Colorado Finalizes Fuel Cell Research Center Plans

While fuel cell technology is proven, considerable research and development remains to be tackled before it’s adopted at a wider, mainstream level throughout the U.S. The federal government is one of the technology’s greatest supporters, but states too are getting on-board by initiating their own fuel cell development programs.

In his 2005 “State of the State” address, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens promised to form a dedicated fuel cell research center for the state. A partnership has now been announced to make that effort a reality. The Colorado Governor’s Office of Energy Management and Conservation (OEMC) selected a proposal for the Colorado Fuel Cell Center (CFCC). The proposal will be a partnership between the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), the Gas Technology Institute (GTI), the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Versa Power Systems, Inc. (VPS). CFCC will be located at the Colorado School of Mines, and GTI will manage its daily operations for the two-year period. GTI will also provide technical advice on fuel cell research, development, demonstration and commercialization, as well as provide public education. The partnership will match the OEMC’s USD $2 million investment with its own $1 million dollar investment. Rick Grice, the OEMC director said the project will “provide a strong research, economic and educational platform for fuel cell and hydrogen technology development and will help put Colorado ‘in the game’ for this important and emerging energy technology of the future.” An extensive amount of research on electrochemical technology, materials and fuel processing will be performed by the partners, as well as CSM students and faculty. CSM will add fuel cell courses to the existing curriculum and oversee all student and faculty research programs. At the completion of this two-year project, operation of the CFCC will be self-sustaining through research and development contracts and consulting agreements. CFCC will emphasize the development of the Colorado fuel cell industry as it actively responds to national solicitations in fuel cells.
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