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DOE to award $20M to ARPA-E effort to develop cost-effective, highly accurate hydrogen detection and quantification technologies

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $20 million in funding to support the development of innovative approaches for hydrogen gas emissions detection and quantification. The focus of this new ARPA-E effort is on detecting emissions throughout the full hydrogen supply chain, from production to end use.

Cost-effective, accurate measurements of hydrogen gas will facilitate detection and mitigation of direct emissions.


Hydrogen does not absorb infrared (IR) light and therefore does not act as a direct greenhouse gas (GHG) in the atmosphere. However, hydrogen is considered an indirect GHG due to its ability to extend the lifetime of other GHGs in the atmosphere. This lack of IR absorption also makes the detection of atmospheric hydrogen extremely challenging. ARPA-E—through the H2SENSE Exploratory Topic—is seeking technologies with a:

  • Minimum detection and quantification threshold of 10 kg/hr across a 100 meters (m) x 100 m area; and

  • Cost of no more than $10,000 for the detection area.

These performance targets will enable a systems-level approach to large-area monitoring of hydrogen emissions.

The H2SENSE Exploratory Topic builds on ARPA-E’s prior work pioneering precise atmospheric gas detection industries. Before ARPA-E’s MONITOR program, low-cost, continuous methane detection and mitigation was not possible. But now, ARPA-E-funded projects born from that initiative—like LongPath, which recently received an LPO loan guarantee—have created a paradigm shift and developed technologies capable of detecting more than 90% of methane leaks down to 0.2 kg/hr from nearly a mile away. ARPA-E is building on this history with H2SENSE in pursuit of low-cost, effective hydrogen emissions detection.


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