DOE invests in new hydrogen fuel cell projects

August 7, 2013 0 By Stephen Vagus

Federal agency funds new projects seeking to benefit hydrogen fuel cells

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced funding for two new projects coming from 3M, one of the largest conglomerates in the country, and the Colorado School of Mines. The projects from these two parties involve the use of hydrogen fuel cells. Both projects aim to improve the efficiency and durability of fuel cells and lower their costs, making them more attractive for a wider demographic. The latest investment from the Department of Energy is part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to support renewable energy and clean technology.

$4.5 million split between 3M and Colorado School of Mines

The federal agency has invested $4.5 million in the two projects. The funding will help these projects make progress in the research and development of next generation hydrogen fuel cells. The projects won the agency’s attention because of the Department of Energy’s interest in hydrogen fuel and its uses in transportation. The agency believes that fuel cells could be the best way to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign fossil-fuels when it comes to transportation fuels. Much of the global auto industry shares this belief and many automakers have begun developing hydrogen-powered vehicles.

DOE - Hydrogen Fuel Cell projectsAgency increases its support of hydrogen fuel

Over the past 10 years, the Department of Energy has been investing heavily in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Hydrogen fuel had once been considered nothing more than a novelty by the agency, but its support for this form of renewable energy has grown exponentially over the years. The agency’s investments in the fuel cell sector have helped reduce the costs of these energy systems by 80% since 2002, making fuel cells more available to several industrial sectors and consumers in general.

Projects to focus on lowering cost of fuel cells and increase their durability

The projects being funded by the Department of Energy will work to produce cost-effective, high performance fuel cell membranes and other such materials. 3M will focus its efforts on developing membranes that are more durable than conventional membranes and the Colorado School of Mines will work to develop membranes that are significantly less expensive than modern counterparts, using new combinations of materials to make these membranes.