ConstructionPro Week, Volume: Construction Advisor Today - Issue: 91 - 01/21/2011

Applications Sought for Research, Development of Fuel Cells for Buildings, Other Sources

The U.S. Department of Energy has begun accepting applications for a total of up to $74 million to support the research and development (R&D) of "clean, reliable" fuel cells for stationary sources, such as buildings, and transportation applications.

The solicitations include up to $65 million over three years to fund continued 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.



The funding also includes up to $9 million to conduct independent cost analyses that will assess the progress of the technology under current research initiatives and help guide future fuel cell and hydrogen storage R&D efforts. These awards are designed to help support U.S. leadership in the emerging global fuel cell market while limiting greenhouse-gas emissions and reducing the country's reliance on fossil fuels.


Fuel cells use the chemical energy of hydrogen or other fuels to "cleanly and efficiently" produce electricity or heat with minimal byproducts, primarily water. They can produce power in large stationary systems such as buildings or for vehicles such as commercial forklifts, buses, and automobiles.


The department will be funding R&D initiatives related to fuel cell system balance-of-plant components, fuel processors, and fuel cell stack components such as catalysts and membranes as well as "innovative" concepts for both low- and high-temperature systems to help meet commercial viability targets in terms of cost and performance. Applicants likely will include teams of university, industry, and national laboratory participants.


The cost-analysis funding opportunity is expected to help 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, 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 and their long-term potential.


Applications for the $65-million R&D program are due March 3. Applications for the cost analysis solicitation are due Feb. 18. Funding for both programs are subject to congressional appropriations.

More information and application requirements and instructions can be found at




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