Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced that $41.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding will be made available for fuel cell technology. It’s hoped that these efforts will accelerate the commercialization and deployment of fuel cells, and create jobs in the manufacturing, installation, maintenance and support services associated with them. Fuel cells carry significant potential in reducing emissions while supplying power to multiple vehicle platforms. Their integration into consumer electronic devices is another key developmental area.
The $41.9 million will support immediate deployment of nearly 1,000 fuel cell systems for emergency backup power and material handling applications. Additional systems will be used to accelerate the demonstration of stationary fuel cells for heat and power in larger residential and commercial markets.
It’s felt that the increase in manufacturing volume will also bring costs down and encourage the growth of a domestic supplier base. A variety of technologies are targeted, including polymer electrolyte, solid oxide and direct-methanol fuel cells. More information about the DOE’s fuel cell activities can be found at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells.