National Institute of Fuel-Cell Technology
Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
West Virginia University
E: ismail.celik@mail.wvu.edu

WVU recieves $2.25 million for coal syngas research

An interdisciplinary team of researchers at West Virginia University will receive $2.25 million to research the use of coal-derived synthetic gas (syngas) in high-temperature fuel cells. The U.S. Department of Energy will provide $1.5 million for the three-year project.

The West Virginia Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research will provide an additional $750,000. Ismail Celik, a professor in WVU's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is the technical principal investigator on the project. Richard Bajura, director of WVU's National Research Center for Coal and Energy, is the administrative principal investigator. Bajura is also a mechanical and aerospace engineering professor at the university.

"This project will help West Virginia maintain its leadership role in meeting our nation's energy needs," said Bajura. "The development of advanced technologies will allow coal to be an economical and environmentally attractive energy resource well into the future, which is vital for our state's economy."

The fuel cell project will involve collaboration among WVU researchers in mechanical and aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, and physics, with researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory and regional industries.

Other WVU faculty members involved in the project include Bernard Cooper, visiting professor of physics; Harry Finklea, chair of chemistry; Bruce Kang, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Xingbo Liu, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Andrei Smirnov, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Nick Wu, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; and John Zondlo, professor of chemical engineering.

"The long-term goal is to develop composite materials using nanotechnology to enable the use of coal syngas as an efficient, clean source of electricity via fuel cells," said Celik. "Our research will focus primarily on novel anode materials for solid oxide fuel cells."

West Virginia, Nevada and North Dakota were the only recipients of Implementation Awards granted this year to university researchers by the Department of Energy's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.