The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has taken a significant step towards a sustainable, clean energy future with the announcement of $47.7 million in funding for 16 cutting-edge research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) projects across 13 states.
These projects, carefully selected to accelerate the advancement of clean hydrogen technologies, have the potential to reshape how we produce, store, and utilize hydrogen, a versatile energy resource with zero or near-zero emissions.
The primary objectives of these projects are to drive down technology costs, enhance hydrogen infrastructure, and optimize the performance of hydrogen fuel cells. This funding aligns with the DOE’s overarching mission to reduce costs and facilitate the widespread deployment of clean hydrogen, a crucial component of the nation’s transition to a sustainable energy landscape.
At the core of this initiative is the ambitious Hydrogen Shot goal: to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen to $1 per kilogram within a decade. Achieving this target would make clean hydrogen more accessible and affordable, driving its adoption in various sectors, from transportation to industrial processes.
Clean hydrogen plays a pivotal role in addressing emissions in some of the most challenging-to-decarbonize sectors of the American economy. This includes heavy-duty transportation, industrial manufacturing, and chemical processes such as steelmaking and fertilizer production. By replacing conventional energy sources with hydrogen, these sectors can significantly reduce their carbon footprint, benefiting not only the environment but also disadvantaged communities that have historically borne the brunt of environmental pollution.
The DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) will oversee and manage these projects, focusing on key areas of the clean hydrogen value chain, including hydrogen delivery and storage technologies, as well as affordable and durable fuel cells. A notable emphasis will be on the development of fuel cells tailored for heavy-duty trucks, aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and eliminating harmful tailpipe emissions.
Some of the selected projects include:
- High-Performing Fuel Cells in Hawaii: Led by the University of Hawaii at Manoa, this project aims to develop high-performing, durable fuel cells fueled by clean hydrogen. These improvements will support the adoption of medium- and heavy-duty fuel cell-powered trucks, providing a zero-emission alternative to traditional diesel trucks.
- Hydrogen Recovery in Colorado: The Colorado School of Mines will engineer a system for recovering hydrogen that “boils off” during the transfer of liquid hydrogen. The goal is to capture 80% of this released hydrogen during transfers, reducing both costs and environmental impact.
- Liquid-Hydrogen Tank Advancements: GE Research is spearheading a project to design, manufacture, and test a composite tank capable of carrying 20 kilograms of liquid hydrogen. This technology will be scalable for heavy-truck and aircraft applications, enabling the use of clean hydrogen in these sectors.
- Chemical Hydrogen Storage in California: The University of Southern California will develop chemicals that efficiently transport hydrogen to its point of use, where it can be released. The chemical carriers can then be repurposed for valuable agricultural applications.
- Formate-Based Hydrogen Storage in Louisiana: Louisiana State University will work on a cost-effective approach to storing hydrogen using chemical carriers, paving the way for commercial viability in various applications.
These projects represent a significant leap forward in the pursuit of a sustainable and clean energy future. They align with the Biden-Harris Administration’s climate and decarbonization goals and have the potential to create new economic opportunities and jobs while supporting the development of a robust clean hydrogen industry in the United States.
As Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm emphasized, “Making next-generation climate technologies cost-competitive is key to realizing President Biden’s vision of a strong clean energy economy rooted in equity and opportunity.” The $47.7 million investment in clean hydrogen technologies marks a crucial step toward achieving this vision and combating climate change on multiple fronts.