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Hydrogen fuel cells are being widely tested as a potential for meeting future transportation needs.
In the technical report, Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation Project, available from the Information Bridge, the U.S. Department of Energy, Mercedes-Benz & Research Development, North America (MBRDNA), Chrysler, Daimler, Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), BP, DTE Energy and Next Energy endeavor to substantiate fuel cell technologies for infrastructure and transportation as well as evaluate technology and commercial market suitability. Tests were performed through the operation and fueling of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in practical situations, including variations in climate, topography, and driving conditions.
Researchers are finding ways to fine tune fuel cells to make them affordable, reliable, efficient and commercially competitive. DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) researchers have discovered ways to improve the fuel cell terminal surface area of solid oxide fuel cells and found novel methods to synthesize large batches of nanotubes to increase fuel cells’ output.
A large portion of DOE fuel cell research is about improving the fuel. Many fuels contain contaminants that can damage the cell and impede the processes involved. Developing methods for removing impurities from fuels may help improve their efficiency and environmental impact, thereby increasing their marketability.
In Fuel Quality Issues in Stationary Fuel Cell Systems, from the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division at Argonne National Laboratory, researchers point out contaminants of particular concern because of their effects on the functionality and resilience of fuel cell systems, and suggest strategies for clean-up.