Colorado Wants to Be World's Fuel-Cell Capital

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State government plans to funnel Federal seed money to encourage the emerging fuel cell industry to locate its core at the Colorado School of Mines.

Thinking of the potential economic boost a breakthrough technology will provide the state where the first successful small firms put down roots, and later grow into large firms, the government of Colorado is looking at ways to funnel funds to bolster the cell fuel research and development already under way within its borders.

According to the Rocky Mountain News, the state will chip in $2 million from federal grants as seed money for a proposed Colorado Fuel Cell Research Center, to be located at the Colorado School of Mines. Backers will try to raise another $10 million to jumpstart operations, with the first step likely to be bringing in a small cadre of top scientists to staff a core lab.

"It will be a collaboration between the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Gas Technology Institute, the state of Colorado and private companies."

An opinion piece stated, "High-tech firms like to go where the action and the traffic already are. That Colorado is already home to the National Renewable Energy Laboratories is a big plus."They hope to attract more than 100 top scientists and researchers to the center.

"We have a grand vision: This center will be to fuel cells what Stanford University was to semiconductors," said W. Grover Coors of Boulder- based CoorsTek Inc. - a technology firm that will participate in the center.

"The research center will have the intellectual and academic critical mass to make Colorado a pioneer in fuel-cell technology."

The center would compete with European and Asian countries, especially Germany, Denmark and Japan, that are furiously working on advancing fuel cell technology, Coors said (Rocky Mountain News).

According to

"In principle, a fuel cell operates like a battery. It supplies electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen electrochemically without combustion. Unlike a battery, a fuel cell does not run down or require recharging. It will produce energy in the form of electricity and heat as long as fuel is supplied. The only waste is pure, drinkable water. A fuel cell consists of two electrodes sandwiched around an electrolyte. Oxygen passes over one electrode and hydrogen over the other, generating electricity, water, and heat."

The Rocky Mountain News further reports that plans for the fuel-cell center were announced recently at the governor's technology summit; and that last week Greenwood Village-based Webcom, publisher of specialized technology magazines, including Fuel Cell, followed up with a two-day conference at the Denver Tech Center on fuel-cell applications and technology. "It focused on how companies can bootstrap themselves from small markets in which they are already commercially viable into huge ones where they compete with existing energy systems."

The conference compared the emergence of the fuel cell industry to the emergence of the personal computer in a mainframe dominated industry. "As personal computers got cheaper and better, of course, they eventually conquered a lot of mainframe turf."

The Rocky Mountain News opinion piece concludes: "If something similar happens with fuel cells, Colorado wants to be in at the start."

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The above story was compiled by Sterling D. Allan of Pure Energy Systems News

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"Colorado aspires to be world's fuel-cell capital" (June 5, 2004),1299,DRMN_4_2940401,00.html

"Fuel-cell future belongs at Mines" (Opinion; June 13, 2004),1299,DRMN_38_2955464,00.html

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