DOE announces up to $74M for fuel cell R&D

Less than one week after the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NHTSA announced up to $184M for advance vehicle development, the DOE announced it is accepting applications for a total of up to $74 million to support the research and development of clean, reliable fuel cells for two separate but related applications: stationary and transportation.

According to the DOE News Release, this latest offering is specific to fuel cells. The solicitations include up to $65 million over three years to fund continued research and development (R&D) on fuel cell components, such as catalysts and membrane electrode assemblies, with the goal of reducing costs, improving durability and increasing the efficiency of fuel cell systems.

For the record, stationary applications imply fuel cells used for buildings and generators; transportation obviously refers to automobiles, forklifts, buses and trucks.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu was quoted as saying, "The investments we're making today will help advance fuel cell technology in the United States. This is part of a broad effort to create American jobs, reduce carbon pollution and help ensure the U.S. stays competitive in the growing clean energy economy."

Funding is divided into two separate opportunities:
1) DE-FOA-0000360 for research and development;
2) DE-FOA-0000420 for cost analysis.

In a long-worded expose, DOE says funding for research and development initiatives will be related to fuel cell system balance-of-plant components, fuel processors, and fuel cell stack components such as catalysts and membranes. It will also include innovative concepts for both low and high temperature systems to help meet commercial viability targets in terms of cost and performance.

Funding for cost analysis will help to determine the economic viability and technical progress of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies for stationary, transportation, and emerging market applications, including light duty vehicles, forklifts, buses and stationary power plants, as well as hydrogen storage systems. Under the program, the grantees will be expected to conduct life cycle cost analyses for different manufacturing volumes to help gauge the near-term, low-volume market viability for these technologies, along with their long-term potential.

According to the DOE news release, it was revealed that applicants will likely include teams of university, industry and national laboratory participants. However, funding for both programs are subject to congressional appropriations. More information, including application requirements and instructions, can be found on the related FedConnect Funding Opportunity Announcement page.

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