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DOE awarding up to $4.6M to four projects for advanced hydrogen storage materials

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $4.6 million for four projects to develop advanced hydrogen storage materials that have potential to enable longer driving ranges and help make fuel cell systems competitive for different platforms and sizes of vehicles.

On-board hydrogen storage continues to be a challenging barriers to the widespread commercialization of hydrogen-fueled vehicles. The DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) hydrogen storage activity focuses primarily on the applied research and development of low-pressure, materials-based technologies to allow for a driving range of more than 300 miles (500 km) while meeting packaging, cost, safety, and performance requirements to be competitive with current vehicles.

Select DOE Onboard Hydrogen Storage Targets for Light-Duty Fuel Cell Vehicles
Storage Parameter Units 2020 Ultimate
System Gravimetric Capacity
Usable, specific-energy from H2 (net useful energy/max system mass)
kWh/kg
(kg H2/kg system)
1.8
(0.055)
2.5
(0.075)
System Volumetric Capacity
Usable energy density from H2 (net useful energy/max system volume)
kWh/L
(kg H2/L system)
1.3
(0.040)
2.3
(0.070)
Storage System Cost

Fuel cost
$/kWh net
($/kg H2 stored )
$/gge at pump
10
333
2-4
8
266
2-4
Durability/Operability
  • Operating ambient temperature
  • Min/max delivery temperature
  • Operational cycle life (1/4 tank to full)
  • Min delivery pressure from system
  • Max delivery pressure from system
  • Onboard Efficiency
  • “Well” to Powerplant Efficiency

  • ˚C
  • ˚C
  • Cycles
  • bar (abs)
  • bar (abs)
  • %
  • %

  • -40/60 (sun)
  • -40/85
  • 1500
  • 5
  • 12
  • 90
  • 60

  • -40/60 (sun)
  • -40/85
  • 1500
  • 3
  • 12
  • 90
  • 60
System fill time (5kg) min 3.3 2.5

Since FY 2005, the hydrogen storage effort has been conducted under the framework of the National Hydrogen Storage Project. A new effort starting in FY 2009 is the 5-year Hydrogen Storage Engineering Center of Excellence (CoE) that will provide a coordinated approach to the engineering R&D of on-board materials-based systems.

The four new projects selected for funding are:

  • Ames Laboratory will receive up to $1.2M to investigate the development of novel high-capacity silicon-based borohydride/graphene composite hydrogen storage materials produced through mechanochemical processes. If successful, this project will develop reversible, high-capacity hydrogen storage materials with sorption kinetics, sufficient to achieve the DOE system targets.

  • The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) will receive up to $1M to develop novel new high-capacity hydrogen sorbents based on high surface area graphene. Improved sorbents with higher volumetric capacity will allow for more optimal system design and improve total performance over current materials, making hydrogen sorbent systems a more viable option for practical applications, and to meet the DOE onboard storage system targets.

  • Texas A&M University of College Station, Texas, will receive up to $1.2M to develop new low-cost hydrogen sorbents that have high hydrogen sorption capacities that exceed the “Chahine rule” (roughly 1 wt% H2 uptake per 500 m2 g‐1 of specific surface area). Improved sorbents with higher volumetric capacity and improved thermal conductivity will allow for more optimal system design and improve total performance over current materials, making hydrogen sorbent systems a more viable option for practical applications, and to meet the DOE onboard storage system targets.

  • The University of Michigan of Ann Arbor, Michigan, will receive up to $1.2M to develop “best-in-class” hydrogen sorbent materials, with a focus on achieving simultaneously high volumetric and high gravimetric densities. This project is expected to lead to further improvements in hydrogen sorbent systems for onboard vehicle use.

The DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office hosts the Hydrogen Storage Materials Database to support the advancement of storage materials research and development. The database provides the research community with easy access to comprehensive, up-to-date materials data in one central location on adsorbents, chemicals, and metal hydrides. The database also includes information from DOE-funded research—pulled from a number of sources, including the historical Hydride Information Center database and the former DOE Centers of Excellence—and is being expanded to include non-DOE, international, and computational sources.

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