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DOE Announces New Lab Consortia to Advance Hydrogen and Fuel Cell R&D

June 24, 2020
DOE to invest up to US$100 million over five years in two new DOE National Laboratory-led consortia.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced its intention to invest up to US$100 million over five years in two new DOE National Laboratory-led consortia to advance hydrogen and fuel cell technologies research and development (R&D). This funding is subject to appropriations.

"Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies have the potential to enable resilience, energy security, and economic growth across multiple sectors," said Undersecretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. "Through these ambitious new initiatives, the Trump administration continues its commitment to all of the above energy solutions, providing a wide variety of clean energy options for both power generation and transportation."

One consortium will conduct R&D to achieve large-scale, affordable electrolyzers, which use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, and can be powered by various energy sources, including natural gas, nuclear, and renewables. This R&D will complement and help support large industry deployment by enabling more durable, efficient, and low-cost electrolyzers.

The other consortium will conduct R&D to accelerate development of fuel cells for heavy-duty vehicle applications, including long-haul trucks. This initiative will set a five-year goal to prove the ability to have a fully competitive heavy-duty fuel cell truck that can meet all of the durability, cost, and performance requirements of the trucking industry.

Daniel R Simmons, the DOE's assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, gave a preview of this announcement during his remarks at the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE) Global Hydrogen Forum, where he represented the United States as the IPHE chair.

"We have made tremendous technological progress on fuel cells, electrolyzers, and fundamental materials, but hydrogen infrastructure remains a critical barrier we are committed to overcome,” said Simmons. "Through these new consortia, the National Labs, industry, and academia will work together to improve the cost, durability, and distribution of these technologies in order to realize their full potential."

The two consortia will leverage world-class expertise and state-of-the-art equipment at the DOE's National Labs and support the DOE's H2@Scale vision for large-scale, affordable hydrogen production, storage, distribution, and use across multiple applications, energy storage, and metals manufacturing.

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