Energy Department Announces $2.5 Million for Fuel Cell Baggage Vehicles
May 9, 2012
The Energy Department announced on April 25 up to $2.5 million in funding is available this year to demonstrate and deploy fuel cell electric vehicles for transporting passenger baggage at major U.S. airports. Up to three projects selected for funding will demonstrate first-generation, fuel cell-powered baggage-towing tractors under real-world operating conditions, and will collect and analyze data to test their performance and cost-effectiveness. The funding will help industry bring advanced fuel cell technologies into emerging markets. It will also provide airlines and airports with new choices for ground support operations that cut energy costs, air pollution, and petroleum use.
The Energy Department seeks applicants to demonstrate and test the performance and economic viability of advanced fuel cell systems for up to three years. The 50% cost-shared projects will supply both information on fuel cell system operation and data on the economics of these vehicles to the Hydrogen Secure Data Center at the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory for analysis and comparison. Data will be collected from actual airport operations so that engineers and economic analysts can assess the technology's performance, durability, and cost-effectiveness under the real-world conditions of commercial airports. Conclusions will be drawn from the data to evaluate the commercial viability of this fuel cell application, and the data will be shared with fuel cell manufacturers, helping to improve their designs and optimize overall performance and costs. See the DOE Progress Alert and the funding opportunity announcement.