Bipartisan Pair of Senators Lead Call for Continued Investment in Fuel Cells

Ohio is a National Leader in Fuel Cells, Home to More than 100 Companies

In Bipartisan Letter, Senators Brown, Graham Lead 14 Senators in Urging Energy Secretary Chu to Maintain Funding for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Programs That Drive Down the Cost of Fuel Cell Systems

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today called for the Department of Energy’s continued support and investment in fuel cell and hydrogen energy programs. In a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the senators urged him to maintain funding for these two programs that spur long-term job creation and expansion of new clean energy technology.

“These successful energy programs—like the Stark State Fuel Cell Prototyping Center—are critical to Ohio’s economic development and in aiding our nation’s energy independence,” Brown said. “Fuel cell and hydrogen technologies are on the cusp of revolutionizing the way we use energy in Ohio and we should allocate all possible resources to encourage our state’s manufacturers, private sector investors, suppliers, and potential customers to embrace this promising new technology.”

“The State of Ohio offers the fuel cell industry unmatched growth potential, Ohio has a great supply chain, a skilled workforce, the R&D strengths, and an enviable partnership with the State of Ohio and the Ohio fuel cell industry,” said Pat Valente, Executive Director of the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition. “With continued Federal Support the industry could be creating hundreds of jobs over the next few years.  Without support Ohio competitive advantage could evaporate.”

“We are grateful to Senators Brown and Graham, and their 12 distinguished colleagues from across the country, for this forceful message of support to preserve American jobs and leadership in the fuel cell and hydrogen energy industry,” said Ruth Cox, president and executive director of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA). “The disproportionate budget cuts proposed by the DOE would seriously undermine American competitiveness in this core clean energy technology—the last such technology in which the U.S. has a technical and manufacturing lead. Our industry is proud to be creating jobs as part of America’s growing clean energy economy, and we are even prouder that so many notable Senators are standing up to ensure fuel cells and hydrogen energy remain an integral component of our clean energy portfolio.”

According to a report in Forbes Magazines, Ohio is a national leader in fuel cell development with more than 100 companies and organizations based in Ohio. Below is a list of the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition Members.

Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition Members

Counties

Hocking College

Athens

Crown Equipment

Auglaize

Central Ohio Technical College

Coshocton, Knox, Licking

NASA Glenn Research Center

Cuyahoga

Technology Management, Inc. (TMI)

Cuyahoga

Die-Matic Corporation

Cuyahoga

GrafTech

Cuyahoga

Timcal Graphite and Carbon

Cuyahoga

Wellman Products

Cuyahoga

The Lanly Company

Cuyahoga

Makel Engineering

Cuyahoga

NorTech (founding sponsor)

Cuyahoga

ElectroSonics Medical Inc.

Cuyahoga

FirstFuelCells.com

Cuyahoga

Case Western Reserve University

Cuyahoga

NexTech Materials

Delaware

Sierra Lobo

Erie, Montgomery

Battelle

Franklin

DJW Technology

Franklin

Edison Welding Institute

Franklin

American Electric Power (AEP)

Franklin

American Municipal Power Inc.

Franklin

Ohio Department of Development (founding sponsor)

Franklin

City of Westerville, Electric Division

Franklin, Delaware

City of Dublin

Franklin, Delaware, Union

Pilus Energy Inc.

Hamilton

University of Cincinnati

Hamilton

University of Toledo

Lucas

Refractory Specialties Inc.

Mahoning

Youngstown State University

Mahoning

EMTEC

Montgomery

Faraday Technology

Montgomery

Mound Technical Solutions

Montgomery

Precision Energy and Technology

Montgomery

Sinclair Community College

Montgomery

Catacel

Portage

Kent State University

Portage

Energy Technologies Inc.

Richland

Gorman-Rupp Industries

Richland

Plug Power

Shelby

Contained Energy

Stark

Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems (US) Inc.

Stark

Stark Development Board

Stark

Stark State College of Technology

Stark

Lockheed Martin

Summit

Item North America

Summit

FirstEnergy

Summit

The University of Akron

Summit

Technical Staffing Professionals

Trumbull

Delphi

Trumbull, Montgomery

Tuscarawas County Port Authority

Tuscarawas

Azbil - Yamatake Sensing Controls

Warren

Today’s letter, joined by 12 senators, said that fuel cells and hydrogen energy systems—which are among the DOE’s most successful programs—must continue to play an important role in our nation’s energy diversification. 

