The WPI Fuel Cell Center is an industry-university alliance for furthering fuel cell technology through undergraduate and graduate education and through research and development of fuel cells, fuel reformers, and related components for mobile and stationary applications.
Fuel cells is a major emerging energy technology that promises to revolutionize the generation of power for both stationary and mobile application. There are projections that the fuel-cell industry could be a $100 billion market by the year 2006. However, fuel cell technology is not yet ready for consumer applications, and also there is a great paucity of manpower trained in this area.
The Center is comprised of Industrial Members and Academic Members. The Academic Members include six faculty members from WPI's Department of Chemical Engineering as well as one faculty member from each of the following WPI academic areas: Physics, Mathematics, Materials Science, and Economics. Faculty from Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering are also expected to join the Center. There currently are five graduate students and two post doctoral fellows working on fuel cells. We envision the Center eventually having ten graduate students, four post doctoral students, and fifteen to twenty undergraduate students working within it. The Center will have an annual symposium, a seminar program, and short course offerings. The research projects will be proposed by the Industrial Members, who will also have the opportunity to jointly advise students and provide industrial internships.
The Center currently performs research in modeling, development of higher temperature and CO tolerant proton-exchange membrane fuel cells, catalytic reformer design, nonpyrophoric reforming and water-gas shift catalysts, preferential CO oxidation catalysts, low temperature shift catalysts, palladium and other inorganic membranes, and molten-carbonate fuel cells.
The Center is financially supported through fee paid by the Industrial Members, namely, Partners ($25,000 per year), Associates ($10,000 per year), and Subscribers ($2,500 per year), sponsored research grants from companies and Federal and State Agencies, and WPI.
The Industrial Partners serve on the Board of Directors, define research areas, and oversee strategic planning, and are entitled to other benefits below. Industrial Associates are eligible to participate in research through joint advising and industrial internships and have royalty free use of any resulting intellectual property resulting from research supported by membership dues. The Center Subscribers only have access to research results and other information disseminated, but are ineligible for royalty-free use of intellectual property. The results of sponsored research projects are shared only with sponsor companies.
The different laboratories associated with the FCC are the Fuel Cell Laboratory, Inorganic Membranes Laboratory, Catalyst and Reaction Engineering Laboratory, and Catalysis and Surface Science Laboratory.
- Research and development of fuel cells, fuel reformers, hydrogen production, and related technology for mobile and stationary applications
- Education of graduate and undergraduate students, and continuing education in fuel cell technology
- Interface between university and industry
The Fuel Cell Center (FCC) is a university/industry alliance comprising of Full (and Associate) Industrial Members, Faculty Members, Staff, and Graduate and Undergraduate Students. The Director works under the guidance of the Industrial Advisory Board comprised of Full Industrial Members. The Faculty Members of FCC come from the various departments at WPI. The Industrial Members represent companies or government organizations with interest in fuel cell technology including fuel cell companies, automobile manufacturers, utilities, petroleum companies, chemical companies, and catalysis companies.
The FCC is financially supported by Industrial Members through annual membership dues ($30,000 for Full, and $15,000 for Associate) that are leveraged via research grants from Federal and State agencies. The research is performed by graduate and undergraduate students, and postdocs, under supervision of and in the laboratories of the Faculty Members. Benefits.
- Overhead is waived by WPI on membership dues and, thus, these funds directly support research.
- Both the Associate and Full Industrial Members have immediate access to all of the research results supported by FCC membership dues.
- Research progress is presented at an annual workshop held at WPI.
- The Full Industrial Members are entitled to royalty free use of any intellectual property generated through this research.
- The Industrial Members have access to faculty with broad range of expertise.
- The Industrial Members have the opportunity to individually sponsor specific projects including proprietary research.
- They have access to a pool of, bright, welltrained future employees.
- FCC provides continuing education opportunities and short courses to Industrial Members.
- FCC provides a forum for exchange among companies with similar interests.
- FCC provides faculty and students the opportunity to work closely with industry.
- The Full Industrial Members also have representatives on the FCC Industrial Advisory Board, who suggest, select, and mentor the specific research projects. Research Interests.
Last modified: November 05, 2007 09:05:14