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Nuvera Fuel Cells Receives $8.4M in DOE Awards for Two Fuel Cell Stack Projects

The goal of the SPIRE project is to define the rating current density (RCD) of an advanced stack technology consistent with DOE 2015 cost targets, and elucidate critical durability mechanisms at this RCD. Click to enlarge.

Nuvera Fuel Cells has received two technical research awards from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to increase the durability and performance of fuel cell stacks designed to meet DOE’s 2015 cost and durability targets.

Both projects—SPIRE and AURORA—support Nuvera’s product development plans to reduce fuel cell capital and life cycle costs for both advanced automotive technology and next generation PowerEdge material handling products. Both projects are scheduled for completion in 2012. The overall value of these programs is more than $11.1 million of which the DOE is directly funding $8.4 million.

SPIRE. The objective of Nuvera’s first project, SPIRE, is to study and identify strategies to assure durability of fuel cells designed to meet DOE 2015 cost targets. The DOE’s 2015 technical plan targets for automotive fuel cell stack cost and durability are $15/kWe and 5,000 hours respectively.

The premise is that exceeding the MEA (membrane electrode assembly) power density target (>1 W/cm2) while maintaining low total Pt loading (≤0.2 mg/cm2) will enable cost targets to be met. Specifically, this program will develop a practical understanding of the degradation mechanisms impacting durability of fuel cells with low platinum loading operating at high power density and develop approaches for improving the durability of these stack designs.

Total Federal funding for SPIRE is $3.9 (76%) for the multi-year project, with $1.2 million (24%) in cost share. Partners on this program are Los Alamos National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory.

The target of AURORA is to demonstrate stable and repeatable high power performance on a full format fuel cell stack: 7.5 W/mg-Pt @ 500mV. Click to enlarge.

AURORA. The objective of Nuvera’s second project, AURORA, is to optimize the efficiency of stacks designed to meet the same DOE 2015 cost targets: 65% stack efficiency at 25% of rated power, and 55% stack efficiency at rated power, by 2015.

Stack technology development to date has largely prioritized efficiency over cost—this program is intended to do the opposite. Specifically, the project will demonstrate stable and repeatable high performance on a full-format fuel cell stack with very low platinum loading operating at high power density.

The key deliverable of this program is a performance model validated over a range of stack architectures operating at high power.

Total Federal funding for AURORA is $4.5 million (74%) with $1.6 million (26%) in cost share. Partners on this program are Johnson Matthey Fuel Cell Ltd., Pennsylvania State University, and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.



Henry Gibson

A large piston combined cycle diesel engine can give equal performance to fuel cells at far lower costs. ..HG..



I've heard that SOFC with some heat scavenging cogeneration can achieve 50-65% efficiency. I don't know if they will ever be simple enough, durable enough or cheap enough, but in theory they get more output per unit of fuel.


The newer fuel cell designs are alot better thats why all this work is moving so much faster now. They realy are getting closer to pushing out engines in alot of applications this decade.

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