|The roles for hydrogen and fuel cells in the energy mix. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.|
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released a draft version of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program Plan, which outlines the strategy, activities, and plans of DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program. It is initially published as a draft to solicit feedback from relevant stakeholders, with a final version to be published in FY 2011. Comments may be submitted through 30 November 2010.
Over the last several years, DOE, and the broader research community, has greatly advanced the state of the art of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, making significant progress toward overcoming many of the key challenges to commercialization, including reducing the cost and improving the durability of fuel cells, reducing the cost of producing and delivering hydrogen, and developing technologies to improve the performance of hydrogen storage systems. The new plan reflects this significant progress, and updates and expands upon previous editions of the Hydrogen Posture Plan, issued in 2006 and 2004.
|Well-to-wheels greenhouse gas emissions. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.|
The plan describes the Program’s activities, which are conducted to overcome the technical, institutional, and economic barriers to the widespread commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies for transportation, stationary, and portable applications. The plan also identifies the specific obstacles that each Program activity addresses, the strategies employed, key milestones, and future plans for both individual activities and the Program as a whole.
The Program has defined its key goals based on the technical advances that are needed, which have been identified through discussions with technology developers, the research community, and all relevant stakeholders. These key goals are to develop hydrogen and fuel cell technologies for:
- Early markets such as stationary power (primary and backup), lift trucks, and portable power—in the 2010 to 2012 timeframe;
- Mid-term markets such as residential CHP systems, auxiliary power units, fleets and buses—in the 2012 to 2015 timeframe; and
- Long-term markets including mainstream transportation applications with a focus on light duty vehicles—in the 2015 to 2020 timeframe.
The Program has also set goals for developing technologies for the production, delivery, and storage of hydrogen, which will help spur commercialization of fuel cells and maximize their environmental and energy security benefits. These goals are to:
- Reduce the cost of producing hydrogen from renewable resources, nuclear energy, and coal with carbon sequestration;
- Reduce the cost of delivering, storing, and dispensing hydrogen; and
- Improve the performance and reduce the cost of hydrogen storage systems.
Within the transportation sector, the DOE is looking at the application of fuel cells in auxiliary power units (APUs) for trucks, rail engines, aircraft and ships and motive power for specialty vehicles, light-duty vehicles and buses.
|Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Program Activities. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.|
The Program conducts activities in the following areas: systems analysis; applied R&D of technologies for hydrogen production, delivery, storage, and fuel cells; basic research; manufacturing R&D; technology validation; safety, codes & standards; education; systems analysis; and market transformation. These areas are necessarily interrelated, with developments in one area relying on corresponding developments in others.
Some of the specific program goals include:
Fuel Cell Systems R&D efforts to enable a cost of $30 per kilowatt and a durability of 5,000 hours by 2015 for automotive fuel cell systems. An expanded focus has been placed on stationary and portable power applications, as well as other transportation applications such as buses, aircraft and APUs for heavy-duty trucks.
To enable several different domestic hydrogen production pathways, at a variety of scales ranging from large, centralized production to small, local (distributed) production, meeting targeted cost in the range of $2 to $4 per gallon gasoline equivalent (gge), delivered and untaxed.
Hydrogen storage technologies that will allow for a driving range of more than 300 miles (500 km) while meeting the packaging, cost, safety, and performance requirements of current and future vehicle markets.
After the final version is published, the Program will continue to periodically revise the plan, along with the research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) plans of participating program offices, to reflect technological progress, programmatic changes, policy decisions, and updates based on external reviews.