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US DOE awards Lubrizol Corp. $1 million funding to advance fuel cell durability

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The U.S. Department of Energy's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has announced that it has awarded funding worth $1 million to Lubrizol Corporation to develop enhanced membranes for heavy-duty fuel cell applications.

The award will be used by the Lubrizol Corporate Ventures team as they advance work focused on improving the durability of Proton-Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells through enhanced membrane oxidation performance.

The real-world application of the grant will not only contribute to reduced emissions but add more than 25 percent to the fuel cell lifespan and hours of usable runtime. This development will also enable the advanced adoption of this technology and promises a lower cost of lifetime ownership for several different applications where PEM fuel cells will be used, including commercial vehicles, material handling equipment, final mile delivery fleets, and backup power generation. This work leverages Lubrizol's chemical and synthesis expertise and process development capabilities to address the issue of oxidative degradation prevalent in PEM fuel cell membranes.

Advances resulting from this project will enable greater marketplace commercialization of fuel cells for highway applications and beyond. "As a company, Lubrizol is focused on the opportunity to leverage our existing technologies and introduce new capabilities that will address challenges in emerging markets and adjacent fields," said Deb Langer, Senior Vice President, Lubrizol Corporate Ventures. "This grant will leverage foundational Lubrizol technologies and market knowledge in unique and valuable ways. More durable fuel cell technology will be a substantial step forward in how the world Moves Cleaner."

This project will rely on Lubrizol's track record of leveraging existing technology in new ways and the ability to commercialize new solutions at scale.

As part of the grant proposal, the Lubrizol Corporate Ventures team focused on new energy solutions will collaborate with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to conduct validation testing of the enhanced membrane technologies. This award is part of the approximately $64 million in DOE funding for projects that will support EERE's H2@Scale vision for clean and affordable hydrogen production, storage, distribution, and use across the economy.

Over the course of the next year, the Lubrizol team will continue its work to study, enhance and test new membrane technology. Matt Joyce, Vice President, Commercial, Corporate Ventures added, "Industry engagement and understanding the biggest challenges facing stakeholders today have driven this work. Our team has considered solutions to the complex needs in the market and has applied our technology and applied science to solve these issues. We look forward to progressing this work with NREL to deliver a meaningful solution to an emerging market and continuing to engage industry stakeholders who can benefit from this technology advancement."

The Lubrizol work will support the next round of H2@Scale research, development, and demonstration activities. This is one of several areas the Lubrizol Corporate Ventures team is advancing relative to fuel cell technologies and new energy solutions. The Ventures team includes Lubrizol innovators working in partnership with inventors, start-ups, strategic minds, and organizations to build new business opportunities that leverage the company's strengths and enable sizable growth in new areas.

Author : Moulin Oza
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