With the passage of the defense appropriations bill by the United States Senate, $3.5 million has been earmarked for the SimCenter: National Center for Computational Engineering to house and test a powerful new fuel cell that would provide the energy needs of a 30,000 square foot building or supermarket. Congressman Zach Wamp discussed passage of the bill and its implications for UTC at a special event held to announce the SimCenter’s elevation to a national center.
Wamp stressed the regional, national and global significance of the The National SimCenter’s ongoing research. Since January, 2006, The National SimCenter has housed and tested a 5-killowatt fuel cell for the former Ion America. The unit could supply the energy needs of a 5,000 square foot home, including heating, cooling, and providing hydrogen to fuel an automobile. No connection to an energy grid is required.
With authorization from the Department of Energy, a 100- kilowatt fuel cell will be built by Bloom Energy in 12-15 months. The hope, Wamp said last August in a news conference, is for the fuel cells to eventually be mass manufactured in the Chattanooga region.
Modine Manufacturing Company, a thermal management company that designs, engineers, tests, and manufactures heat transfer products for a wide range of applications and markets, has been involved in discussion of the proposed mass manufacture of fuel cells. David B. Rayburn, Modine President and Chief Executive Officer, said the company believes in the future of fuel cells, and that the company has spent $82 million in research and development with an eye toward mass marketing these products.