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Energy Department Announces up to $6 Million to Collect Performance Data on Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

March 2, 2012

As part of President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy to reduce America's reliance on foreign oil, the Energy Department on March 1 announced up to $6 million available this year to collect and analyze valuable performance and durability data for light-duty fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). The projects selected for funding will collect data from next-generation FCEVs as they are operated in real-world conditions to identify ways to lower costs and improve fuel cell durability and overall vehicle performance. This funding is part of the Energy Department's commitment to U.S. leadership in advanced fuel cell research that aims to help industry bring more FCEVs into the mainstream market and provide American families with new choices for vehicles that do not rely on gasoline.

The Energy Department seeks applicants to design and implement projects to monitor the performance and durability of advanced FCEVs for up to five years. The 50% cost-shared projects will supply information on fuel cell system operation and other real-world vehicle data to the Hydrogen Secure Data Center at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for analysis and comparison. Data will be collected from various makes and models of FCEVs so that engineers and scientists can measure the performance and technical progress of a range of fuel cell systems. The conclusions drawn from the data by NREL will help identify and focus future research and development efforts and gauge progress toward fuel cell performance and cost targets. The data and resulting analyses from this initiative will also help FCEV manufacturers improve their vehicle designs to optimize fuel efficiency and vehicle performance.

For more information, including application requirements and instructions, please visit the Funding Opportunity Exchange website.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will coordinate this effort with similar technology validation efforts in Germany, Japan, Korea, and other countries to leverage international activities and to promote the rapid advance of fuel cell electric vehicles. Overall, EERE's fuel cell R&D efforts have been extremely successful, resulting in more than 300 patents and bringing 30 products to market. At the same time, fuel cell durability has doubled, expensive platinum content has been reduced by a factor of five, and the cost of fuel cells has fallen 80%.

—Julia Thomas