DOE funds 31 projects to advance clean hydrogen technologies with $52.5M investment

Published on July 09, 2021 by Chris Galford

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In support of its Hydrogen Earth Earthshot Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced investments of $52.5 million this week for 31 projects advancing clean hydrogen technologies. 

Clean hydrogen is a form of renewable energy that can be combined with oxygen in a fuel cell to produce electricity that generates water and heat as by-products. A benefit is that it can be generated from numerous other resources, including natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewables such as solar and wind generation. That means it also brings major potential as a fuel option for an administration that has emphasized cleaner power sources. 

“Part of our path to a net-zero carbon future means investing in innovation to make clean energy sources like hydrogen more affordable and widely adopted so we can reach our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said. “These projects will put us one step closer to unlocking the scientific advancements needed to create a strong domestic supply chain and good-paying jobs in the emerging clean hydrogen industry.”

The 31 projects selected for this award focus on various areas, including shoring up technical gaps in hydrogen production, storage, and distribution. Utilization technologies, such as fuel cells, are also a focus. The funding can be split in two: $36 million from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and another $16.5 million from the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM). 

EERE-selected projects will support, among others: 

  • Improved manufacturing methods and streamlined assembly to reduce the cost of electrolysis
  • Biological and electrochemical approaches to clean hydrogen production
  • More efficient and durable fuel cell subsystems and components designed for heavy-duty applications
  • Domestic hydrogen supply chain components and refueling technologies
  • Analyses of cost and performance of fuel cell systems, hydrogen production pathways, and hydrogen storage technologies

FECM-supported efforts include: 

  • Degradation mechanisms and pathways in high temperature reversible solid oxide cells (SOC) materials to help assess metrics about cost, performance, durability
  • Performance, reliability, and durability for hydrogen production using reversible solid oxide cells (R-SOC) systems
  • Improvements in materials, manufacturing, and microstructure improvements to reduce costs
  • Designing commercial-scale, carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) systems from steam methane reforming plants and autothermal methane reforming plants
  • Gas turbine combustion system for hydrogen and mixtures of hydrogen and natural gas