonstrate, deploy, and validate hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in real-world environments.


    The investments aim to reduce the costs of hydrogen and fuel cells industry-wide, expand critical infrastructure, and build a solid domestic supplier base.


    The Energy Department will make available up to $9 million for up to eight projects from industry, academia, and national laboratories, officials said, announcing the investment on Tuesday.


    Selected projects will represent a wide variety of applications with potential for widespread commercialization.


    The department will entertain applications in four general categories:


    Fuel cell hybrid electric medium-duty trucks: Projects selected in this topic area will support the development and deployment of on-board fuel cell hybrid-powered class 3-6 medium-duty electric trucks to increase driving range, cut petroleum consumption and related emissions, and increase the viability of these electric drive vehicles.


    Advanced hydrogen refueling components: Projects selected under this topic area will demonstrate and validate the durability and performance of hydrogen refueling components in real-world operating environments.


    Rooftop installations of hydrogen fuel cell backup power systems: Projects selected under this topic area will focus on demonstrating the viability of fuel cell-powered rooftop backup power systems.


    Hydrogen meter R&D: Projects under this topic area will support the development of highly accurate meters used to measure the mass of dispensed hydrogen fuel.


    In the past 30 days, the Obama Administration has been expanding its support for the development of fuel cell electric vehicles.


    On May 13, the Energy Department launched H2USA, a public-private partnership focused on advancing hydrogen infrastructure to support more transportation energy options, including fuel cell electric vehicles.


    The new partnership brings together automakers, government agencies, gas suppliers, and the hydrogen and fuel cell industries to coordinate research and identify cost-effective solutions to deploy infrastructure that can deliver affordable, clean hydrogen fuel in the United States.


    “Fuel cell technologies are an important part of an all-of-the-above approach to diversify America’s transportation sector, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and increase our competitiveness in the global market,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson.


    “By bringing together key stakeholders from across the U.S. fuel cell and hydrogen industry, the H2USA partnership will help advance affordable fuel cell electric vehicles that save consumers money and give drivers more options," Danielson said.


    Current members of the H2USA partnership include the American Gas Association, Association of Global Automakers, the California Fuel Cell Partnership, the Electric Drive Transportation Association, the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, Hyundai Motor America, ITM Power, Massachusetts Hydrogen Coalition, Mercedes-Benz USA, Nissan North America Research and Development, Proton OnSite, and Toyota Motor North America.


    Morry Markowitz, president and executive director of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, said, “The fact that a number of entities are coming together to work together through this partnership is a very positive sign."


    With support from the Energy Department, private industry and the department’s national laboratories have already reduced costs and improved performance of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies.


    Automotive fuel cell costs have gone down by more than 35 percent since 2008 and by more than 80 percent since 2002. At the same time, fuel cell durability has doubled and the amount of expensive platinum needed in fuel cells has fallen by 80 percent since 2005.


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