Committee hears ins and outs of hydrogen fuel research

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By Roger Snodgrass

A legislative committee wrapped up two days of hearings Friday with an in-depth presentation on hydrogen technology research at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Committee Chairman Rep. John Heaton, D-Eddy said one purpose of hearings was to delve into the subject of energy alternatives that were important to the nation.

“We’ve raised the bar,” he said, before the second session of the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee began at Fuller Lodge.

Catherine Padró who heads the laboratory’s fuel cell group and Anthony Burrell, a Technical Staff Member in the Materials Chemistry Group gave reports on LANL’s long history of fuel cell research and current efforts as part of the Department of Energy’s Chemical Hydrogen Storage Center of Excellence.

Earlier this month DOE announced funding up to $15.3 million over five years for 10 hydrogen storage research and development projects, part of a $1.2 billion Hydrogen Fuel Initiative for hydrogen-powered fuel cells.

Hydrogen fuel cells are one of the most promising areas of research for a clean, portable alternative to carbon-based energy for vehicles, but as the researchers made clear, there are still many challenges in the areas of storage, safety, driving range, cost and performance.

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