Funding of $119 million and a "research roadmap" aimed at overcoming the technical and manufacturing challenges of developing commercially available hydrogen fuel cell vehicles has been announced by the U.S.Department of Energy (DOE).

The Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $100 million over four years for research projects seeking 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.

Through the investment, DOE seeks to improve performance and to lower cost of these technologies by 2010.

Further information, research specifications, and application information for interested nonprofit and for-profit private entities, institutes of higher education and state and local governments and government laboratories are available at: www.hydrogen.energy.gov/. An additional announcement revealed the selection of 12 competitively awarded, cost shared projects that will receive $19 million in federal funding over five years for polymer membrane research. Applicants will share the cost, contributing $4.75 million.

The membrane is an integral part of a hydrogen fuel cell system and is important in using hydrogen to create electricity that can power a vehicle. The goal of this research is to advance membrane durability and extend shelf-life, while bringing down the cost. Selected organizations include: Colorado School of Mines, Pennsylvania State University, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Giner Electrochemical Systems, University of Tennessee, two projects for Case Western Reserve University, FuelCell Energy, Clemson University, General Electric, Arizona State University, and University of Central Florida. DOE's Roadmap on Manufacturing R&D for the Hydrogen Economy addresses challenges to manufacturing, storage and production of fuel cell technologies and proposes solutions, focusing primarily on near commercial technologies.

The Roadmap is based on the results of a July, 2005 hydrogen workshop made up of hydrogen and fuel cell experts from industry, universities, and national laboratories.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.