The Michigan Economic Development Corp. wants to open a technology center in the Detroit metro area to develop fuel cells and is considering initiatives to assist the Michigan auto industry.

“We haven't decided on a location at this point,” says Mike Finney, vice president of Emerging Business Sectors for the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC). “We're essentially following up the results of the fuel cell study that we commissioned through the Center for Automotive Research (CAR). They have five specific recommendations coming out of that study, the most significant of which is the establishment of a powertrain center of excellence.”

In addition to a technological hub for fuel cell development, MEDC is budgeting $30 million annually on worker training for the manufacturing sector and is helping to commercialize intellectual properties that exist at universities.

The fuel cell tech center initially will be housed in CAR facilities in Ann Arbor, MI. and the permanent location likely will be in southeastern Michigan.

General Motors Corp. confirms it is considering involvement. “We'll definitely look at the specifics of this opportunity, and participate if appropriate,” says Larry Burns, GM vice president of Research and Development and Planning.