DOE Funds Fuel Cell Vehicles at Airports

The Dept of Energy (DOE) is making $2.5 million available this year to demonstrate and deploy fuel cell electric vehicles that transport passenger baggage at major U.S. airports.

The projects selected for funding will demonstrate first-generation, fuel cell powered baggage towing tractors under real-world operating conditions at airport, and collect and analyze data to test their performance and cost-effectiveness.

Most of DOE’s funding for fuel cells to date has been for  research and development, although it’s supported some early market applications, such as fuel cell forklifts and back-up power for telecommunications.

After DOE catalyzed these early fuel cell applications, private financing has deployed thousands of forklifts and back-up power devices.

DOE is looking for applicants to demonstrate and test the performance and economic viability of advanced fuel cell systems for up to three years in the 50% cost-shared projects.

Data will be collected from actual airport operations so that engineers and economic analysts can assess the technology’s performance, durability, and cost-effectiveness under the real-world conditions of commercial airports.

The data will be shared with fuel cell manufacturers, helping to improve their designs and optimize overall performance and costs.

The Department plans to select up to three projects, which will leverage another $2.5 million in funding from private and other sources.

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