The $17 million fuel cell

The US Department of Energy has awarded Nuvera Fuel Cells approximately $17 million to help fund three programmes of research into fuel cells.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Nuvera Fuel Cells approximately $17 million to help fund three programmes of research and development into advanced transportation-based fuel cell systems.

Specifically, the programmes will attempt to overcome some existing technical barriers currently associated with fuel cells, including high component costs, size, weight, start-up time, power density, and system efficiency.

The first programme is a prime contract while the other two are sub-contract efforts. All the programmes will be cost-shared with Nuvera incurring approximately 20 to 35 percent of the total cost of each project.

The prime contract is for research to develop an advanced high-efficiency quick-start (HiQ) fuel processor for transportation applications. Using a novel system design, Nuvera will try to obtain instantaneous (less than 10 seconds) power from an automotive fuel cell power system.

The Nuvera system is expected to address the long start-up time and system efficiency issues common to conventional fuel cell power systems. Engelhard and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will provide research and technology support.

The first sub-contract was awarded to De Nora North America who will support the development of improved cathodes and high-temperature membranes for PEM fuel cells. Advanced membrane electrode assembly (MEA) fabrication methods will also be developed.

The second sub-contract was to Caterpillar to support the design and development of a 13kW integrated ethanol-fueled PEM fuel cell power system producing three-phase electrical power.

The three awards were the result of a single solicitation.

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