Rensselaer Announces New Center for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Research

September 22, 2004

Rensselaer Announces New Center for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Research

Glenn Eisman, former Plug Power chief technology officer, joins Rensselaer as center director

Troy, N.Y. – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute today announced the formation of a new Center for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Research. Under the leadership of Glenn Eisman, former chief technology officer at Plug Power Inc., the center will focus on basic research essential to the commercial viability of fuel cells and hydrogen-related technologies.

“One of the most important challenges we face as a global community is meeting our energy needs. This can be accomplished by diversifying our energy options,” said Rensselaer Provost G.P. Bud Peterson. “The addition of Dr. Eisman to our stellar group of researchers in this and other energy-related areas strengthens the national leadership role of Rensselaer in energy research.”

Specifically, the new center will focus on fuel cell development, hydrogen generation and storage, electrochemistry, solid state and polymer science, and the application of nano-materials in fuel cell and hydrogen research.

“Drawing from existing expertise on campus, the new Center for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Research will concentrate on fundamental research and address technical issues while working in collaboration with Rensselaer’s recently established Future Energy Systems Center for Advanced Technology (CAT) to help transition next-generation concepts from the lab to commercialization,” Eisman said.

According to Eisman, there are fundamental technical issues that must be addressed before fuel cells and hydrogen-related technologies can be considered commercially viable. These include new material solutions to improve fuel cell reliability, efficiency, and cost.

“This new center is a perfect complement to our Future Energy Systems CAT,” said Om Nalamasu, director of the Future Energy Systems CAT and director of Rensselaer’s Center for Integrated Electronics. “Our focus on technology commercialization will reduce the time it takes for ideas generated in the new fuel cell center to move from the lab to the marketplace, help retain and create new jobs in New York state, increase the incentives for energy companies to relocate to New York, and effectively position us to expand our collaborations with the federal government on important energy research initiatives.”

The new center, based in Rensselaer’s School of Engineering, will offer students opportunities to participate in research and development activities related to fuel cells and hydrogen generation.  Students will have the opportunity to do hands-on research with respect to membrane and electrode fabrication, electrochemical testing, materials analyses, and fuel cell and electrolytic device operation.

“The appointment of Dr. Glenn Eisman represents both the increased focus on energy and particularly the science and technology of fuel cells, as well as the synergism between Rensselaer and our industrial partners. His strong educational background and industrial experience are certain to prove valuable assets in his new role as center director and research professor,” said Lester Gerhardt, acting dean of engineering at Rensselaer.

Contact: Mary Cimo
Phone: (518) 687-7174
E-mail: cimom@rpi.edu