The Energy Department announced a $4.5 million investment in two projects – led by Minnesota-based 3M and the Colorado School of Mines – to lower the cost, improve the durability, and increase the efficiency of next-generation fuel cell systems. The projects will focus on research and development work aimed at making cost-effective, high-performing fuel cell membranes that can operate under hotter and drier conditions. For example, 3M will receive $3 million to develop fuel cell membranes with improved durability and performance using processes that are scalable to commercial size. The Colorado School of Mines will receive $1.5 million to develop advanced hybrid membranes for fuel cells that are simpler and more affordable and able to operate at higher temperatures.
BASF is restructuring its fuel cell systems activities and, as a result, BASF Fuel Cell business unit in Somerset, NJ, closed August 1. The site produced membrane electrode assemblies for high-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell systems. The closing of the Somerset production site affects about 25 employees. In the future BASF will focus on activities in the field of catalysts and adsorbents for fuel cells. These activities are run out of BASF’s Catalysts division headquartered in Iselin, NJ.