Congresswoman Slaughter Announces $2.75 Million in Funding for RIT and Delphi

Federal commitment will enhance advancement of fuel cell technology production

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Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (D-Fairport), chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, today joined Bill Destler, president of Rochester Institute of Technology; Steven Shaffer, chief engineer for fuel cells at Delphi; and Nabil Nasr, director of RIT’s Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies to announce $2.75 million in federal funds for fuel cell development.

The funding was secured in the 2008 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill by Slaughter and New York’s U.S. Senate delegation, and is funding a joint project between RIT and Delphi to accelerate manufacturability and application of solid oxide fuel cells in the armed forces.

“My top priority in Congress is to bolster our region’s economic advantage and keep us on the cutting edge of emerging industries,” says Slaughter. “The fuel cell industry is just one of the new high-tech sectors that hold tremendous promise for the Rochester community. Because Delphi, and companies like them, made the choice to locate their best researchers in our backyard, we have the potential to be a leading player in fuel cell development.”

“These funds represent one of the first tangible successes in our efforts to accelerate fuel cell development by linking private sector partners and local academic institutions,” continues Slaughter.

“This is a tremendous example of government-university-industry collaboration that leverages the expertise at CIMS and the new Golisano Institute for Sustainability, as well as our partners at Delphi,” adds Destler. “We appreciate the efforts of Congresswoman Slaughter and Senators Schumer and Clinton to successfully include this funding in the defense appropriations bill.”

The project seeks to accelerate the application of solid oxide fuel cells into stationary and mobile systems within the U.S. Department of Defense. This type of fuel cell is a highly efficient electrochemical generator that produces environmentally friendly electricity directly from currently available fuels. This work builds upon Delphi’s fuel cell development efforts and will utilize the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies’ state-of-the-art sensors-monitoring technology to evaluate the quality of fuel cell powered systems.

“We are extremely grateful to Congresswoman Slaughter and our Senate representatives for their help in securing federal assistance for our joint research efforts with Delphi,” Nasr says. “It is my hope that this research will amplify our ability to accelerate the implementation of new fuel cell technologies that will support numerous military applications. This will also enhance the development of sustainable energy systems for future commercial applications.”

“Situational awareness, future weapons and next-generation protection systems will require more electric power generated quietly and at higher efficiency,” notes Russ Bosch, Delphi’s director of fuel cell development. “The fuel cell is a preferable technology for meeting these needs because the cell’s higher efficiency decreases the amount of fuel that needs to be transported and the solid oxide fuel cell’s quiet operation improves stealth capabilities. Delphi thanks Congresswoman Slaughter and Senators Schumer and Clinton for championing the efforts to obtain this funding.”