FuelCell Energy selected by DOE to advance fuel
Danbury, CT— FuelCell Energy,
Inc. announced that it has been selected by the United States
Department of Energy (DOE) for a five-year, $2.1 million cost-shared
project to develop a high temperature membrane for low humidity
operation of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells, subject
to final negotiation of an acceptable agreement.
FuelCell Energy was awarded 1
of 12 competitively bid projects that will receive a total of
$19 million in federal funding projects involving polymer membrane
research. The overall goal of this research is to advance membrane
durability and to extend shelf-life, while simultaneously bringing
down its cost.
The project includes the development
of a composite membrane for high temperature (120°C) PEM fuel
cell operation. The composite membrane is intended to have the
mechanical strength and water retention capability required for
efficient operation and reduced system cost. Traditional PEM fuel
cells operate at approximately 60°C to 80°C and operation
at higher temperatures would reduce cost and increase efficiency.
FuelCell Energy’s high
temperature experience from its carbonate and solid oxide fuel
cell programs and the development of highly functionalized fuel
cell membranes for phosphoric-acid and PEM fuel cells over the
past 20 years make it uniquely qualified for this project.
The project award is part of
a broader program announced on January 24, 2006, by Energy Secretary
Samuel W. Bodman totaling $119 million in funding and including
a roadmap aimed at identifying and overcoming the technical and
manufacturing challenges associated with the further development
of commercially available hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
The DOE will provide funding
totalling $100 million over four years for additional research
projects that seek to improve fuel cell membranes, water transport
within the stack, advanced cathode catalysts and supports, cell
hardware, innovative fuel cell concepts, and effects of impurities
on fuel cell performance and durability.