FLINT — Kettering University opened its Center for Fuel Cell Systems and Powertrain Integration Wednesday and believes it holds the promise of speeding the development and commercialization of fuel cells for stationary and mobile applications statewide.
The Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded
Industry partners included Ford Motor Co., General Motors, NextEnergy, Advance Measurements Inc., General Hydrogen and the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command.
The new 8,600-square-foot center is spread over two floors within the university’s C.S. Mott Engineering and
The center is designed to harness the region’s science and engineering research and development assets to help new and existing startup companies spin their innovations off into new products and services. It includes laboratories, fuel cell testing and research areas, a teaching studio, control room and an assembly and display area.
“The assembly and display area is an area where we can showcase the center’s technology and bring high school and grade school kids in to get them excited about technology,” said K. Joel Berry, Ph.D., head of
“With the technology, equipment and type of activity we have, we will be able to work with companies throughout
At the heart of the fuel cell center is a business incubator that both new and existing companies can use to research and test promising fuel cell technologies. The incubator can accommodate eight to 10 startup companies,
Incubator tenants will have access to business office space, administrative support, shared laboratory space and equipment, as well as consulting services provided by
“The reason why a person would come to the
He said the center offers fuel cell engineering education for the next generation of engineers who will develop future technologies to ensure a sustainable and energy secure environment.
Besides fuel cell technology startups, the incubator is open to companies in alternative energy, nanomaterials, computer simulation and high-tech manufacturing,
Staff is currently putting together some marketing materials for the incubator. The lease rate will be between $18 and $25 per square foot per year and
A technology advisory panel makes recommendations on candidates for the incubator space. One of the criteria for leasing space is the potential for a candidate’s technology to be commercialized within three to five years,
“The goal is for tenants to develop technology commercialization plans so they are in a position to go out and seek venture funding. Our goal is to help these companies grow, and then within three to five years spin those companies off into larger companies that will create more jobs. Ultimately, the goal is to generate new jobs.”
The center has been
The fuel cell center is located literally a block from the very site along the
“It was very clear that the nation was going to take a very active effort in terms of developing fuel cells systems for everyday applications, and then the state of
“Considering that Flint was the first place for the automotive industry, and considering that fuel cells have the potential to maybe replace the internal combustion engine, the center will be a contributor to the next automotive revolution.”
At some point, the university would like to develop a