DOE Awards $100 Million For Fuel Cell R & #38;D

3M, UTC Power, Plug Power among the 25 working on projects to make fuel cells marketable.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced Tuesday the awarding of $100 million to fund 25 hydrogen fuel cell research and development projects. 

These projects will support President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative, which seeks to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign sources of energy, "by creating a diverse portfolio of clean, affordable and domestically produced energy choices,” Secretary Bodman said. 

The funds will be used to develop methods to overcome cost and durability barriers associated with hydrogen fuel cell research; and will 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.

The goal of the President’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, part of the Advanced Energy Initiative, is to make it practical and cost-effective for Americans to purchase fuel cell vehicles by 2020. 

Fuel cells use hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity, with only water and heat as byproducts. When used to power vehicles, they offer two to three times the efficiency of traditional internal combustion technologies.  However, fuel cells are currently more expensive than internal combustion engines and have difficulty maintaining performance over the full useful life of the system.

Among the 25 organizations slated to receive funds are: 3M, UTC Power and Plug Power.

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