National Fuel Cell Technology Evaluation Center to Advance Fuel Cell Technologies

September 12, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

Energy Department announced the unveiling of a one-of-its-kind national secure data center dedicated to the independent analysis of advanced hydrogen and fuel cell technologies at NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF). The National Fuel Cell Technology Evaluation Center (NFCTEC) allows industry, academia, and government organizations to submit and review data gathered from projects to advance cost-effective fuel cell technology.

NFCTEC will also help accelerate the commercialization of fuel cell technologies by strengthening data collection from fuel cell systems and components operating under real-world conditions, and analysis of these detailed data that can be compared to technical targets. The NFCTEC is housed within an ESIF area specifically designed for the secure management, storage, and processing of proprietary data from industry and other stakeholders. Aggregated analysis results showing the status and progress of the technology, but do not identify individual companies, are available to the public.

The ESIF also houses one of the most energy efficient data centers in the world. NFCTEC will use a secure work area for data analysis in addition to servers co-located with the High Performance Computing Center (HPCC) at ESIF. The waste heat generated by 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 support from the Energy Department, NREL has been performing independent, third-party analysis and validation of proprietary hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in real-world operation since 2004. To date, NREL has collected and analyzed more than 2 million hours of operational data involving the use of more than 450,000 kg of hydrogen.