DOE awards Ford with $6 million to help improve fuel cell technology

August 15, 2016 2 By Stephen Vagus

Ford to work on improving fuel cell technology in the coming years

The United States Department of Energy has awarded automaker Ford with $6 million in funding in order to support research into hydrogen fuel cell technology. Ford has held a longstanding interest in fuel cells, but has been slow to embrace these energy systems due to their expensive nature and the lack of a comprehensive hydrogen fuel infrastructure. The automaker currently has many projects concerning fuel cells underway and the Department of Energy is eager to show more support for such projects in an effort to make hydrogen fuel cells more viable in the future.

Funding will help develop new catalyst for promising energy systems

Ford will be using the funding to develop a new fuel cell catalyst production process. The automaker wants to ensure that future catalysts are built more efficiently and without exorbitant cost in the future. Currently, catalysts are quite expensive because of their heavy use of platinum. These catalysts are necessary to facilitate the chemical processes occurring within a fuel cell system, and improving their efficiency and lowering their cost has become a priority for those investing in clean transportation.

Fuel cell industry continues to show strong signs of growth

Fuel Cell Technology Funds - US DollarsFuel cells have been used in various industries for years. Many believe that these energy systems have only recently become popular because of their use in transportation. Overall, however, the fuel cell industry grew to $2.2 billion in sales worldwide in 2014. This is an increase from the $1.3 billion in sales that were reported from the industry in the previous year. Ford is eager to take advantage of this promising growth, but wants to improve fuel cell technology before it becomes heavily invested in the industry itself.

Ford has hope that fuel cells will have a strong future

Ford has identified many challenges facing the commercialization of fuel cell technology. One of the most prominent of these challenges is the lack of a hydrogen fuel infrastructure. Vehicles without access to the fuel they need to operate likely will not find the support they need among consumers. Fuel cells also face other challenges that have slowed their adoption, but with companies like Ford working to improve these energy systems, this may change in the coming years.