64 million reasons the DOE thinks hydrogen’s moment is now: The [email protected] story

February 5, 2020 |

The U.S. Department of Energy announced up to $64 million in funding to advance innovations that will build new markets for the [email protected] initiative. This investment will support transformational research and development, innovative hydrogen concepts that will encourage market expansion and increase the scale of hydrogen production, storage, transport, and use.

The DOE stated:

Hydrogen and fuel cells represent an industry with the potential to enable resiliency, energy security, emission reductions, and economic growth across sectors. While the United States produces 10 million tons of hydrogen annually, a significant increase in hydrogen supply and demand will be required to fully realize hydrogen benefits across the economy. Hydrogen can add value to industrial sectors such as steel and ammonia production, spur baseload power sources such as nuclear, and accelerate the integration of renewables in the energy system. Opportunities also exist in large-energy use applications for mobility, such as trucks, rail and marine, as well as in energy storage.

The Topic Areas

  • Electrolyzer Manufacturing R&D (up to $15M): Lowering the cost of hydrogen produced from megawatt- and gigawatt-scale electrolyzers by improving large-scale, high-volume electrolyzer manufacturing in the U.S.
  • Advanced Carbon Fiber for Compressed Gas Storage Tanks (up to $15M): Reducing the cost of hydrogen and natural gas storage tanks by developing low-cost, high-strength carbon fiber and scaling up to industry-relevant scales.
  • Fuel Cell R&D and Domestic Manufacturing for Medium and Heavy Duty Transportation (up to $10M): Advancing the development of domestically manufactured fuel cell components and stacks that meet the cost and performance needs of trucks and other emerging heavy duty applications. 
  • [email protected] New Markets R&D – HySteel (up to $8M): Enabling the use of hydrogen in steel manufacturing applications, aligned with FCTO and [email protected] priorities for fostering new markets for hydrogen.
  • [email protected] New Markets Demonstrations in Maritime and Data Centers (up to $14M): Developing first-of-a-kind demonstrations to jumpstart emerging new market opportunities for hydrogen in maritime and data center applications.
  • Training and Workforce Development (up to $2M): Creating cohesive, strategic, and well-coordinated regional efforts to develop the skills necessary to support the growing hydrogen and fuel cell industry.

The [email protected] backstory

As the US Department of Energy Fuel Cell Office notes:

[email protected] is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) initiative that brings together stakeholders to advance affordable hydrogen production, transport, storage, and utilization to increase revenue opportunities in multiple energy sectors. It includes DOE-funded projects and national laboratory-industry co- funded activities to accelerate the early-stage research, development and demonstration of applicable hydrogen technologies. 

The U.S. currently produces more than 10 million tonnes of hydrogen, roughly one seventh of the global supply, primarily for oil refining and fertilizer. Large-scale infrastructure includes over 1,600 miles of hydrogen pipelines, a growing network of stations, and thousands of tons of storage in underground caverns.

Why [email protected]

Hydrogen can enable U.S. energy security, resiliency and economic prosperity, and is part of our “all of the above” energy strategy for these reasons: 

  • 1)  Hydrogen can be produced from diverse domestic resources for use in multiple sectors, or for export. 
  • 2)  Hydrogen has the highest energy content by weight of all known fuels – 3X higher than gasoline – and is a critical feedstock for the entire chemicals industry, including liquid fuels. 
  • 3)  Hydrogen and fuel cells can enable zero or near zero emissions in transportation, stationary or remote power, and portable power applications. 
  • 4)  Hydrogencanbeusedasa“responsiveload”onthegridto enable grid stability and gigawatt-hour energy storage, and increase utilization of power generators, including nuclear, coal, natural gas, and renewables. 
  • 5)  Hydrogen can enable innovations in domestic industries, such as transportation (e.g., in vehicles, aviation, and marine applications) and iron making. 

[email protected] R&D Challenges 

The DOE’s [email protected] Consortium facilitates R&D projects that leverage the world-class capabilites of the national laboratories in partnership with industry and academia. Partnerships with key stakeholders (e.g., power generators and technology developers) on early-stage R&D projects can be facilitated through cooperative agreements with matching DOE funds. R&D challenges to enable the goals of [email protected] span hydrogen production, delivery, storage, infrastructure, and use in diverse applications. While DOE’s role focuses on early-stage R&D, such as new concepts for dispatchable hydrogen production, delivery and storage, reliance on the private sector for demonstration is critical. First-of-its-kind demonstrations can allow cutting edge technologies to be integrated into existing systems and validated to show a business case for future deployments and guide future R&D plans. 

DOE Announces $40 Million in Funding To Advance [email protected]

In August 2019, DOE announced approximately $40 million in FY 2019 funding for 29 projects to advance the [email protected] concept. The selected projects will advance hydrogen storage and infrastructure technologies and identify innovative concepts for hydrogen production and utilization including grid resiliency. View the selection announcement.

[email protected] CRADA Call

DOE is seeking qualified partners to participate in cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) projects with the [email protected] national laboratories consortium. While the 2017 call for CRADA projects has closed, additional projects may be considered pending available funds. Interested parties are encouraged to review the 2017 CRADA call on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory website, and submit applications to [email protected].

The Due Dates

Concept papers are due February 25, 2020 and full applications are due April 20, 2020. 

For more information

More information, application requirements, and instructions can be found on the EERE Exchange.

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