Dr. Sunita Satyapal, Director of the Fuel Cell Technologies Office at the U.S. Department of Energy, will kick off the Emerging Technologies in Clean Energy topical conference.
Progress and Challenges in Emerging Clean Energy Technology: A Case Study in Hydrogen and Fuel Cells from the U.S. Department of Energy
A record $260 billion has been invested globally in clean energy, and trillions of dollars will be invested in the coming decades. According to a recent Pew report, global investment in the clean energy sector is 600 percent higher than it was in 2004. As a result of this rapid growth, the clean energy sector recorded its trillionth dollar invested in 2011. To seize this market and job creation opportunity, the United States invests in programs that advance research, development, manufacturing, and deployment of clean energy technologies. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) works to move clean energy technologies forward across different stages of development, from initial feasibility studies and applied research through enabling broad commercialization. A key component of the clean energy portfolio, the hydrogen and fuel cell industry has seen a more than 35% growth rate in just one year. Recent technical accomplishments include reducing the projected high volume cost of fuel cells by 35% since 2008 and more than doubling durability in just a few years. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments led to the deployment of more than 1,000 fuel cells for early market applications. These successful projects led companies to invest in more than 3,500 fuel cell forklifts and 1,300 fuel cell-powered emergency backup systems without any DOE funding. Interagency and international coordination of safety, codes and standards and systems analysis is critical, as well as technology validation and market transformation activities. Although the availability of wide-spread, low cost natural gas has contributed to market parity, continuing chemical engineering and chemistry challenges include the need for increased fuel cell durability, decreased fuel cell costs, and a bridge to hydrogen infrastructure.