These programs have helped decrease the cost of hydrogen refueling infrastructure and fuel cells, including solid oxide fuel cells, while increasing fuel cell efficiency and durability, and familiarizing Americans with these new clean energy technologies. Because of these DOE programs, domestic manufacturers are on the verge of the full-scale commercialization of fuel cell systems and hydrogen energy technologies in stationary, backup power and material handling equipment applications.

Roll Royce Fuel Cell Systems, Inc. consolidated its fuel cell research and development activities at the company's location at Stark State College of Technology in North Canton. In 2009, Brown secured $1 million for Stark State to upgrade the clean room at the Stark State Fuel Cell Prototyping Center. This project brings critical fuel cell technology to Ohio providing students with first-hand training opportunities to advance and commercialize a one-megawatt solid-oxide fuel cell, which when used in stationary power generation, will aid in smart-grid electric power.

Full text of the letter is below.

May 3, 2011

 

The Honorable Steven Chu

U.S. Department of Energy

1000 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20585-0001

 

Dear Secretary Chu:

 

We write today in support of the fuel cell and hydrogen energy programs within the Department of Energy (DOE). With the enactment of the Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) Continuing Resolution, funding for DOE programs have been reduced by five percent for the remainder of the current fiscal year compared to the amount provided by Congress in FY10. We are concerned, however, that further cuts to these two programs would inhibit the long-term diversification of our nation’s energy portfolio and stunt the development of American engineered and domestically-produced energy systems powered by hydrogen and fuel cells.

We share your belief that reasonable investments in clean energy technology can spur job creation through the growth of new and emerging American industries.  However, funding reductions to fuel cell and hydrogen programs would discourage manufacturers, private sector investors, suppliers, and potential customers from fully embracing this promising new technology.

 

As you know, the fuel cell and hydrogen energy programs within DOE are among its most successful. Within the Office of Fossil Energy (OFE), the Solid-State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) has met or exceeded every benchmark established by Congress and DOE since its creation. This public-private partnership, in which industry has contributed three dollars for every dollar of government funding, has helped decrease the cost of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) tenfold, while dramatically increasing their efficiency and durability.

 

Additionally, we believe domestic manufacturers are on the verge of the full scale commercialization of fuel cell systems and hydrogen energy technologies in stationary, backup power and material handling equipment applications, thanks in part to the success of the Fuel Cell Technologies Program within the Office of Energy Efficient and Renewable Energy (EERE). In the case of mobile fuel cells, several auto manufacturers are planning for commercial fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) launches beginning in 2014-2015. This program is helping drive down the cost of fuel cell systems and hydrogen infrastructure, while familiarizing Americans with these new clean energy technologies.

 

Fuel cells and hydrogen energy systems must continue to play an important role in our nation’s energy diversification.  From new clean vehicle technology to stand-alone power generation for military installations, universities, and hospitals, fuel cell and hydrogen technologies are on the cusp of revolutionizing the way we use energy in the United States. While the Senate considers the Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations for your agency, we urge you to resist repurposing or cutting these programs that support true energy diversification.

 

We look forward to working with you on this critical issue.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

________________________                                                _________________________

Sherrod Brown                                                                       Lindsey Graham                    

United States Senator                                                            United States Senator

 

 

 

________________________                                                _________________________

Joseph I. Lieberman                                                                Ron Wyden                            

United States Senator                                                            United States Senator

 

 

 

________________________                                                _________________________

Max Baucus                                                                            Patty Murray

United States Senator                                                            United States Senator

 

 

 

________________________                                                _________________________

Charles Schumer                                                                     Jon Tester                   

United States Senator                                                            United States Senator

 

 

 

________________________                                                _________________________

Debbie Stabenow                                                                    Kirsten Gillibrand                  

United States Senator                                                            United States Senator

 

 

 

 

________________________                                                _________________________

Richard Blumenthal                                                                Amy Klobuchar                     

United States Senator                                                            United States Senator

 

 

 

________________________                                                _________________________

Maria Cantwell                                                                       Robert P. Casey, Jr.               

United States Senator                                                            United States Senator

 

 

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