US Energy Secretary Praises Dow/GM Fuel Cell Collaboration

New Freeport, Texas facility will conduct field tests to transfer hydrogen into electricity and will demonstrate the viability of fuel cell power generation for chemical manufacturing

Published: 11-Feb-2004

FREEPORT, Texas, Feb. 10 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, joined by Texas Governor Rick Perry and other dignitaries, today officially opened a new General Motors hydrogen fuel cell test facility that will convert hydrogen into electricity for the Dow Chemical Company's manufacturing facility site in Freeport. This new facility will conduct field tests to transfer hydrogen into electricity and will demonstrate the viability of fuel cell power generation for chemical manufacturing. The test is a milestone that could have wide ranging benefits for industry and individuals in the years to come.

"The Dow-GM transaction typifies the type of creative arrangements that will arise from the new hydrogen economy," Secretary Abraham said. "Not only is this test a first for evaluating the broad industrial use of fuel cell technology, it is the first time a carmaker has used its fuel cell technology to provide electricity and heat for buildings and manufacturing,"

President Bush has called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to pursue the promise of hydrogen. Over the next five years DOE will invest $1.7 billion in research and development of hydrogen vehicles and hydrogen infrastructure technologies.

"We are optimistic about the prospects for hydrogen, not just as the transportation fuel of the future, but also for its potential to generate electricity to heat and power our homes and businesses," Secretary Abraham said.

Successful installation of hydrogen fuel cells will give Dow, an energy-intensive manufacturer, an additional supply of electricity while reducing emissions. The arrangement will also inevitably drive technological progress in GM's pursuit of cost- competitive fuel cell systems.

The initial test will convert hydrogen into 75 kilowatts of electricity, or enough power for sixty homes per year. Ultimately, fuel cells from GM could generate 35 megawatts of power from hydrogen for Dow, equivalent to electricity for 25,000 homes.

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