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DOE to award $15.8M to 30 hydrogen and fuel cell technologies projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced approximately $15.8 million for 30 new projects aimed at discovery and development of novel, low-cost materials necessary for hydrogen production and storage and for fuel cells onboard light-duty vehicles. Selected projects will leverage national lab consortia launched under DOE’s Energy Materials Network (EMN) this past year (earlier post), in support of DOE’s materials research and advanced manufacturing priorities.

Selections were made under the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) annual funding opportunity announcement (FOA) in 2017. The 2017 FOA solicited early-stage materials research to advance the Department’s goals of enabling economic and efficient transportation via fuel cell electric vehicles that use hydrogen fuel produced from diverse domestic resources. More than 2,000 fuel cell vehicles have been sold or leased in the US since 2015.

The selected EMN consortia projects will leverage unique, world-class capabilities at the national laboratories, facilitating collaborations that will expedite the development of advanced materials.

Selected projects cover the following topics:

  1. PGM-free Catalyst and Electrode R&D. 4 projects will leverage the Electrocatalysis Consortium (ElectroCat) to accelerate the development of catalysts made without platinum group metals (PGM-free) for use in fuel cells for transportation.

  2. Advanced Water Splitting Materials. 19 projects will leverage the HydroGEN Consortium to accelerate the development of advanced water-splitting materials for hydrogen production, with an initial focus on advanced electrolytic, photoelectrochemical, and solar thermochemical pathways.

  3. Hydrogen Storage Materials Discovery. 4 projects 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 light-duty vehicles.

  4. Precursor Development for Low-Cost, High-Strength Carbon Fiber. 3 projects will reduce the cost of onboard hydrogen storage tanks necessary for fuel cell vehicles. These projects will pursue innovative approaches to developing novel precursors for high-strength carbon fiber at half the cost of current materials.

PGM-free Catalyst and Electrode R&D
Recipient Title DOE share (FY17)
Carnegie Mellon University Advanced PGM-free Cathode Engineering for High Power Density and Durability $2,000,000
GreenWay Energy, LLC PGM-free Engineered Framework Nano-Structure Catalysts $2,000,000
Giner, Inc. Durable Mn-based PGM-Free Catalysts for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells $1,999,029
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Highly Active and Durable PGM-free ORR Electrocatalysts through the Synergy of Active Sites $645,101

Advanced Water Splitting Materials
Recipient Title DOE share (FY17)
University of Connecticut Proton-Conducting Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells for Large-scale Hydrogen Production at Intermediate Temperatures $250,000
United Technologies Research Center Thin-Film, Metal-Supported High- Performance and Durable Proton-Solid Oxide Electrolyzer Cell $249,978
Northwestern University Degradation Characterization and Modeling of a New Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell Utilizing Accelerated Life Testing $250,000
Proton Energy Systems High Efficiency PEM Water Electrolysis Enabled by Advanced Catalysts, Membranes and Processes $248,931
Northeastern University Developing Novel Platinum Group Metal-Free Catalysts for Alkaline Hydrogen and Oxygen Evolution Reactions $250,500
Los Alamos National Laboratory High-Performance Ultralow-Cost Non-Precious Metal Catalyst System for AEM Electrolyzer $250,000
Argonne National Laboratory PGM-free OER Catalysts for PEM Electrolyzer $250,000
Los Alamos National Laboratory Scalable Elastomeric Membranes for Alkaline Water Electrolysis $250,000
University of Hawaii at Manoa Novel Chalcopyrites For Advanced Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting $238,113
University of Michigan Monolithically Integrated Thin- Film/Silicon Tandem Photoelectrodes for High Efficiency and Stable Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting $250,000
Rutgers New Brunswick/ Piscataway Best-in-class Platinum Group Metal-free (PGM-free) Catalyst Integrated Tandem Junction Photoelectrochemical (PEC) Water Splitting Devices $250,000
Stanford University Protective Catalyst Systems on III-V and Si-based Semiconductors for Efficient, Durable Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting Devices $222,566
Los Alamos National Laboratory Efficient Solar Water Splitting with 5,000 Hours Stability Using Earth-abundant Catalysts and Durable Layered 2D Perovskites $250,000
University of Colorado Boulder Computationally Accelerated Discovery and Experimental Demonstration of High-Performance Materials for Advanced Solar Thermochemical Hydrogen Production $247,509
Northwestern University Transformative Materials for High- Efficiency Thermochemical Production of Solar Fuels $250,000
GreenWay Energy, LLC High Temperature Reactor Catalyst Material Development for Low-Cost and Efficient Solar Driven Sulfur-based Processes $249,898
Colorado School of Mines Accelerated Discovery of Solar Thermochemical Hydrogen Production Materials via High- Throughput Computational and Experimental Methods $249,684
Arizona State University Mixed Ionic Electronic Conducting Quaternary Perovskites: Materials by Design for Solar Thermochemical Hydrogen $166,213
Proton Energy Systems Inc Benchmarking Advanced Water Splitting Technologies: Best Practices in Materials Characterization $2,000,000

Hydrogen Storage Materials Discovery
Recipient Title DOE share (FY17)
University of Michigan Optimized Hydrogen Adsorbents via Machine Learning and Crystal Engineering $250,000
University of California, Berkeley Super Metallated Frameworks as Hydrogen Sponges $250,000
National Renewable Energy Laboratory ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) Synthesis of Novel Nanostructured Metal Borohydrides $151,260
National Renewable Energy Laboratory Fluorinated Covalent Organic Frameworks: A Novel Pathway to Enhance Hydrogen Sorption and Control Isosteric Heats of Adsorption $149,165

Precursor Development for Low-Cost, High-Strength Carbon Fiber
Recipient Title DOE share (FY17)
University of Kentucky Precursor Processing Development for Low Cost, High Strength Carbon Fiber for Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel Applications $984,939
The Pennsylvania State University Developing A New Polyolefin Precursor for Low-Cost, High- Strength Carbon Fiber $804,563
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Novel Plasticized Melt Spinning Process of PAN Fibers Based on Task-Specific Ionic Liquids $274,000

Resources from LightMAT (a DOE Vehicle Technologies Office-managed EMN consortium), and IACMI (an institute for advanced composites research within the Manufacturing USA network managed by DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office), may also be leveraged by the awardees.



Very interesting H2 related research projects essential to increase performance of H2 plants, electrolysers, storage and FCEVs.

Private energy, car, truck and bus industries should be more involved.


Wait until Trump finds out that these projects make use of scientific research. He will kill them all:)


When you need range, quick fill and lots of energy FC could work in trucks and buses. Clean air and less imported oil is worth the effort.


The sky is falling hydrogen development is making progress.

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