DOE seeking stakeholder feedback on commercial readiness of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies for transportation applications
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a request for information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0000655) seeking feedback from stakeholders for technology deployment activities aimed at verifying the commercial readiness of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies.
DOE emphasized that the RFI is not a funding opportunity announcement (FOA), although it may issue a related FOA in the future. Final details, including the anticipated award size, quantity, and timing of DOE-funded awards, will be subject to Congressional appropriations and direction. Areas of interest in the RFI include: Innovative, Commercially Ready Fuel Cell Systems for Specific Applications; and Technology Deployment Projects for Other On- or Off-Road Transportation Markets.
Area of Interest 1—Innovative, Commercially Ready Fuel Cell Systems for Specific Applications—comprises two subtopics:
Subtopic 1A: Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) for Refrigerated Trucks Transport refrigeration could be the next key commercial application of fuel cell technology, the DOE notes. Fuel-cell powered lift trucks are being deployed and the hydrogen refueling infrastructure is beginning to be available at distribution centers. This creates an opportunity within the distribution centers to deploy other fuel cell technologies such as APUs for refrigerated trucks.
At food distribution centers with fuel cell lift trucks, operating their refrigerated trucks with fuel cell APUs, replacing diesel powered refrigeration, is made possible with the on-site refueling infrastructure. The anticipated power rating for APUs could range from 1-25 kW, but feedback is requested on other sizes as well. Multiple fuel cell technologies (e.g., direct methanol, proton electrolyte, solid oxide) could be deployed to evaluate any technical, economic or commercialization challenges that need to be addressed to realize successful market penetration.
Subtopic 1B: Fuel Cell Recharging Systems for All-Electric Light- or Heavy-Duty Trucks. All-electric road vehicles, both heavy- and light-duty, offer an alternative to petroleum fuels and their associated emissions. Challenges to accelerated, widespread commercialization of all-electric road vehicles in the US include battery range and recharging infrastructure limitations. A potential near-term approach to alleviating these limitations might be the use of an on-board fuel cell recharger (e.g., all electric freight trucks at sea or air ports), the DOE suggests.
A relatively small quantity of fuel (i.e., hydrogen or methanol) would be needed to maintain an appropriate state-of-charge on the all-electric vehicle’s battery power system. The anticipated power rating for this application would be from 1-40 kW, but feedback is requested for other sizes as well. Multiple fuel cell technologies (e.g., direct methanol, proton electrolyte, solid oxide) could be deployed to evaluate any technical, economic or commercialization challenges that need to be addressed to realize successful market penetration.
Area of Interest 2—Technology Deployment Projects for Other On- or Off-Road Transportation Markets—has no specific subareas. However, DOE notes, other markets for fuel cell power in the transportation sector may be emerging. DOE is requesting feedback on the need for technology deployment activities in other transportation markets.
Responses are due by 2 March 2012.