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DOE launches National Fuel Cell Technology Evaluation Center to advance hydrogen and fuel cell technologies

The US Department of Energy has unveiled the National Fuel Cell Technology Evaluation Center, a unique national secure data facility dedicated to the independent analysis of advanced hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

The National Fuel Cell Technology Evaluation Center (NFCTEC) is located at DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. It will allow industry, academia, and government organisations to submit and review data gathered from projects to advance cost-effective fuel cell technology.

NFCTEC will also help accelerate the commercialisation of fuel cell technologies by strengthening data collection from fuel cell components and systems operating under real-world conditions, and analysis of these detailed data that can be compared to technical targets.

The raw data are secured by NREL to protect commercially sensitive and proprietary information, with individualised data analysis results provided as detailed data products (DDPs) to the partners who supplied the data.

Individual system, fleet, and site analysis results are aggregated into public results – called composite data products (CDPs) – that show the status and progress of the technology without identifying individual companies or revealing proprietary information.

NFCTEC is housed within DOE’s Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) at NREL, specifically designed for the secure management, storage, and processing of proprietary data from industry and other stakeholders. ESIF also houses one of the world’s most energy-efficient data centres.

NFCTEC will use a secure work area for data analysis in addition to servers co-located with ESIF’s High Performance Computing Center (HPCC). Waste heat from the HPCC servers will be used as the primary heat source for nearby offices and labs, with excess heat exported to other areas of the NREL campus.

With DOE support, NREL has been performing independent, third-party analysis and validation of proprietary hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in real-world operation since 2004. NREL has collected and analysed more than 2 million hours of operational data from the use of more than 450 000 kg of hydrogen.

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