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About Us

The National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC) was dedicated in 1998 by the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission to accelerate the development and deployment of fuel cell technology, to provide an outreach to the market, to address market hurdles, and to provide leadership in the preparation of educational materials and programs throughout the country.

The University of California at Irvine has a rich tradition in energy and environmental studies, and is located in the heart of a region that is internationally recognized for leadership in energy and transportation research and innovation.  The City of Irvine is one of the largest planned communities in the country and known for its long standing record of environmental stewardship.  The majority of the world’s automobile designs emanate from the region, and the area is the home to the world’s largest concentration of energy consulting firms.

The NFCRC engages undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines of engineering and the physical and biological sciences, and collaborates on courses and team projects with both the social sciences and business sciences.  Faculty have had a long standing tradition as well in the conduct of collaborative studies with the health sciences.  The outreach of the NFCRC is conducted with institutions around the world, through the California Stationary Fuel Cell Collaborative (CaSFCC), the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CFCP), the U.S. Fuel Cell Council, the Fuel Cell Seminar, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Annual International Fuel Cell Engineering, Technology, and Science Conference, the Annual International Colloquium on Environmentally Preferred Advanced Power Generation (ICEPAG), and the Pacific Rim Consortium on Energy, Combustion , and the Environment (PARCON).

Feel free to contact Professor Zenyuk regarding outreach and communications, and Professor Brouwer regarding research and graduate admissions:

Professor Jack Brouwer, Ph.D.
Director, National Fuel Cell Research Center
University of California
Irvine, CA  92697-3550
949-824-1999 ext. 11221


Professor Iryna Zenyuk, Ph.D.
Associate Director, National Fuel Cell Research Center
University of California
Irvine, CA  92697-3550
949-824-7302 ext. 11225



The National Fuel Cell Research Center was established at the University of California Irvine by the U.S. Department of Energy (D.O.E.) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) with the goal of both developing and transitioning to a form of power generation that is both energy efficient and environmentally sensitive. A key partner in developing and testing the center concept was the Southern California Edison company through the U.C. Irvine Pacific Rim Consortium on Combustion, Energy, and the Environment (PARCON)

On February 25, 1998, approximately 200 community and energy industry leaders attended the Center's dedication ceremony at the UCI Henry Samueli School of Engineering. Special guest speakers included:

  • U.S. DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coal and Power Systems, George Rudins
  • California Energy Commission Chair William J. Keese
  • Southern California Edison President and COO Stephen S. Frank
  • UCI Chancellor Laurel L. Wilkening

The DOE and the CEC have recognized the significance of the NFCRC efforts in bringing government agencies, business and academia together to develop effective public-private alliances -- in the case of the NFCRC, in order to develop advanced sources of power generation.

"We are pleased that the UC Irvine National Fuel Cell Research Center has the commitment of many public and private partners in developing a technology that will help meet the needs of the competitive energy market," said California Energy Commission Chair William J. Keese. "We strongly support the technology transfer and education elements, which are fully consistent with the Energy Commission's goal of expanding consumer choice."


The Mission of the NFCRC is to facilitate, demonstrate and accelerate the development and deployment of fuel cell technology and fuel cell systems; promote strategic alliances to address the market challenges associated with the installation and integration of fuel cell systems; and to educate and develop resources for the various stakeholders in the fuel cell community.

The application of fuel cell technologies to advanced power generation systems portends a significant advancement in energy efficiency, conservation and environmental protection for this century.

The National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC) is focused on stationary power and its role as a Distributed Generation and Central Power Plant technology as a Portable Power technology, as a Transportation Power and Hoteling technology for aircrafts, ships, locomotives, and long-distance trucks, and as a generation source of Hydrogen for transportation fueling and industrial feed stock. Efforts are in progress that address the components of fuel cell systems, and the development, integration, deployment, and connectivity of fuel cell systems.


The approach of the NFCRC is based on two traditional university activities (Research and Education) and the
non-traditional activities (Beta Testing, and
Market Dynamics)



Research is accomplished through a collaborative effort with our industry and public sector members in order to address and accelerate the development issues necessary to facilitate the commercialization of fuel cell technology, products and their integration.
Learn more . . .

About the Center beta testing demonstrations research summaries market dynamics education and research


Education and Outreach is a principal goal of the NFCRC in order to raise awareness and understanding of the various challenges, benefits and opportunities of fuel cells.

It is also the role of the NFCRC to provide educational opportunities within the university environment as well as through workshops and conferences directed at the general public and sectors interested and key in the development and commercialization of fuel cells.
Learn more . . .

Beta Testing

Multi-month testing of prototype units serves as the heart of the NFCRC's efforts, and a key to both the development of technologies and application to the marketplace. It serves three principal roles, fundamental to the principal operations of the NFCRC:

  1. Beta Testing provides critical feedback to the manufacturer prior to commercial launch. The testing determines performance, reliability, and the success of engineering. The process allows for the demonstration of reliability, availability, maintainability, durability and usability (RAMDU) while concurrent system improvements are made in an objective yet scrutinizing research setting.
  2. Beta Testing provides a showcase, at a neutral and objective site (the university), for potential users of fuel cell technology to critically assess the attributes and liabilities.
  3. Beta Testing provides insight and perspective into the limiting science that, if addressed, could significantly affect the evolution of fuel cell technology.

Learn more . . .

Market Dynamics

In an effort to bridge fuel cell technology development and its successful introduction into the marketplace, the NFCRC is participating in a variety of initiatives through a series of strategic alliances with industry and the public sector. These alliances are critical in order to facilitate the deployment of fuel cell systems. An excellent example is the NFCRC's role as co-chair and co-administer of the California Stationary Fuel Cell Collaborative
Learn more . . .



Last updated: March 1, 2019 3:26 PM

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