The University of North Florida’s  Jim Fletcher may, or may not be, having a heart attack at the moment. We won’t know for another month, however, because he’s in Australia.

UF mechanical-engineering graduate-students, Jason Harrington (left) and Ben Swanson, joke around with a methanol fuel-cell bus.

UF mechanical-engineering graduate-students, Jason Harrington (left) and Ben Swanson, joke around with a methanol fuel-cell bus.

Fletcher spent much  of his career developing fuel-cell  technology. He’s also on staff at the University of Florida with the Florida Institute for Sustainable Energy. The JEA Clean and Renewable Energy Lab on the UNF campus is a mish-mosh of various projects, one of which is a methanol (not HYDROGEN) fuel-cell for bus transportation systems.

The New York Times announced Friday, May 8,  the government’s  decision to drop hydrogen fuel-cell funding.

“Developing those cells and coming up with a way to transport the hydrogen is a big challenge, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in releasing energy-related details of the administration’s budget for the year beginning Oct. 1. Dr. Chu said the government preferred to focus on PROJECTS THAT WOULD BARE FRUIT MORE QUICKLY.”

Obviously,  the energy secretary has never heard of methanol fuel-cells — or Georgetown University’s Advanced Vehicle Program. Its major funding is through the FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION and the U.S. DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION. Fletcher “works with Georgetown University Advanced Vehicle Development as part of the DOT Fuel Cell Bus Program.”

So again,

Jim Fletcher may, or may not be, having a heart attack at the moment. We won’t know for another month, however, because he’s in Australia. The program may have to be put on the back-burner.

Fletcher may not mind though. The lab has received funding for direct methanol fuel-cells, WHICH POWER LAP-TOP COMPUTERS.

We’ll have to wait until he returns from the “land down under” for an update on that …

-k.a.gardner

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