The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) on January 27, 2023, on behalf of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office that makes available $47 million to support the research, development, and demonstration of affordable hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The FOA further advances the Biden administration’s goals to achieve carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035 and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. It also supports the goals of the H2@Scale Initiative, which aims to advance affordable hydrogen production, transport, storage, and utilization, and aligns with DOE’s Hydrogen Shot, which targets affordable clean hydrogen production at $1/kg within the decade.
As expected, the FOA targets four topics of interest that are critical to enabling the use of clean hydrogen across sectors, particularly in medium-duty and heavy-duty (MD/HD) vehicles and other heavy-duty transportation applications.
Topic 1: Hydrogen Carrier Development
This topic seeks applications for the research and development (R&D) of novel hydrogen carriers, which offer a unique storage and delivery methodology that can circumvent some of the challenges associated with conventional compressed gas or liquid hydrogen (LH2) (e.g., the need for compression and high costs of infrastructure for compressed gaseous hydrogen and the energy-intensive and expensive process for hydrogen liquefaction).
This topic also seeks applications for R&D of hydrogen carrier hydrogenation/dehydrogenation catalysts and catalyst supports. The goal is to provide quantitative cost and performance advantages over conventional compressed gas or LH2 systems.
EERE expects to issue a total of $7 million in funding for this topic by awarding each of 7–10 projects with $750,000 to $1 million in funding.
Topic 2: Onboard Storage Systems for Liquid Hydrogen
This topic seeks applications for the development of LH2 storage vessels and the required balance-of-plant hardware to enable low-cost, energy-dense LH2 storage onboard MD/HD transportation applications. Hydrogen fuel cell systems can offer long driving ranges, short refueling times, and high payload capacities, but require significant quantities of hydrogen.
A potential solution is the onboard storage of LH2, which has a higher energy density than compressed gaseous hydrogen and could enable greater storage capacity, longer ranges, and faster refueling times. However, a key challenge of LH2 storage is that it must be stored at low cryogenic temperatures in vessels with advanced insulation to prevent evaporation and boil-off losses.
EERE expects to issue a total of $10 million in funding for this topic by awarding each of 2–3 projects with $3–5 million in funding.
Topic 3: Liquid Hydrogen Transfer/Fueling Components and Systems
This topic solicits applications to develop LH2 transfer and vehicular fueling technologies and approaches to enable high-flow LH2 transfers and/or LH2 fueling for MD/HD transportation applications. Deploying LH2 fuel for high-use and high-capacity MD/HD applications will require fueling times that are comparable to liquid fuels. Hydrogen losses, materials compatibility, and safety concerns from LH2 fueling and transfer operations will need to be addressed.
Enabling the large-scale LH2 fueling and transfer operations for MD/HD end uses will require the development of advanced LH2 components, systems, and technologies that address these challenges.
EERE expects to issue a total of $12 million in funding for this topic by awarding each of 2–4 projects with $2–6 million in funding.
Topic 4: High-Performing, Durable Membrane Electrode Assemblies for MD/HD Applications
This topic solicits applications that will develop membrane electrode assemblies to reduce the cost and enhance the durability and performance of proton-exchange membrane fuel cell stacks for MD/HD applications.
DOE has set 2030 targets for long-haul class 8 fuel cell trucks at a 25,000-hour lifetime, 68% peak efficiency, and an $80/kW(net) fuel cell system cost, and advances are required for fuel cell stack and balance-of-plant components and their associated manufacturing technologies and processes.
EERE expects to issue a total of $15 million in funding for this topic by awarding each of 3–5 projects with $3–5 million in funding.
Concept papers are due February 24, 2023, which will be followed by the issuance of notifications encouraging or discouraging the submission of full applications.
Only applicants that have submitted an eligible concept paper will be able to submit a full application, which will be due April 28, 2023. EERE is expected to issue selection notifications in September 2023.
If an application is selected, it will proceed to the award negotiation process, but selection does not amount to a commitment by EERE to issue an award. EERE will provide funding through cooperative agreements and other similar agreements.