Got a great idea for fuel cell technology? The United States Department of Energy has $65 million to spend.
The funding will go toward research and development on fuel cell components with the goal of reducing costs and increasing reliability of the solid-state devices that convert hydrogen, natural gas or another fuel into electricity through an electrochemical process.
“The department will be funding research and development 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,” the Energy Department said Wednesday. “Applicants will likely include teams of university, industry and national laboratory participants.”
An additional $9 million will be available for an independent analysis of the cost effectiveness of fuel cell technology research efforts.
Fuel cells have been something of a stepchild of the green energy boom of recent years. The technology can generate electricity 24 hours a day – unlike solar and wind energy – emit fewer greenhouse gases than conventional power plants and can be plugged directly into the power grid. But high costs and thorny technology hurdles have limited fuel cells’ use.