The DOE puts $40M into accelerating hydrogen

August 26, 2019 |

In Washington, the U.S. Department of Energy  announced approximately $40 million in FY 2019 funding for 29 projects to advance the [email protected] concept. 

The United States produces over 10 million tonnes of hydrogen, nearly one-seventh of the global supply, primarily for oil refining and fertilizer production. Hydrogen infrastructure includes over 1,600 miles of hydrogen pipeline, a growing network of stations, and thousands of tons of storage in underground caverns. Increasing the production, transport, storage, and utilization of hydrogen from today’s baseline can represent an opportunity across various sectors in the economy. 

The [email protected] backstory

The focus of [email protected] is to enable affordable and reliable large-scale hydrogen generation, transport, storage, and utilization in the United States across multiple sectors. 

Reversible hydrogen carriers

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this funding round revolves around reversible hydrogen carriers. 

What’s that, exactly?

Let’s say you have excess solar or wind power — instead of storing in a costly battery system, you can form a hydrogen compound that stores the energy in its chemical bonds. When you need the power, you can reduce the process through a fuel cell to deliver power.

One you can store it. Two, you can ship it. Three, it’s stable. In short, you can use excess solar power in one place to deliver renewable electrons to a vehicle, or to another stationary point on a grid.

The issues are cost and that means rate, and that means “what is your catalyst?” and making more effective cataluysts is what DOE more or less is chasing here.

So, there are four projects in the mix here in “Novel Hydrogen Carrier Development”.

Colorado School of Mines 

High Capacity Step-Shaped Hydrogen Adsorption in Robust, Pore-Gating Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks – $381,022 

University of Hawaii 

Development of Magnesium Borane Containing Solutions of Furans and Pyroles as Reversible Liquid Hydrogen Carriers – $994,326 

University of Southern California 

Hydrogen Release from Concentrated Media with Reusable Catalysts – $1,000,000

Washington State University 

A Reversible Liquid Hydrogen Carrier System Based on Ammonium Formate and Captured CO2 – $1,000,000 

We would particularly draw you attention to the Hawaii project. As many have surmised, Hawaii has a slot of sun and a lot of wind, but what Hawaii does not have is fossil fuels, and that makes mobility a challenge, and creating charging poiunts, importing electric vehicles and generating sufficient renewable power in the right place and right time to “go electric” is not as easy in the tropics as you’d think.

Which is why liquid mobility has a big future, but hydrogen has a role to play, generating those electric experienmces with a fuel cell, but with power getting to the fuel cell via hydrogen generated from stored solar or wind.

The funding

Funded through the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), with contribution from DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, the selected projects will advance hydrogen storage and infrastructure technologies and identify innovative concepts for hydrogen production and utilization including grid resiliency. 

“The [email protected] concept is a critical piece of the country’s comprehensive energy strategy and an enabler of multiple industries in our economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “As an energy carrier, hydrogen has the potential to unite our nation’s domestic energy resources. These selections support DOE’s mission and advances our commitment to enable economic growth and energy security through the development of more affordable hydrogen technologies.”

For example, producing hydrogen when generation exceeds load on the grid can reduce curtailment of renewables and optimize existing baseload assets, such as nuclear. The hydrogen can be stored, distributed, and/or used as a fuel for transportation, stationary power, process or building heat, and industrial and manufacturing sectors (such as steel manufacturing), creating an additional revenue stream and increased economic value.

