WASHINGTON - To help expand the use of clean and renewable energy sources and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced $41.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for fuel cell technology.

This effort is intended to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of fuel cells and create jobs in fuel cell manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and support services. The new funding is expected to improve the potential of fuel cells to provide power in stationary, portable, and specialty vehicle applications, while cutting carbon emissions and broadening the nation’s clean energy technology portfolio.

The $41.9 million will support immediate deployment of nearly 1,000 fuel cell systems for emergency backup power and for material handling applications (e.g., forklifts) that have emerged as key early markets in which fuel cells can compete with conventional power technologies. Additional systems will be used to accelerate the demonstration of stationary fuel cells for combined heat and power in the larger residential and commercial markets.

The increase in manufacturing volume in key early markets will also help to bring costs down and encourage the growth of a domestic supplier base. A variety of technologies will be developed and deployed, including polymer electrolyte, solid oxide, and direct-methanol fuel cells.

Publication date:05/18/2009