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Manufacturing fuel cells and more jobs

Printer-friendly version Posted Date: Monday, July 17, 2017 - 11:30

Alfred State has earned a $75,000 manufacturing innovation grant for the further development of fuel cells, and to assist a western New York company add a projected 15 jobs in the next four years. The funds will help Alfred State partner with Rochester-based American Fuel Cell LLC to produce membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs), the core component of a fuel cell.

FuzeHub’s Manufacturing Innovation Fund awarded the grant to Alfred State’s Energy Storage and Conversion Laboratory. FuzeHub is a not-for-profit organization responsible for assisting small to medium-sized manufacturing enterprises (SMEs) in New York State by matching them with technical and business resources.

Associate Professor of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology Dr. Jon Owejan
Associate Professor of Mechanical
and Electrical Engineering Technology
Dr. Jon Owejan

“Energy research is an issue that is front and center as we plan for the future of our society,” said Dr. John Williams, dean of the Alfred State School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology. “Dr. Jon Owejan is a leader in this area and created the Energy Storage and Conversion Lab at Alfred State. This award will support industrial partnerships and enrich student learning through project-based learning in a world-class facility. We offer Jon our hearty congratulations and look forward to the contributions and impact Jon and his team will have in the field of sustainable energy.”

According to the award announcement from FuzeHub: “Alfred State’s collaboration with American Fuel Cell, a Rochester-area company that produces Fuel Cell MEAs is illustrative of New York State’s leadership in the field of alternative energies. Alfred’s Energy Storage and Conversion Laboratory will integrate new testing capabilities that will allow for rapid advances in the company’s manufacturing operations, and position the laboratory to pursue other collaborative projects with New York State-based fuel cell companies. American Fuel Cell expects to hire up to 10 engineers and five technicians in the next four years with the skillset fostered by this project.”

FuzeHub recently launched the Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Innovation Fund. Lawrence, who passed away in 2015, was a top executive at the Center for Economic Growth, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) center for the Capital Region, and a champion for New York manufacturing and entrepreneurial communities.

The Manufacturing Innovation Fund, consisting of $1 million annually for five years, supports a set of activities designed to spur technology development and commercialization across New York State. FuzeHub is administering this fund as part of its role as the Empire State Development (ESD)-designated statewide MEP center.

Along with Alfred State, Clarkson University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Weill Cornell Medicine will split the nearly $300,000 from this summer’s round of awards. These grant awardees are projected to incrementally add 37 new jobs to both existing and startup companies across New York State in the next two years.

“One of the goals of the fund, and the Manufacturing Innovation Grants, is to spur economic development in the manufacturing sector, and we’re seeing that even these small investments in manufacturing projects are allowing companies to add jobs, strengthen their teams and contribute to their growth,” FuzeHub Executive Director Elena Garuc noted. “These projects are a great example of how New York’s innovation assets are supporting industry and contributing to economic growth in New York,” she added.