The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $47 million in funding (DE-FOA-0002920) to accelerate the research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of affordable clean hydrogen technologies. Projects funded under this opportunity will reduce costs, enhance hydrogen infrastructure, and improve the performance of hydrogen fuel cells—advancing the Department’s Hydrogen Shot goal of reducing the cost of clean hydrogen to $1 per kilogram within a decade.
This funding opportunity, which is administered by DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO), focuses on RD&D of key hydrogen delivery and storage technologies as well as affordable and durable fuel cell technologies.
Fuel cell RD&D projects will focus particularly on applications for heavy-duty trucks, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and eliminate tailpipe emissions that are harmful to local air quality. Specific topics to be funded in this interest area are:
Topic 1: Hydrogen Carrier Development. This topic seeks applications for R&D of novel hydrogen carriers and hydrogen carrier hydrogenation/dehydrogenation catalysts and catalyst supports with the goal of providing quantitative cost and performance advantages over conventional compressed gas or liquid hydrogen systems. Hydrogen carriers are a unique storage and delivery medium that have the potential to enable efficient, compact, and low-cost transport, on-site generation, and storage of hydrogen across multiple sectors in the economy.
Carriers exhibit a wide range of properties and behaviors, allowing for the matching of different hydrogen-rich materials to the needs of a specific end use. Relevant end uses that address the overall performance needs, such as pressure, temperature, rates of hydrogen release, purity, and cost at scale, must be considered within the topic. One example of interest includes catalysts that are based on perovskite materials, or that use perovskite materials as catalyst supports. Such materials and other innovative concepts with potential to meet specific metrics are of interest and projects will be expected to collaborate with HFTO’s HyMARC consortium.
Topic 2: Onboard Storage Systems for Liquid Hydrogen. This topic solicits applications for the development of LH2 storage vessels and the required balance-of-plant hardware to enable low-cost, energy-dense LH2 storage onboard medium- and heavy-duty (MD/HD) transportation applications. Hydrogen fuel cell systems can offer benefits in MD/HD transportation, particularly for long-haul trucks, such as long driving ranges, short refueling times, and high payload capacities. However, to do so, significant quantities of hydrogen are required (e.g., 40 – 120 kg for long-haul trucks and several hundred kg for other heavy-duty applications such as off-road mining and construction vehicles). As LH2 has a considerably higher energy density compared to 700 bar compressed hydrogen gas, there is significant interest in the development of onboard LH2 storage systems. Analyses have shown the potential of LH2 systems to meet capacity requirements for MD/HD applications and achieve the storage cost target of less than or equal to $8/kWh.
Topic 3: Liquid Hydrogen Transfer/Fueling Components and Systems. This topic seeks applications to develop LH2 transfer and vehicular fueling technologies and approaches to enable high-flow LH2 transfers and/or LH2 fueling for MD and HD transportation applications. Hydrogen fueling stations for MD/HD fuel cell transportation applications, which encompass trucks, buses, off- road, marine, and rail, are expected to dispense tons of hydrogen per day. The large-scale storage and transfer of LH2 for such end-users requires the development of advanced LH2 transfer and fueling components and systems that address the challenges of hydrogen losses, materials compatibility, and safety while enabling fueling times comparable to incumbent technologies (i.e., liquid fuels). This will require much higher hydrogen flow rates, for instance over five times greater (at least 10 kg/min average) than those in current light-duty vehicle hydrogen fueling stations.
Topic 4: M2FCT: High Performing, Durable Membrane Electrode Assemblies for Medium- and Heavy-duty Applications. This topic solicits applications that, in coordination with DOE’s Million Mile Fuel Cell Truck (M2FCT) consortium, will develop membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) that will reduce the cost and enhance the durability and performance of proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell stacks for MD/HD applications. R&D needs for both applications have been identified with industry, university, and national laboratory expert stakeholder input. The topic targets advances in MEAs to enable significant progress towards meeting 2030 system level HD truck targets of 25,000-hour durability and $80/kW system cost.
For all topic areas, DOE envisions awarding financial assistance awards in the form of cooperative agreements. The estimated period of performance for each award will be approximately two to four years. DOE encourages applicant teams that include stakeholders within academia, industry, and national laboratories across multiple technical disciplines. Teams are also encouraged to include representation from diverse entities such as minority-serving institutions, labor unions, community colleges, and other entities connected through Opportunity Zones.