Early Holiday Gifts for Universities as Florida Solar Energy Center Awards $4.85 Million to Continue Hydrogen Research for NASA

Cocoa, December 22, 2004 The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has awarded $4.85 million to Florida universities to conduct hydrogen research. As welcome as any holiday gift, the new awards will allow university researchers to continue work on existing projects and begin research on fuel cells for flight. Universities participating in the program are Florida A&M University, Florida International University, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of South Florida and University of West Florida.

This multi-year, multi-million dollar project is funded by grants from NASA Glenn Research Center with the objective of supporting NASAs hydrogen-related space and space launch activities. The total funding for this years NASA Hydrogen Research at Florida Universities was $7.275 million. FSEC is co-program manager with the  University of Florida.

The projects selected for the FSEC-led program were chosen through a merit-review, competitive solicitation process by NASA Glenn Research Center and NASA Kennedy Space Center program managers, with review by FSEC program managers.

Dr. Ali Raissi, Director of the Hydrogen R&D Division at FSEC, stated, This research is important to NASA because it represents a potential dollar savings to them of as much as $25 million per year. These savings can be realized by avoiding loss of hydrogen through storage tank boiloff, employing local production of hydrogen, implementing new sensor technologies, and utilizing densified propellants.

The fact that the KSC launch operation mimics prototypical future vehicular hydrogen fueling stations, in both fuel volume dispensed and its energy content, means that the investment in this research program will pay dividends as a model that can be replicated throughout the U. S. for the nations future hydrogen economy.

Research resulting from the awards is expected to develop technologies and methodologies that can be applied by NASA for local hydrogen production and storage, advance safety through breakthrough sensor technologies, utilize high performance densified propellants, and expand the public’s knowledge and understanding of hydrogen through education. New this year will be research to develop the use of fuel cells for aeropropulsion applications. This is also the first year that Florida A&M University will participate in this program.

The complete list of 30 projects funded by the $4.85 million may be seen at http://www.hydrogenresearch.org/news.htm.

This three-year partnership has resulted in a successful scientific collaboration among seven Florida universities with a number of successes, including a strong technical program on an important national issue the hydrogen economy. The partnership’s research has secured well over $10 million in funding from U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and Department of Defense and has generated tens of millions of dollars in proposals still pending.

The Florida Solar Energy Center, an Institute of the University of Central Florida, has a long history of hydrogen research and education. Its hydrogen program began in 1983 with funding from NASA/Kennedy Space Center, and in 1997 FSEC was designated a Center of Excellence in Hydrogen Research and Education by the U.S. Department of Energy. Today, with the announcement of these awards, FSEC continues to expand its work in hydrogen research through the NASA program.

The Florida Solar Energy Center is the largest and most active state-supported renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development organization in the United States and functions as the State’s energy research and training center. For more information about FSEC’s hydrogen research programs, visit http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/hydrogen or http://hydrogenresearch.org. For information about all of FSEC’s programs, call FSEC Public Information Office at (321) 638-1015 or go to http://www.fsec.ucf.edu.

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