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March 29, 2012

Michigan Company Eaton Awarded $2 Million by Energy Department to Reduce Cost of Advanced Fuel Cells

In support of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above approach to American energy, the Energy Department today announced the investment of $2 million to Eaton Corporation in Southfield, Michigan, to lower the cost of advanced fuel cell systems by developing cost-effective, durable, and highly efficient fuel cell components. The 3-year project will focus on boosting the performance of fuel cell systems for vehicles and stationary applications while reducing costs. These investments are a part of the Department's commitment to U.S. leadership in innovative fuel cell technologies that give American families and businesses more options to cut energy costs and reduce petroleum use.

"Advancing hydrogen and fuel cell technology is an important part of the Energy Department's efforts to support the President's all-of-the-above energy strategy, helping to diversify America's energy sector and reduce our dependence on foreign oil," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "This investment in Michigan will help fuel technology breakthroughs, drive down costs, and bring innovative, job-creating clean energy technologies to market faster."

These projects are part of the Department's commitment to U.S. leadership in innovative fuel cells that give American families and businesses more options to reduce petroleum use. Fuel cells convert fuel&mdahs;often in the form of hydrogen or natural gas—into electricity, cleanly and efficiently, using diverse domestic energy supplies. Fuel cells can be used in a wide range of stationary, transportation, and portable-power applications—curbing harmful air pollution and enhancing energy security.

Eaton's project will focus on boosting the performance of fuel cell systems. Located in Southfield, Eaton will modify their existing air compression technology to deliver more power and better fuel economy at a lower cost. Additional project partners include Kettering University, Ballard Power Systems, and Electricore, Inc.

The Energy Department's hydrogen and fuel cell research and development program has led successful R&D efforts, resulting in more than 300 patents and bringing 30 products to market. At the same time, fuel cell durability has doubled and the cost of fuel cells has come down 30% since 2008.

To reduce costs, improve performance, and accelerate commercialization, the Energy Department has set industry targets for advanced vehicle technologies, including direct hydrogen fuel cell systems. The investments announced today support efforts to reach the target of 60% peak efficiency, $30 per kilowatt cost, and durability of 5,000 hours—equivalent to 150,000 miles of driving—by 2017.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.

Find out more about DOE's support of research, development and deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

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