The U.S. Energy Department announced over $7 million investment in projects that will help bring affordable, advanced hydrogen and fuel cell technologies online faster. This investment, which is spread across four projects in Georgia, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, will enhance U.S. leadership in fuel cell-powered vehicles and backup power systems, and provide businesses more economical, cleaner transportation and power options.
“By partnering with private industry and universities, the U.S. Energy Department is helping to build a strong 21st century transportation sector that cuts harmful pollution, reduces costs for U.S. businesses and leads to a more sustainable energy future,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Reduced oil dependence is an important part of President Obama’s energy security and climate plans, and hydrogen and fuel cell technologies will help ensure America’s continued leadership in clean energy innovation.”
Along with the U.S. Energy Department’s support, private industry and the Department’s national laboratories have already achieved significant results in fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, lowering costs and improving performance. These research and development attempts have aided in cutting down automotive fuel cell costs by more than 50 percent since 2006 and by more than 30 percent since 2008. Similarly, fuel cell durability has doubled and the amount of costly platinum needed in fuel cells has declined by 80 percent since 2005.
Building on this progress, the projects awarded will support the further reduction on the cost of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, improve fuelling infrastructure and build a strong domestic supply chain in the United States. This investment also helps the Energy Department’s broader efforts to continue U.S. leadership in clean energy drive. These projects include:
Center for Transportation and the Environment ($3 million DOE investment): Based in Atlanta, Ga., the Center for Transportation and the Environment will build a fuel cell hybrid electric walk-in delivery van with a 150-mile range per fuelling. The project will also equip 15 UPS delivery vans with fuel cell hybrid powered trains and test these vehicles at distribution facilities across California. The University of Texas’s Center for Electromechanics, Electric Vehicles International, Hydrogenics USA and Valence Technology will also partake in this project.
FedEx Express ($3 million DOE investment): Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., FedEx Express will develop a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle, in this case a delivery truck, with a range of up to 150 miles per fuelling and test 20 of these trucks at FedEx facilities in Tennessee and California. Plug Power and Smith Electric Vehicles will associate with FedEx in this project.
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. ($900,000 DOE investment): Situated in Allentown, Pa., Air Products and Chemicals partner with Structural Composites Industries will develop a cost-effective tube trailer for hydrogen delivery and storage that can resist high pressures. Air Products and Chemicals will also test this new technology under actual operating conditions at hydrogen fuelling stations in southern California.
Sprint ($250,000 DOE investment): Headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas, Sprint will install fuel cell-powered backup power systems for rooftop telecommunications equipment. The project will denote modular and lightweight fuel cell systems that can be installed with ease without the help of heavy cranes and can be refuelled from the ground subduing the need for carrying fuel to rooftops. Air Products, Altergy Systems, Burns & McDonnell Engineering Inc., CommScope Inc., First Element Energy LLC, IGX Group, Inc. and ReliOn Inc. will also take part in this project.