student working on fuel cells

Student Michelle Butler working in the Colorado Fuel Cell Center

The Colorado Fuel Cell Center (CFCC) has been awarded $1.1 million in additional funding to advance its work on electrochemical energy storage technology. Through support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA–E), the researchers in the CFCC, together with faculty in the Colorado Center for Advanced Ceramics (CCAC), are integrating advanced proton-conducting ceramics with novel ammonia-synthesis catalysts to store intermittent renewable electricity in the form of chemical 
energy – specifically, ammonia.

The reversible electrochemical conversion of solar and wind energy into ammonia, a carbon-free, easily transportable chemical, addresses the challenge of matching intermittent renewable energy generation with demand. One challenging aspect of synthesizing electrofuels is the need for high-pressure, high-temperature electrochemical operation. CFCC researchers have developed this technical capability and are using their pressurized test stand assembly to advance reversible proton-conducting electrochemical cells. This research project is part of the ARPA-E REFUEL program to store solar and wind power in the form of a carbon-free, liquid fuel. The principal investigator on the program is Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Neal Sullivan. The CFCC and CCAC are working with industrial partner FuelCell Energy of Danbury, Connecticut.

This follow-on award brings the total program funding level to nearly $5 million, with Mines receiving over $2 million in federal support over the 3.5-year effort. More about this program »