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Posted: October 16, 2007

Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center Announces Funding for Fuel Cell Company

(Nanowerk News) The Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center has announced that it has funded HydroGen Corporation to develop and manufacture enhanced performance hydrogen fuel cell electrodes. The new electrodes will use novel carbon nanotubes to improve the performance and lifetime of the electrodes, thereby reducing overall costs for fuel cell operations.
The Center is providing $230,314 in Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority funding to support this project. HydroGen is providing $131,545 in match to this funding amount.
HydroGen Corp. manufactures megawatt scale fuel cell systems using the company's 400 kilowatt air-cooled phosphoric acid fuel cell technology in its Versailles, PA manufacturing facility. HydroGen has entered into a partnership with the University of Pittsburgh to assess the use of commercially available single-wall carbon nanotubes for fuel cell electrode catalysts. The project is expected to allow HydroGen to manufacture an improved fuel cell electrode and expand its fuel cell business worldwide.
HydroGen is the third company this month to receive funding from the Center.
Previously this month, the Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center had announced the funding for two other commercialization projects in nanomaterials.
Integran Technologies USA was awarded $248,241 in U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory funding to develop a novel new nanomaterials coaxial wire technology. This project will help to establish this new wire technology as a fully proven, mass production-ready process and to create a new technology and market support center in Pittsburgh to serve the wiring industry across the U.S. Integran is providing $80,000 in matching funds.
Crystalplex Corp. was awarded $220,000 in Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority funding to commercialize innovative new quantum dot technology. Quantum dots are nano-sized semiconductor crystals that have unique optical properties. This project will use these nano-sized devices to improve the efficiency, while reducing the costs of light emitting diodes (LEDs) used in energy saving lighting and electronic displays. Crystalplex is providing $55,000 in matching funds for this project.
"We, indeed, are fortunate to have such a wide field of enterprising nanomaterials company's in Pennsylvania," said Alan Brown, executive director of the NanoMaterials Commercialization Center. "With the addition of HydroGen, along with Integran and Crystalplex, the Center now has six early stage nanomaterials companies in its portfolio. In addition, we anticipate that there will be several more companies in our next round of funding that are developing projects that are equally as promising.
In April of this year, the Center funded three other Pennsylvania companies, including NanoRDC, LLC for $51,250; Plextronics, Inc. for 200,500 and Illuminex Corporation for 300,000.
The Center requested pre-proposal white papers prior to the formal proposals that resulted in the current crop of submissions, which in turn involved a broad range of partnerships between universities and small and large companies statewide. Each proposer received feedback from the Center on the suitability of their white paper and adherence to the Center's guidelines, along with advice on submitting a full proposal.
All proposals in the current round were judged by the Center's technical advisory committee that recommended the most promising ideas to the Center's governing board for funding. The advisory committee is made up of 19 leading researchers in the field of nanotechnology from Pennsylvania universities, small and large technology companies and federal laboratories.
The grants were made possible as a result of funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Air Force. A grant totaling $1 million from the state's Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority to the Center was announced by Governor Rendell in August, 2006. This state support is part of the Pennsylvania Initiative in Nanotechnology which is intended to capitalize on the exciting new field of nanotechnology to create new companies and high technology jobs throughout the commonwealth. To date, the Center has received total funding in the amount of $1,743,424 from the Air Force Research Labs through the Wright Brothers Institute in Dayton, Ohio.
The invitation for the next round of proposals will be open in November of 2007, with additional awards expected in early 2008.
The mission of the Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center is to promote and support the commercialization of nanomaterials research for new and enhanced products critical to the U.S. economy and manufacturing base. The Center builds upon Pennsylvania's excellence in advanced materials research, development and manufacturing, and it acts as a new model for a public-private partnership among government, universities, entrepreneurs, small and large companies to accelerate the transition from nanomaterials invention and innovation to new products and new companies.
Source: Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center