MANILA – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Thursday opened the country’s first fuel cell research and development (R&D) and testing center which seeks to provide the industries with support on basic and applied research and technology development.

Located inside the DOST compound in Taguig City, the facility will be dedicated for the conduct of research and development of fuel cell technology focusing on materials development and innovation for specific cell components.

This could also be used to undertake testing of performance and durability that will address the current limitations of fuel cells, said DOST Secretary Renato Solidum Jr.

DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) director Anabelle Briones said the facility is open to the public.

“It is open to the public for free if they want to have a lab tour upon request to my office,” Briones told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.

Briones said a fee will be charged for the testing services.

Those who would undertake R&D at the center, on the other hand, should ink a memorandum of understanding with the ITDI and provide a counterpart funding so the center could accommodate them, she said.

The DOST and the Department of Energy (DOE) collaborated for this project by providing PHP13.9 million and PHP38 million, respectively.

Aside from funding, Briones said the DOE is in charge of information, education and communication for the fuel cell prototype design and demonstration.

Meanwhile, during the facility inauguration, DOST Undersecretary Leah Buendia highlighted some benefits of fuel cell technology.

“By utilizing fuel cell technology, we can vastly improve energy access and security for the millions of Filipinos who currently lack reliable electricity or rely on expensive diesel generators,” Buendia said.

She said the integration of fuel cells helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution stemming from fossil fuel combustion.

“By addressing these issues, we can mitigate climate change impacts and alleviate health problems associated with poor air quality,” she added.

For his part, Solidum said the future of the fuel cell R&D and testing center is poised for significant progress with the crafting of the roadmap for hydrogen production and utilization in fuel cell technology by the DOE.

“They have also pledged full support to the DOST-ITDI’s proposed program on green hydrogen production using locally-produced electrolytic cell for water splitting. The said program will enable us to leverage our expertise, resources, and networks, ensuring comprehensive and impactful research and development,” he said. (PNA)