The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced approximately $30 million in available funding (DE-FOA-0001647), subject to appropriations, for research and development of low-cost hydrogen production, onboard hydrogen storage, and proton exchange membrane fuel cells to advance the widespread commercialization of fuel cell electric vehicles.
Selected projects will leverage national lab consortia launched under DOE’s Energy Materials Network (EMN) this past year, in support of DOE’s materials research and advanced manufacturing priorities. The EMN consortia have been established to make unique, world-class capabilities at the national laboratories more accessible to industry, facilitating collaborations that will expedite the development and manufacturing of advanced materials for commercial markets.
The fuel cells market is growing rapidly, and has seen an annual growth rate of 30% every year since 2010 as well as $2 billion annual revenue in 2014. Light duty vehicles are an emerging application for fuel cells that already enable 95% lower petroleum consumption per mile than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.
The FOA topics include:
PGM-free Catalyst and Electrode R&D. Applications are invited for novel and innovative concepts that advance the development of PGM-free oxygen reduction electrocatalysts and electrodes for use in PEMFCs, with a primary focus on automotive applications. Applicants should propose 2‐3 year projects for a maximum total DOE funding of $2,000,000. Applications should be at Technology Readiness Levels of 2‐3, and the funding request should be commensurate with the level of work proposed.
Proposed cathode catalyst concepts should demonstrate the potential to meet or exceed DOE’s 2020 activity target of 0.044 A/cm2 at 0.9 VIR-free in a PEMFC membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which is equivalent to the PGM catalyst activity target of 0.44 A/mgPGM at 0.1 mgPGM/cm2 (this PGM loading describes the cathode catalyst content only), as well as the potential to meet DOE’s 2020 MEA activity and durability targets. The proposed work should include electrode development pathways addressing mass transport limitations potentially imposed by high catalyst loadings and thicknesses, and performance degradation issues at high current densities.
The deliverable in this topic is a set of MEAs (6 or more, each with active area ≥50 cm2) that are made available for independent testing and evaluation to ElectroCat. Also, recipients will provide all public data (such as technical data used to support published journal articles) to ElectroCat for curation and hosting.
Advanced Water Splitting Materials. This area seeks applications for the discovery and development of novel, advanced water splitting materials systems which will enable meeting the DOE ultimate hydrogen production goal of $2/kg H2. This subtopic will focus on advancing the state of the art in durable materials and interfaces for efficient water splitting under real-world operating conditions.
Applications are encouraged which integrate theoretical modeling, synthesis, and experimental characterization of the material systems under investigation to advance the scientific understanding of these systems while providing experimental validation of their viability in practical large-scale water splitting.
DOE anticipates that these projects would run 2 to 3 years in length for a maximum total DOE funding of $1,000,000, with a quantitative Go/No-Go decision point between each phase.
Hydrogen Storage Materials Discovery. This topic will leverage the Hydrogen Materials—Advanced Research Consortium (HyMARC) to address unsolved scientific challenges in the development of viable solid-state materials for hydrogen storage onboard fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
Precursor Development for Low-Cost, High-Strength Carbon Fiber for Use in Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel Applications. This topic will aim to reduce the cost of onboard hydrogen storage necessary for FCEVs. Applicants for this topic will be encouraged to collaborate with LightMAT, a consortium launched by the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office to enable light-weighting of vehicles through the development of high-strength steels and carbon fiber.
Concept papers are due 20 December 2016; full applications are due 21 February 2017.