Delaware Delagation Announces $9.5 Million in Federal Funding for Delaware Based Companies to Develop and Research Fuel Cell Technologies

Ion Power Inc., of Bear, Delaware to receive $2.46 million to develop fuel cell recycling/re-manufacturing technology, DuPont to receive $7 million to develop cost effective fuel cell membrane technology

WASHINGTON, DC – The Delaware Congressional Delegation today announced that two Delaware companies will receive federal funding to conduct research on fuel cells and hydrogen to help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Ion Power, Inc. will receive $2,462,750 million to partner with DuPont and the University of Delaware’s Department of Chemical Engineering to develop technology for the recycling and/or remanufacturing of catalyst-coated fuel cell membranes and catalyst-coated fuel cell processing components that are used in fuel cell systems. The new recycling technology should make it easier to recycle valuable platinum used in fuel cells. DuPont will receive $7,033,380 million to develop over three years the technology for a 40,000-hour Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) stack. The technology will be used to reinforce fuel cells and make them more capable of withstanding higher temperatures needed to make fuel cells more powerful and efficient. Funding comes from President Bush’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, which proposes $1.2 billion over five years in research funding to help America lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered technologies that could also help reduce American dependence on foreign oil. The Delaware companies and the University of Delaware were one of 13 firms and educational institutions in 12 states to receive cost-shared awards to fund new research in advanced fuel cell technology for vehicles, buildings and other applications. As the Department of Energy states, “These projects are integral to the President’s commitment to research, develop, and validate hydrogen storage and fuel cell technologies. Hydrogen will play a major role in enabling our nation to dramatically reduce dependence on foreign oil; promote the use of diverse, domestic, and sustainable energy resources; reduce carbon emissions from energy production and consumption; and increase the reliability and efficiency of electricity generation. Fuel cell research will primarily focus on overcoming technical barriers to commercialization, including durability, high costs, heat utilization, and catalyst development. Hydrogen technology research will focus on overcoming the technical barriers of storage capacity and cost, along with improving life cycle cost and energy efficiency, improving methods of hydrogen production, and sensors for detecting hydrogen.” “Delaware companies continue to be leaders in renewable energy,” said Congressman Castle. “I have been a strong supporter of federal funding for renewable energy research and I am pleased to see Delaware companies benefit from this commitment. Fuel cell technology holds the greatest promise to power important aspects of our daily lives with clean energy. Energy efficiency and energy conservation programs are a critical element to our environmental and economic well being. Additionally, this research and development is vital in reducing America’s dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.” “These grants will help Delaware solidify its status as being at the forefront of developing cutting-edge, alternative energy sources,” said Senator Carper. “Developing effective fuel cell technology will benefit the state and the nation economically, while helping us make the jump to clean energy sources.” “I have no doubt that the work being done at Ion Power will revolutionize the energy industry as we know it,” said Senator Biden. “This is truly cutting-edge technology with dual benefits – it is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly.” Castle wrote to Department of Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham in May in support of Ion Power’s proposal to develop technology for the recycling and re-use of fuel cell membranes. Ion Power, Inc. will partner with Dupont and the University of Delaware’s Department of Chemical Engineering to develop a method of recovering all of the valuable materials contained in fuel cells systems. The University of Delaware’s Department of Chemical Engineering is recognized as one of the top programs in the United States, attracting Ph.D. students of very high caliber and potential. The Ph.D. students supported by this project will be well prepared for careers in fuel cell research and technology through the unique interactions and collaborations included in this effort.