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RIT Awarded $2.7 Million to Help Improve Fuel Cell Performance.

SciTech21-31 October 2006-RIT Awarded $2.7 Million to Help Improve Fuel Cell Performance(C)2006 JeraOne -

The Rochester Institute of Technology has been awarded $2.7 million from U.S. Department of Energy to explore improving automotive fuel-cell performance.

Fuel cells use hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity, with only water and heat as byproducts. They can power portable devices, provide heat and electricity to buildings, and power vehicles with up to three times the efficiency of internal combustion technologies, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

The three-year project, beginning Jan. 1, 2007, will also involve co-op, master's degree and doctoral students. It is among $100 million in hydrogen research and development projects announced this week by the U.S. Energy Department supporting President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative.

Principal investigator for the project, "Visualization of Fuel Cell Water Transport and Performance Characterization," is Satish Kandlikar, the James E. Gleason Professor of Mechanical Engineering in RIT's Kate Gleason College of Engineering. Collaborators include Navalgund Rao, associate professor in RIT's Center for Imaging Science; Jeffrey Allen, assistant professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics at Michigan Technological University; and Thomas Trabold, senior research engineer with General Motors Corp. Fuel Cell Development Center in Honeoye Falls.

Using advanced diagnostic methods and fuel cells with visual access, researchers will seek to enhance automotive fuel-cell performance by exploring water transport and accumulation, leading to the development of methods to minimize water accumulation and freeze damage that result in degraded performance and material durability.

"Developing alternative energy sources requires the latest technological tools to overcome complex scientific and engineering challenges," says Kandlikar. "We hope our efforts will contribute in advancing automotive hydrogen fuel-cell technology and allow the United States to gain leadership in the world market."

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Date:Oct 31, 2006
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