The other winners

Topic 1B: H-Mat Materials Compatibility Consortium R&D: Hydrogen Effects in Materials for Fueling Infrastructure 

Clemson University 

Self-healable Copolymer Composites for Extended Service H2 Dispensing Hoses $1,000,000 

Colorado School of Mines 

Microstructural Engineering and Accelerated Test Method Development to Achieve Low Cost, High Performance Solutions for Hydrogen Storage and Delivery $1,443,648 

Hy-Performance Materials Testing, LLC 

Reducing the Cost of Fatigue Crack Growth Testing for Storage Vessel Steels in Hydrogen Gas – $616,270 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

Micro-Mechanically Guided High-Throughput Alloy Design Exploration Towards Metastability-Induced Hydrogen Embrittlement Resistance $1,000,000 

The University of Alabama 

Tailoring Carbide Dispersed Steels: A Path to Increased Strength and Hydrogen Tolerance $999,870 

University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign 

Tailoring Composition and Deformation Modes at the Microstructural Level for Next Generation Low-Cost High-Strength Austenitic Stainless Steels $2,000,000 

Topic 2A: Advanced Water Splitting Materials Research (integrated with HydroGEN Consortium) 

Georgia Institute of Technology 

Interface and Electrode Engineering for Durable, Low Cost Alkaline Anion Exchange Membrane Electrolyzers $999,997 

Nexceris, LLC 

Advanced Coatings to Enhance the Durability of SOEC Stacks $1,000,000 

Redox Power Systems, LLC 

Scalable High-H2 Flux, Robust Thin Film Solid Oxide Electrolyzer $999,976 

The Chemours Company FC, LLC 

Performance and Durability Investigation of Thin, Low Crossover Proton Exchange Membranes for Water Electrolyzers $1,000,000 

The University of Toledo 

Perovskite/Perovskite Tandem Photoelectrodes for Low-Cost Unassisted Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting $750,000 

University of California: Irvine 

Development of Composite Photocatalyst Materials that are Highly Selective for Solar Hydrogen Production and their Evaluation in Z-Scheme Reactor Designs $999,999

University of California: San Diego 

New High-Entropy Perovskite Oxides with Increased Reducibility and Stability for Thermochemical Hydrogen Generation $1,000,000 

University of Florida 

A New Paradigm for Materials Discovery and Development for Lower Temperature and Isothermal Thermochemical H2 Production $999,589 

University of Oregon 

Pure Hydrogen Production through Precious-Metal- Free Membrane Electrolysis of Dirty Water $500,000 

University of South Carolina 

A Multifunctional Isostructural Bilayer Oxygen Evolution Electrode for Durable Intermediate- Temperature Electrochemical Water Splitting $1,000,000 

William Marsh Rice University 

Highly Efficient Solar Water Splitting Using 3D/2D Hydrophobic Perovskites with Corrosion Resistant Barriers $799,998 

Topic 2B: Affordable Biological Hydrogen Production from Biomass Resources 

Oregon State University

Scalable and Highly-Efficient Microbial Electrochemical Reactor for Hydrogen Generation from Lignocellulosic Biomass and Waste $999,906 

Topic 2C: Co-production of H2 and Value-add Byproducts 

C-Zero, LLC 

Binary Chloride Salts as Catalysts for Methane to Hydrogen and Graphitic Powder $999,878 

University of Colorado, Boulder 

Extremely Durable Concrete using Methane Decarbonization Nanofiber Co-Products with Hydrogen $1,000,000 

Topic 2D: Reversible Fuel Cell Development and Validation 

FuelCell Energy, Inc. 

High Efficiency Reversible Solid Oxide System $2,000,000 

Proton Energy Systems, Inc. 

A Novel Stack Approach to Enable High Round Trip Efficiencies in Unitized PEM Regenerative Fuel Cells $2,000,000 

Topic 3: [email protected] Pilot – Integrated Production, Storage, and Fueling System 

Exelon Corporation 

Demonstration of Electrolyzer Operation at a Nuclear Plant to Allow for Dynamic Participation in an Organized Electricity Market and In-House Hydrogen Supply $3,619,061 

Frontier Energy, Inc. 

Demonstration and Framework for [email protected] in Texas and Beyond $5,400,000

Giner ELX, Inc. 

Demonstration of Integrated Hydrogen Production and Consumption for Improved Utility Operations $4,000,000 

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