Power & Pipes

FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments

As anticipated, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) that focuses on advancing the fueling infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty (MD/HD) vehicles and other heavy transportation applications.

The FOA makes available up to $59 million in federal funding and adds hydrogen fuel-cell–powered port equipment as an additional topic of interest to the previously announced topics. The topics of interest covered under the FOA are (1) components for hydrogen fueling of MD/HD vehicles, (2) standardized hydrogen fueling station of the future, (3) hydrogen fuel-cell–powered port equipment, (4) enabling permitting and safety for hydrogen deployment, and (5) equitable hydrogen technology community engagement. Below we highlight several of these topics of interest.

Standardized Hydrogen Fueling Station

The FOA allocates up to $30 million to support the development and demonstration of a low-cost, standardized, and replicable hydrogen fueling station that can accommodate commercial-scale MD/HD truck fueling. It recognizes the limited number of MD/HD hydrogen fueling stations that are currently operational and the challenges stemming from high capital and operating costs, reliability challenges, and the total cost of hydrogen.

The FOA seeks proposals for station designs using delivered hydrogen that optimize a range of station performance metrics such as fill time, station reliability and up-time, overall hydrogen capacity (including per-hour throughput), and operational and construction costs. Proposed projects must include both a standardized, low-cost station design and at least one actual station demonstration validating that design.

The proposed station designs must have a throughput capacity of at least two metric tons per day, at least 100 kilograms (kg) per fill, and at least 250 kg of hydrogen per hour. They should also minimize hydrogen releases, leaks, and fugitive emissions; aim for at least 50% utilization and at least 95% availability; and have at least one dispenser that is publicly accessible with standard user interfaces such as credit card readers and digital displays.

A project team should consist of a station developer, a station operator, a hydrogen fuel supplier, a MD/HD truck end user to utilize the station if possible, and a community partner.

MD/HD Vehicle Hydrogen Fueling Components

The FOA allocates up to $10 million to support the development of advanced hydrogen fueling components that enable gaseous and/or liquid hydrogen fueling at MD/HD vehicle refueling stations. While hydrogen fueling stations for light-duty vehicles operate using compressed gaseous hydrogen that is delivered by tube trailers, this alone may not be a viable option for MD/HD vehicles and other heavy-transportation applications (e.g., marine and rail), which are expected to require larger quantities of hydrogen per day. The MD/HD targets for fueling flowrates are an average of 10 kg of hydrogen/minute over a 100 kg hydrogen fill, with a peak capability of 18 kg of hydrogen/minute.

Several factors differentiate light-duty vehicle refueling from MD/HD vehicle refueling, including high flowrate, fueling times, hydrogen losses, the availability/up-time, and cost. Transfer and fueling components such as cryogenic transfer lines, large-bore piping, couplings, valves, and meters will need to be developed to accommodate the high flowrates required for MD/HD fueling.

In addition, to improve the availability/up-time of hydrogen fueling stations, improvements in the cycle life, reliability, and repair and replacement times will be needed for both gaseous and liquid hydrogen fueling station components.

A project team should include multiple stakeholders across industry, academia, and national laboratories.

Hydrogen Fuel-Cell–Powered Port Equipment

The FOA also allocates up to $10 million to support the design, development, and demonstration of hydrogen fuel-cell port equipment, such as cargo-handling equipment or shore power to docked vessels. Of particular interest are designs that offer the potential for significant emission reductions and large-scale offtake of hydrogen that can be replicable across many ports.

A project team should be diverse and include an equipment developer/manufacturer, a hydrogen fuel supplier, a terminal operator at a US port, and a community partner.

Next Steps

Applicants must submit a letter of intent and concept paper by January 26, 2024. Full applications are due by March 22, 2024. EERE expect to release its selection notifications in July 2024, and award notifications are expected to take place between July 2024 and November 2024.

The FOA supports several of the recently announced regional clean hydrogen hubs, which include significant plans for the rollout of MD/HD trucks and buses and the necessary hydrogen infrastructure, such as hydrogen fueling stations.

The FOA is notable as the topics of interest cover a broad range of challenges that hydrogen station developers have been facing when siting and developing hydrogen fueling stations, including the advanced components used to enable gaseous and/or liquid hydrogen fueling, the high flowrates, the durability and reliability of the components, various station performance metrics, siting and permitting challenges, and construction and operational costs.