Fuel Cell Seminar & Energy Exposition

Baker Award

Bernard Baker Award

The purpose of the Dr. Bernard S. Baker award is to encourage and recognize exceptional students in the field of fuel cell related technologies. Dr. Baker was a pioneer in the fuel cell industry, and was himself a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship as part of his graduate work in carbonate fuel cells in The Netherlands.


1st Place: $3,000

2nd Place: $2,000

3rd Place: $1,000

Prizes will be awarded at the 2017 Fuel Cell Seminar & Energy Exposition.  Winners will also receive free registration for the 2017 Fuel Cell Seminar, as well as the opportunity to display research as part of the Technical poster session at the conference.  Travel and lodging will not be covered and must be coordinated on own.

About Dr. Bernard S. Baker

Dr. Bernard S. Baker of Bethel, Connecticut, was a pioneer in the field of electrochemistry whose career spanned 45 years. He was a founder and served as president, chief executive officer and chairman of Energy Research Corporation (now called FuelCell Energy, Inc., Danbury, Conn.), developer and manufacturer of fuel cells used to generate electric power. Power plants based on his concepts are providing electricity in locations throughout the world.

Dr. Baker was known worldwide as an expert in electrochemical systems. He directed research in and development of various electrochemical power generation devices, including different types of fuel cells, batteries and hybrid systems. Dr. Baker's expertise encompassed fundamental research as well as the technological, engineering, system and marketing aspects of these systems.

A vision of clean and quiet electric power

Most fuel cells require hydrogen to be extracted from the fuel source (such as natural gas) before it can be used in the fuel cell. Dr. Baker envisioned a system that bypassed this step, allowing fuel to be sent directly to the fuel cell. When Baker started work on these so-called "Direct Fuel Cells" they were no larger than a silver dollar and generated a few milliwatts. Today, systems based on his designs are powering commercial and industrial facilities throughout the world.

A lifetime of fuel cell research, development and commercialization

Baker received his bachelors and masters degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and was a Post-Graduate Fulbright Fellow at the Laboratory for Electrochemistry, University of Amsterdam, before earning a doctorate from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1969. His doctoral thesis was also on fuel cell heat transfer and internal reforming.

Before joining Energy Research Corporation, Baker was Director of Basic Sciences at the Institute of Gas Technology in Chicago, where he directed research in the area of energy conversion and fuel cells. Before that, he was Senior Scientist at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Missiles & Space Division, where he was responsible for research on Carbonate Fuel Cell systems and electrochemical kinetic studies.

Dr. Baker is a major contributor to the field of fuel cell research, development and commercialization. He was issued 20 U.S. patents relating to fuel cells and other electrochemical systems. He authored more than 100 publications, including technical papers, books and symposia proceedings on the subject of fuel cells. Dr. Baker was a well-known expert in fuel cell systems and actively contributed to many technology developments and breakthroughs in the field.

In 1999, he received the prestigious Grove Medal, which was presented in conjunction with the Sixth Grove Fuel Cell Symposium in London and is awarded to acknowledge an individual or company that has made valuable contributions toward the development and success of fuel cell technology.

At the time of the award, the Chairman of the Grove Symposium Steering Committee said: "Dr. Bernard S. Baker devoted his entire professional career to develop and promote fuel cells. In the beginning as a scientist, finally as a top manager he dealt with various fuel cells including alkaline, phosphoric acid and molten carbonate technologies. Dr. Baker personifies a remarkable combination of scientific capabilities and management skills. This unique blend enabled him not only to have many patents on fuel cell related inventions and to issue more than 100 fuel cell publications but to build up one of the world wide leading companies in the carbonate fuel cell technology."

Dr. Baker received the Cecil J. Previdi Award for Entrepreneurial Spirit and Business Leadership in 1995. He was invited as a Ralph E. Peck Lecturer at Illinois Institute of Technology in 1994.

Bernard Baker was born in Philadelphia on June 26, 1936 and was the son of the late William Victor Baker and the late Bessie (Weinstein) Baker. Dr. Baker died on June 21, 2004. The DR. BERNARD S. BAKER STUDENT AWARD FOR FUEL CELL RESEARCH instituted by the Fuel Cell Seminar in 2005, to encourage and recognize exceptional students in the pursuit of fuel cell research, is a living tribute to the memory of Dr. Baker.  The prize fund is a 501(c)(3) charity as defined by the IRS and is incorporated in the State of Connecticut. All donors will receive a letter for tax purposes.