The US Department of Energy (DOE) is continuing to show support for next-gen fuel cell systems. In June, DOE rolled out $9 million in grants to speed up the technology, and this month, an announcement was made that $4.5 will be invested in two projects focused on advanced fuel cell membranes. Minnesota based-3M will receive $3 million and the Colorado School of Mines will receive $1.5 million.

3M's $3 million will go toward developing innovative membranes with improved durability and performance through processes easily scalable to commercial size. The Colorado School of Mines is working on fuel cell membranes that are simpler and more affordable and that can continue to perform at higher temperatures.

These projects fall in line with other DOE projects during the past decade with the goal of improving efficiency and lowering costs for fuel cells. The research projects have helped cut down on the amount of platinum used in catalysts by a factor of five. They have also reduced the costs of transportation fuel cells more than 80 percent since 2002. The DOE thinks it has positioned the US as a global leader in fuel cells, citing a list of accomplishments gained by the projects: more than 400 patents, 65 pre-commercial technologies and nearly 40 commercial technologies that have entered the market.

For the DOE, it's part of a large-scale commitment to maintain the nation's leadership in innovative clean energy technologies that provide more options to cut energy costs, reduce reliance on imported oil and curb harmful carbon pollution. The fuel cell investment comes soon after the US House decided to keep alive the $25 billion DOE loan program to accelerate advanced-powertrain technology development. The federal government is being more watchful now about DOE investments, but the funding is still available.
Show full PR text
Energy Department Announces New Investment to Reduce Fuel Cell Costs
August 01, 2013

In support of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above strategy to develop clean, domestic energy sources, the Energy Department today announced a $4.5 million investment in two projects-led by Minnesota-based 3M and the Colorado School of Mines-to lower the cost, improve the durability, and increase the efficiency of next-generation fuel cell systems. This investment is a part of the Energy Department's commitment to maintain American leadership in innovative clean energy technologies, give American businesses more options to cut energy costs, and reduce our reliance on imported oil.

"Fuel cell technologies have an important role to play in diversifying America's transportation sector, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and curbing harmful carbon pollution," said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. "By partnering with private industry and universities, we can help advance affordable fuel cell technologies that save consumers money and give drivers more options while creating jobs in this growing global industry."

Over the last decade, the Energy Department has invested in research and development projects to improve the efficiency and lower the costs of fuel cells. This research has helped decrease the amount of platinum used in catalysts by a factor of five and reduced the costs of transportation fuel cells by more than 80% since 2002. Projects such as these have led to more than 400 patents, 65 pre-commercial technologies, and nearly 40 commercial technologies in the market-positioning the nation as a global leader in the emerging fuel cell industry.

Building on these efforts, the projects announced today will continue research and development work aimed at making cost-effective, high-performing fuel cell membranes that can operate under hotter and drier conditions. For example, 3M will receive $3 million to focus on developing innovative fuel cell membranes with improved durability and performance using processes which are easily scalable to commercial size. The Colorado School of Mines will receive $1.5 million to develop advanced hybrid membranes for cutting edge, next-generation fuel cells that are simpler and more affordable and able to operate at higher temperatures.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates 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 DOE's support for research, development, and deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.