The US Department of Energy (DOE) is soliciting (DE-FOA-0000625) projects for up to $6 million in awards to collect performance and durability data for light-duty fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) operated in real-world conditions.
The conclusions drawn from the data by DOE will help identify and focus future research and development efforts and gauge progress toward fuel cell performance and cost targets. The data and resulting analyses from this initiative will also help FCEV manufacturers improve their vehicle designs to optimize fuel efficiency and vehicle performance, DOE said.
The Department seeks applicants to design and implement projects to monitor the performance and durability of advanced FCEVs for up to five years. The 50% cost-shared projects will supply dynamometer and real-world vehicle data to the Hydrogen Secure Data Center (HSDC) at DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for analysis and aggregation into composite data products for a minimum of five vehicles of the same model. The HSDC will receive vehicle data into a secure facility and release results in composite form such that the supplier of vehicle-specific data cannot be identified in public documents.
The vehicles must be road-worthy, safe, legally permitted for driving on public roads, and ready for validation. Applications should show that the vehicles or a prior generation of the vehicles proposed have a minimum of 1,000 hours durability, or that the fuel cell system has been lab-tested to a minimum of 1,000 hours.
The data to be supplied to the HSDC includes data collected from sensors through the vehicles control system or separate data acquisition electronics as well as other qualitative and quantitative data for refueling, maintenance and repair, and other diagnostics. Design attributes for the vehicles will also be recorded.
DOE recognizes that it may not be possible for applicants to immediately produce the best set of validation vehicles upon award and will consider a staged or delayed start for data collection if applicants propose to produce the most advanced vehicle technologies possible for validation activities. However, given similar technical maturity, preference will be given to proposals which provide the required results sooner, through faster methods of accumulating miles driven.
DOE will divide awards resulting from this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) into two or more distinct funding phases, with a formal go/no-go decision between each phase. Funding for future phases will depend on the results of these go/no-go decisions, which will be based in part on the accomplishment of technical milestones during the previous phase as well as the likelihood of success in achieving the objectives of the next phase. Specific criteria for these go/no-go decisions will be determined prior to award.
The DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will coordinate this effort with Japan Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Demonstration Phase 3 (JHFC3) and similar technology validation efforts in Germany, Korea, and other countries to leverage international activities and to promote the rapid advance of fuel cell electric vehicles.
Overall, EERE’s fuel cell R&D efforts have been extremely successful, resulting in more than 300 patents and bringing 30 products to market. At the same time, fuel cell durability has doubled, expensive platinum content has been reduced by a factor of five, and the cost of fuel cells has fallen 80%.