DOE to award $47M for affordable clean hydrogen technologies

In order to hasten the development of inexpensive clean hydrogen technology, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced funding of up to $47 million.

The Department’s Hydrogen Shot objective of lowering the cost of clean hydrogen below $1 per kilogram within a decade will be advanced by projects awarded under this opportunity. These projects will also improve hydrogen infrastructure and the performance of hydrogen fuel cells.

The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) of the DOE is in charge of managing this funding opportunity, which is focused on RD&D of important hydrogen delivery and storage technologies as well as on cost-effective and long-lasting fuel cell technologies.

Heavy-duty vehicle applications will be the main target of fuel cell RD&D projects in order to cut carbon dioxide emissions and get rid of tailpipe emissions that are bad for the local air quality. In this interest area, specific topics that will be sponsored include:

First topic: the creation of hydrogen carriers. In order to provide quantitative cost and performance benefits over current compressed gas or liquid hydrogen systems, this topic invites applications for R&D of innovative hydrogen carriers, hydrogenation/dehydrogenation catalysts, and catalytic supports. It is possible for hydrogen to be transported, produced on-site, and stored in a variety of economic sectors thanks to hydrogen carriers, a special form of storage and distribution.

Carriers have a wide range of characteristics and behaviors, making it possible to fit various hydrogen-rich materials to the demands of a particular end application. The topic must take into account relevant end uses that address the requirements for overall performance, such as pressure, temperature, rates of hydrogen release, purity, and cost at scale. Catalysts that are based on perovskite materials or that utilize perovskite materials as catalytic supports are two examples of interest. Projects will be required to cooperate with HFTO’s HyMARC consortium. Such materials and other cutting-edge concepts with the potential to achieve particular metrics are of interest.

Topic 2: Onboard Liquid Hydrogen Storage Systems. Applications are being sought for the creation of LH2 storage vessels and the necessary hardware for the balance of the plant in order to enable applications for medium- and heavy-duty (MD/HD) transportation that require low-cost, energy-dense LH2 storage. Long-haul trucks, in particular, can benefit from hydrogen fuel cell systems’ long driving ranges, quick refilling periods, and large payload capabilities.

However, considerable amounts of hydrogen are needed to accomplish so (e.g., 40 – 120 kg for long-haul trucks and several hundred kg for other heavy-duty applications such as off-road mining and construction vehicles). There is a lot of interest in the development of onboard LH2 storage devices since LH2 has a significantly higher energy density than 700 bar compressed hydrogen gas. LH2 systems have the ability to meet the capacity requirements for MD/HD applications and hit the storage cost objective of $8/kWh or less, according to analyses.

Topic 3: Systems and Components for Liquid Hydrogen Transfer. In order to enable high-flow LH2 transfers and/or LH2 fueling for MD and HD transportation applications, this issue requests applications to develop LH2 transfer and vehicular fueling technologies and techniques. Tons of hydrogen are anticipated to be released daily from hydrogen filling stations for MD/HD fuel cell transportation applications, which include buses, trucks, off-road vehicles, ships, and trains.

The creation of enhanced LH2 transfer and fuelling components and systems that solve the issues of hydrogen losses, material compatibility, and safety while enabling fueling times comparable to existing technologies is necessary for the large-scale storage and transfer of LH2 for such end-users (i.e., liquid fuels). This will necessitate substantially higher hydrogen flow rates, such as more than five times higher (at least 10 kg/min average) than those at the present hydrogen filling stations for light-duty vehicles.

M2FCT: High Performance, Robust Membrane Electrode Assemblies for Medium- and Heavy-duty Applications is the fourth topic. This topic seeks applications for the development of membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) that will lower the cost and improve the performance and durability of proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell stacks for MD/HD applications in collaboration with DOE’s Million Mile Fuel Cell Truck (M2FCT) consortium. With the help of industrial, academic, and national laboratory expert stakeholder input, the R&D requirements for both applications have been determined. The issue focuses on MEA advancements to enable sizable advancements in achieving 2030 system level HD truck targets of 25,000-hour durability and $80/kW system cost.

DOE intends to grant financial assistance in the form of cooperative agreements for all subject areas. Each award will be expected to perform for a period of two to four years. Teams of applicants are encouraged by DOE to include representatives from national laboratories, industry, and academia. Teams are also urged to have representation from a variety of organizations, including those that serve underrepresented groups, labor unions, community colleges, and other organizations linked by Opportunity Zones.

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