UO to share $2M grant for fuel cell materials research
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Shih-Yuan Liu, a University of Oregon chemist, will lead research on hyrogen materials for fuel cells.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced this week that the University of Oregon will share $2 million with three other organizations to develop and test hydrogen storage materials for use in fuel cells.
The funds are available as part of a push on the part of the feds to fund technologies that can be used in fuel cell electric vehicles.
In all, the DOE is investing $7 million to fund four 3-year projects in California, Washington in Oregon.
"Targeted investments in cutting-edge hydrogen storage technologies will spur American ingenuity, accelerate breakthroughs and increase our competitiveness in the global clean energy economy," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a press release.
The goal of the investment is to lower the cost of and improve the efficiency of hydrogen storage systems, key components of fuel cell electric vehicles.
The UO will share up to $2 million with the University of Alabama, DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Protonex Technology Corp., a fuel cell technology company in Southborough, Mass. Researchers from the organizations will work together on hydrogen storage material for use in mobile and stationary fuel cells.
Leading the research for UO is Shih-Yuan Liu, chemistry professor in UO Materials Science Institute, who this year developed a boron-nitrogen-based liquid storage material for hydrogen.
In a November news release from UO, Liu explained why a liquid-based storage system was significant.
"The field of materials-based hydrogen storage has been dominated by the study of solid-phase materials such as metal hydrides, sorbent materials and ammonia borane," Liu said. "The availability of a liquid-phase hydrogen storage material could represent a practical hydrogen storage option for mobile and carrier applications that takes advantage of the currently prevalent liquid-based fuel infrastructure."
Liu said the bulk of the research money will got to UO and PNNL with smaller amounts going to the University of Alabama and Protonex, which will be testing the technology in fuel cells.
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