DOE Offers $130 Million to Advance Fuel Cell Technology
May 27, 2008
DOE issued two Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) on May 27 that offer up to $130 million over 3 years for research and development (R&D) of fuel cells for automotive, stationary, and portable power applications. DOE is also seeking proposals to demonstrate fuel cells in distributed energy systems and to launch market transformation efforts that provide real-world operation data. The agency plans to select up to 50 projects through this competitive funding opportunity, which is open to industry, universities, and national laboratories. With a minimum 20% private-sector cost share for the R&D projects and a minimum 50% cost share for the demonstration projects, the total DOE and private sector investment in fuel cell technologies under the FOAs may exceed $170 million, although the future DOE funding is subject to congressional appropriations. Applications are due by August 27, and separate FOAs were issued for national laboratories and other applicants. See the DOE press release and the FOAs for national laboratories and other applicants.
While DOE is supporting both R&D and real-world demonstrations of fuel cells, the agency is also participating in one of the current real-world demonstrations. On May 27, General Motors Corporation (GM) delivered one of its Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell vehicles to DOE. For the next six months, DOE employees will use the hydrogen-fueled vehicle to conduct day-to-day business while sharing real-world performance data with GM. The vehicle loan is part of Chevrolet's "Project Driveway," which is placing 100 of the fuel cell vehicles in the hands of a variety of drivers in Southern California, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Project Driveway is open to individuals and organizations located within one of the three test areas, and over the next 2 years, GM will choose more drivers from its list of online volunteers. Each chosen volunteer will drive the fuel cell vehicle for 2-3 months at no cost, providing feedback on the vehicle's performance, while GM foots the bills for fuel, insurance, and vehicle maintenance. See the GM press release.