Feenstra introduces Biofuel Cell Research Act

By Erin Voegele | September 08, 2021

Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, on Aug. 24 introduced a bill that aims to establish a research, development and demonstration program for a commercially viable fuel cell system that uses biofuels as the main fuel source.

The bill, titled the Biofuel Cell Research Act, or H.R. 5090, directs the U.S. Department of Energy to work with the USDA, U.S. Department of Transportation, and appropriate stakeholders to establish research and development goals that will result in the demonstration of the fuel system.

Following its introduction, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The bill currently has no cosponsors.

Feenstra issued a statement on Sept. 7 announcing introduction of the bill and noting the study and demonstration would stem from advances in fuel cell technology allowing ethanol to be used as the primary fuel source to generate electricity. The resulting electricity is used to power vehicle engines, resulting in a net zero carbon emission power source.

The text of the bill specifies that the research goals would address innovative stack designs and components, including catalysts, membranes and electrolytes, interconnects, seals, and metal-or electrolyte-supported stack cell designs. The research goals would also address a variety of renewable energy sources, including ethanol and other biomass; technologies that enable fuel cell durability and fuel cell durability testing; and systems design and components integration that optimize efficiency, cost, transient response, and lifetime.

 “I am eager to explore ways we can advance fuel cell systems to expand the use of biofuels,” Feenstra said. “Electric vehicles still rely on baseload power generation, a process that requires nonrenewable resources. My Biofuel Cell Research Act would bring us one step closer to developing liquid fuel vehicle engines that rely primarily on clean-burning biofuels, in turn helping farmers and biofuel producers. The biofuels industry is a key driver of economic growth in Iowa, and it provides consumers with a cleaner and more affordable option at the pump. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this bill on the president’s desk.”

Additional information is available on Feenstra’s website