RIT launches partnership with fuel cell industry targeting life-cycle strategies

June 22, 2004

The potential use of fuel cell technology as a mainstream energy source takes a significant step forward with word today of a new fuel cell industry partnership spearheaded by Rochester Institute of Technology.

The announcement comes during the fourth annual Congressional Fuel Cell Expo in Washington, D.C. RIT's Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) is developing the partnership through the U.S. Fuel Cell Council and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The goal of this new effort is to provide for the logistics, guidance and sharing of information associated with the development of direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC) for the portable electronics market, particularly as it pertains to end-of-life strategies.

Growing at a rapid pace, the portable electronics market is expected to exceed two billion users by 2007. DMFCs, which mix methanol and air to provide an uninterrupted power supply, are being designed to help power this growing demand. While offering the potential for greater efficiency over existing portable power supply products, the developing technology still requires an extensive level of research.

"There has not yet been a full evaluation of the environmental and economic impacts of DMFCs, from manufacture to disposal," explains Nabil Nasr, director of RIT's Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies. "Evaluating the optimum end-of-life strategy will enable the industry to identify options for reducing life-cycle operating costs, improve product performance, and prepare their product platforms to be more sustainable in a robust fuel cell market."

Working with the Sustainability Working Group from the U.S. Fuel Council, CIMS will provide a forecast for DMFC technology, conduct analysis on the environmental impact and life-cycle economics, develop a reverse logistics model, and provide recommendation for the optimum end-of-life strategy.

"CIMS is well positioned, due to its analytical capabilities and industry reach, to work with the U.S. Fuel Cell Council's Sustainability Working Group," states Nasr. "Over the past two years, in partnership with industry and the Environmental Protection Agency, CIMS has developed an analytical sustainable design tool that enables engineers to evaluate the total life cycle of a fuel cell."

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy has also recognized CIMS's leadership in the research and development of alternative energy sources. Earlier this year, the agency provided funding for the creation of a hydrogen-technology learning center--one of only four such centers to be established nationally. The goal of the hydrogen-technology learning center is to serve as an educational resource in establishing a vision for a fuel cell economy.

A final report on life-cycle strategies for DMFCs, including a list of industry guidelines, will be released next April. Project results and recommendations will also be disseminated through participation in fuel cell workshops and conferences.
-end-
Background: The Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) at Rochester Institute of Technology exists to increase the competitiveness of manufacturers through applied technology and training. Established in 1992, CIMS provides technology and workforce development solutions that strengthen industrial clients' ability to compete in the global marketplace. CIMS represents a dynamic collaboration of in-house technical experts, as well as academic, industry and government resources.

Major initiatives sponsored by CIMS include the National Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery (NCR3), the System Modernization and Sustainment Center, the Sustainable Systems Research Center, the Center for Excellence in Lean Enterprise, the Manufacturing Technologies Program, the Imaging Products Laboratory and the Occupational Safety and Ergonomics Excellence Program.

Rochester Institute of Technology

Related Fuel Cell Articles from Brightsurf:

INRS researchers develop a new membraneless fuel cell
The research team of INRS (Institut national de la recherche scientifique) professor Mohamed Mohamedi has designed a green membraneless fuel cell that uses oxygen from the air.

Researchers advance fuel cell technology
Washington State University researchers have made a key advance in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) that could make the highly energy-efficient and low-polluting technology a more viable alternative to gasoline combustion engines for powering cars.

Niobium used as catalyst in fuel cell
Glycerol fuel cell can replace batteries in cell phones and laptops, and could be used in future to run electric cars and supply power to homes.

Inside the fuel cell -- Imaging method promises industrial insight
Hydrogen-containing substances are important for many industries, but scientists have struggled to obtain detailed images to understand the element's behavior.

Selenium anchors could improve durability of platinum fuel cell catalysts
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new platinum-based catalytic system that is far more durable than traditional commercial systems and has a potentially longer lifespan.

Activity of fuel cell catalysts doubled
An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built platinum nanoparticles for catalysis in fuel cells: The new size-optimized catalysts are twice as good as the best process commercially available today.

More flexible nanomaterials can make fuel cell cars cheaper
A new method of increasing the reactivity of ultrathin nanosheets, just a few atoms thick, can someday make fuel cells for hydrogen cars cheaper, finds a new Johns Hopkins study.

Developed self-controlling 'smart' fuel cell electrode material
A research team led by Professor Kang Taek Lee in the Department of Energy Science and Engineering developed electrode material for a new form of high-performance solid oxide fuel cell.

Finally, a robust fuel cell that runs on methane at practical temperatures
Either exorbitantly expensive fuel or insanely hot temperatures have made fuel cells a boutique proposition, but now there's one that runs on cheap methane and at much lower temperatures.

New fuel cell concept brings biological design to better electricity generation
Fuel cells have long been viewed as a promising power source.

Read More: Fuel Cell News and Fuel Cell Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.