DOE invests $33 million to develop fuel cell technology

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Is fuel cell technology coming into its own, or at least making progress? You would think so from reading the press release below from the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E). The agency is providing $33 million for 13 projects that will essentially take three different approaches to coming up with reliable, efficient intermediate-temperature fuel cells that can be manufactured at low cost.

 

Click the link in the press release to learn more about the individual projects.

 

Agency’s $33 million “REBELS” program to develop innovative technologies for distributed generation

 

New York, NY – At New York Energy Week, ARPA-E Acting Director Dr. Cheryl Martin announced $33 million in funding for 13 new projects aimed at developing transformational fuel cell technologies for low-cost distributed power generation. The projects, which are funded through ARPA-E’s new Reliable Electricity Based on ELectrochemical Systems (REBELS) program, are focused on improving grid stability, balancing intermittent renewable technologies, and reducing CO2 emissions using electrochemical distributed power generation systems.

 

“These 13 REBELS projects are an excellent example of how ARPA-E is developing innovative technology options to transform and modernize America’s evolving electric grid,” said Acting Director Martin. “Distributed generation technologies like these could fundamentally change the way America generates and stores energy.”

 

Find information on all 13 projects HERE.

 

Fuel cells—or devices that convert the chemical energy of a fuel source into electrical energy—are optimal for distributed power generation systems, which generate power close to where it is used. Distributed generation systems offer an alternative to the large, centralized power generation facilities or power plants that are currently commonplace. While centralized power generation systems have an excellent economy of scale, they often require long transmission distances between supply and distribution points, leading to efficiency losses throughout the grid. Additionally, it can be challenging to integrate energy from renewable energy sources into centralized systems.

 

Current, state-of-the-art fuel cell research generally focuses on technologies that either operate at high temperatures for grid-scale applications or at low temperatures for vehicle technologies. ARPA-E’s new REBELS projects focus on low-cost Intermediate-Temperature Fuel Cells (ITFCs) emphasizing three technical approaches.

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