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3M Awarded $17.3 Million for Fuel Cell Research

3M’s current 7-layer MEA.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded 3M a set of grants totaling $17.3 million to further the progress of projects aimed at improved fuel cell membranes and advanced electrocatalysts—two of the key components of membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs).

In all, eight companies and nine universities and national laboratories were selected for a total of $100 million in funding from the DOE.

Company scientists are working on advanced membranes with improved chemical and mechanical properties and expanded operating temperature ranges. In addition, 3M is further developing its proprietary nanostructured, thin-film electrocatalyst technology that has produced more robust performance with less platinum by reducing surface area loss under repetitive high-voltage cycling. The new catalyst also eliminates carbon corrosion which impedes conventional electrocatalysts.

Earlier this year, Dr. Mark Debe, 3M senior staff scientist, received the DOE’s Hydrogen Program R&D Award for outstanding achievement in his team’s work on advanced electrocatalysts.

While technical challenges remain, the track record of progress has been very impressive and gives one confidence going forward. These awards will allow us to continue to focus our technical efforts on addressing key remaining materials and performance needs by approaches which are scaleable and commercially viable.

—Dr. Eric Funkenbusch, director of 3M’s Fuel Cell Program

3M currently offers 5- and 7-layer MEAs for fuel cells in a variety of applications.


Harvey D.

Does anybody know how much the government has (comparatively) spent on Fuel Cells + Hydrogen versus Batteries + Super Caps development in the last 6 years?


Money talks ... can they make Hydrogen walk?


The military spent a fairly large amount of vatter tech a decade or so ago. And I know they do basics on something to replace lith ion wich is basicaly at its peak and has little room for improvement.

They are going fuel cell tho because of the much higher power to weight ratio and the vastly larger room for improvements. They realy dont expect a new battery tech to come out this side of 2040-2060,

Now supercaps they are supposedly working on but duno how much. I know they are working on a combined battery super cap fuel cell power system.


Somewhere in all the pork and no bid contracts some good could get done. But you have to wonder how much farther they would have gotten towards making real progress, if they had spent the money wisely, rather than helping their friends get rich(er).


I don't have hard numbers, but it just seems the government is spending much more money on hydrogen fuel cell than other kinds of hybrid technologies. A ratio of 2 to 1, or even 3 to 1 would not surprise me.

Fuel cells were picked to keep the oil industry's money rolling. Most of the federal funded fuel cell research should be killed in my opinion.


Not killed - funded by oil or reduced and the funds redirected to a more reasonable split. I'm a big fan of BEVs but I wouldn't want all of my eggs in that basket either.


Think of the PNGV program and diesel hybrids that got 70 mpg. If you were two oil guys you would want to shelve that and start something that is 20 years down the road. Diesel hybrids that get 70 mpg would not allow Exxon Mobile $36 billion in profits in 2005. Seems like motive, means and opportunity to me.

Cheryl Ho

Since DME has an advantage of decomposition at lower temperature than methane and LPG, R&D for hydrogen source for fuel cell has been carried out. DME has a potential of feedstock for chemicals. DME to olefins is under development in Japan.

If you would like to know more on the latest DME developments, join us at upcoming North Asia DME / Methanol conference in Beijing, 27-28 June 2007, St Regis Hotel. The conference covers key areas which include:

DME productivity can be much higher especially if
country energy policies makes an effort comparable to
that invested in increasing supply.
National Development Reform Commission NDRC
Ministry of Energy for Mongolia

Production of DME/ Methanol through biomass
gasification could potentially be commercialized
Shandong University completed Pilot plant in Jinan and
will be sharing their experience.

Advances in conversion technologies are readily
available and offer exciting potential of DME as a
chemical feedstock
By: Kogas, Lurgi and Haldor Topsoe

Available project finance supports the investments
that DME/ Methanol can play a large energy supply role
By: International Finance Corporation

For more information:

Orig Kim


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