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DOE announces $30M in funding for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  4. 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.

Comments

DaveD

God, what a waste of frigging resources. IDIOTS.

Lad

This just in...again: 'Continuing to flush money down the hydrogen rat hole is a waste of tax money'; even Toyota admits it's nonsense by announcing their forthcoming BEV in 2020.

The DOE has had it completely wrong. Use the money as buyer incentives for BEVs.

HarveyD

Hydrogen technologies are not limited to FCEVs.

It will soon store enough ultra cheap solar/wind energies to replace the use of current very harmful fossil fuel energy sources.

Our children will very probably ban the use of Coal, crude oil, NG and derivatives to survive.

DaveD

Harvey,
Did you read the article?

"to advance the widespread commercialization of fuel cell electric vehicles."

They're p*ssing away taxpayer money. This is not about hydrogen to store excess energy from renewable sources. "on-board storage".

Just: NO! Stop wasting resources.

Today, Toyota announced their own Think Tank to advance EVs.

Seriously, this is a COMPLETE waste of taxpayer money.

Fasteddie

My hope is that:
1. This was a program that got launched 9 months ago or so, and the more recently-understood reality could not stop it in time.
2. $30 million is not enough money to really do anything useful except fund some post-docs
3. Toyota and California will abandon hydrogen fuel cell investments
4. Nothing will come of it

SJC

"subject to appropriations"
NOT likely to happen.

GM

So EVs can do everything we need to get to deep decarbonization? Hmmm... haven't seen an analysis to show that yet.

Engineer-Poet

Nuclear power in combination with EVs can do the deep decarbonization, and has already done so several times.  Nobody has EVER demonstrated deep decarbonization with wind+solar (the so-called "renewables") alone.  That is because they cannot do the job... and the fossil interests are relying on it.

All of the nonsense about generating hydrogen to store energy on an annual scale is specifically to replace the energy stockpiles provided by fossil fuels and/or uranium.  Replacing the services provided by nature is EXTREMELY expensive.  Germany has no plans to stop burning coal before 2050:  that should be all the answer you need.

yoatmon

The future for nukes is as bright as that for coal; Chernobyl and Fukushima are still shining brightly.
Several coal plants in Germany have been shut down permanently; others are in the starting blocks to follow shortly. Those that are still in operation are a helpless pledge from the German government to appease all those coal miners including their raging unions and respective industry. 87% of all mature Germans are well aware of the fact that no way leads past renewables.
A faint, really a very faint hope remains that it might be possible to enable fusion power plants in several decades from now to go into operation.

gorr

Stop killing the economy with these grants to hydrogen and batteries and biofuels. You folks didn't realized that it is a joke from the al gore mob now also backed by the roman vatican.

DaveD

gor,
Just get into your neon and drive off into the sunset screaming: "YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!"

HarveyD

Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and many others will continue to develop mobile and fixed FCs + H2 generation and storage. Future mobile units will be lighter, cheaper, last longer and be more efficient.

Mobile FCs are already superior to batteries in many ways and it is not so sure that higher performance (1+ KW/Kg) batteries will catch up before 2030-2040?

Fixed FCs are far ahead of batteries for medium and long term large energy conversion and storage. Batteries may be OK for limited range vehicles and small home units but FCs/H2 is superior for larger mobile and fixed units.

SJC

Get out of the OR world.
We can have EV AND FCV.

Engineer-Poet

We can, but building out a distribution and dispensing network for a brand-new fuel that doesn't work much better than electricity just makes no sense.

HarveyD

Extended range BEVs and FCEVs could co-exist in most industrial countries.

FCEVs could better power SUVs, light and heavy trucks, large buses and locomotives. Due to their inherent longer range and ultra quick refills (3 to 5 minutes), FCEVs are better than slow charge batteries for many applications.

Early H2 networks would require many less (8 to 10 times less) stations than for slow charging BEV stations and could be financed with health care savings, less oil wars and important reduction in GHG and pollution levels.

Engineer-Poet

Hardly.  Most BEVs will charge from outlets at home, not at stations of any kind.  The vast bulk of the infrastructure is already in place.

The cost and damage (in road accidents) of shipping bulky H2 gas, or multiples-of-electric-cost price of H2 from electrolysis at stations, destroy the economics.  Ammonia already has 3x the mass-density of hydrogen that the DoE wants for H2 tankage.  Absent massive subsidies H2FCVs are going nowhere, and I expect those subsidies to disappear very soon.

Thomas Lankester

@EP
Isn't equating renewables with just solar+wind a bit of a strawman?

Yes wind and solar have recently started to be cost competitive but hydro has been for years. Biogas, tidal (stream+lagoon), geothermal and wave are on cost reduction curves but less mature, as were wind and solar just 2 decades ago.

Engineer-Poet

Renewables = solar and wind is more or less policy.  Existing hydro doesn't count.  Run-of-the-river policy is hit-or-miss IIUC.  Wave effectively doesn't exist; decades of efforts all abandoned as unworkable.  Biogas is even more limited than biomass, because it's what's left from biomass after a bunch of conversion losses.  Tidal is minuscule and ecologically damaging, and the most capacity the USA can expect from geothermal is a double-handful of GW.

The whole point of adopting solar and wind is that they can scale (to a point), and are the only "renewables" which can.

HarveyD

In many countries, added (new) power sources are already close to or over 50% REs.

In all sunny places, new roofs redone with competitive cost solar shingles could supply most of the energy required for the family home, including energy for the family BEVs.

One single large solar farm in Morocco will eventually supply close to 40% of the country requirement.

USA, China, Russia, SA, Africa and many others have enough desert sunny land to supply 10X to 1000x the country requirement when well equipped with large solar farms.

Canada's remaining CPPs will be closed down by 2030 and be replaced with Hydro, Solar, Wind and upgraded-refurbished CANDU nuclear plants in Ontario.

Engineer-Poet

Harvey, you're starting to sound like Bas Gresnigt the liar.

Here's a hint:  You can take a 100% coal grid and add 10% nameplate capacity of wind at 40% capacity factor, and 5% nameplate capacity of PV at 20% capacity factor.  ALL your added capacity is "renewable", but the coal-fired fraction of energy has only gone down from maybe 100% to 95%.

HarveyD

Unlike USA, with 40+% from CPPs, Canada's e-energy is supplied by lees than 10% from CPPs.

A good energy saving program could reduce consumption by 10+% to allow the closing of remaining CPPs.

Alternatively, a few more Muskrat Falls Hydro projects (channelled to Ontario instead of USA) together with a few more wind/solar farms could easily fill in for the 10% required. The current Fed government could play an important role here by making related financial guarantees conditional. Ten plus similar Hydro projects could be quickly developed in Labrador and Quebec.

Alternative II, Ontario's 18 old CANDUs could be refurbished and simultaneously upgraded with more productive up to date units. This is a very strong possibility.

Canada is not short of clean energy! The Alberta Tar Sands operation is an interim unclean energy source that will fade away with ICEVs by or before 2040/2050.

HarveyD

In 2016, USA added some 26 GW of e-energy production and was composed of:

1) Solar (9.5 GW) or 36.5%
2) Natural Gas (8.0 GW) or 30.76%
3) Wind (6.8 GW) or 26.2%
4) Nuclear (1.1 GW) 4.2%
5) Hydro (0.3 GW) 1.15%
6) Others (0.3 GW) 1.15%

Two RE sources (Solar and Wind) produced some 62.7% of all new e-energy produced and they are growing fast.

By 2020 or so, close to 75% of all new e-energy produced in USA may be from Solar and Wind.

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