Cornell Receives Federal Funds For Fuel Cells

The future of Cornell University may include both efficient and cheap fuel cells. At least that's what the federal government hopes. Its Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the Ithaca, N.Y., university $2.25 million over three years to establish the Cornell Fuel Cell Institute (CFCI). The institute will study new materials to build a better, cheaper fuel cell. Some of the possible fuel cell technologies that could result from the research may not even include hydrogen as a fuel, Cornell says. "In the last 20 years there has been little materials research aimed at improving fuel cells," says CFCI director Hector Abruna, who is a professor of chemistry and chemical biology. "Most of the limits that current fuel cells face are in the materials themselves." CFCI initially will involve six Cornell researchers and one from the California Institute of Technology. However, there are more than 100 faculty members involved in materials research at Cornell whose expertise may be called upon. The DOE funds primarily will support graduate and postdoctoral research, Cornell says.

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