Some might say $9 million is a drop in the zero-emission bucket when it comes to federal funding of hydrogen fuel-cell advancements, but it does beat a sharp stick in the eye.

The US Department of Energy has announced a $9-million grant that will be directed towards speeding up hydrogen fuel-cell technology, which some view as the best of all worlds because it allows gas-tank-type mileage ranges for vehicles without the harmful local emissions (fuel-cell vehicles emit water vapor).

Specifically, the grant will be earmarked for technologies that advance drivetrain technology for medium-duty trucks, cut costs for refueling components and speed up rooftop installations for hydrogen fuel-cell backup power systems.

Toyota and Hyundai are among the automakers that plan to debut production fuel cell vehicles in the US by 2015. Earlier this month, Hyundai delivered its first 15 Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles (which will be known as the Tucson Fuel Cell when it arrives in the US) to the city of Copenhagen. And earlier this year, Automotive News estimated that Toyota has brought down the per-vehicle cost for its fuel cell vehicles to between $50,000 and $100,000.

Check out the DOE's press release below.
Show full PR text
Energy Department Announces $9 Million to Advance Cost-Effective Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies
June 11, 2013

In support of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Energy Department today announced up to $9 million in new funding to accelerate the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies for use in vehicles, backup power systems, and hydrogen refueling components. These investments will strengthen U.S. leadership in cost-effective hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and help industry bring these technologies into the marketplace at lower cost.

Projects selected for funding will demonstrate, deploy, and validate hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in real-world environments. These efforts aim to reduce the costs of hydrogen and fuel cells industry-wide, expand critical infrastructure, and build a solid domestic supplier base. Selected projects will represent a wide variety of applications with potential for widespread commercialization. Topics areas include:

Fuel cell hybrid electric medium-duty trucks: Projects selected in this topic area will support the development and deployment of on-board fuel cell hybrid-powered class 3-6 medium-duty electric trucks to substantially increase driving range, cut petroleum consumption and related emissions, and increase the viability of these electric drive vehicles.
Advanced hydrogen refueling components: Projects selected under this topic area will demonstrate and validate the durability and performance of hydrogen refueling components in real-world operating environments.
Rooftop installations of hydrogen fuel cell backup power systems: Projects selected under this topic area will focus on demonstrating the viability of fuel cell-powered rooftop backup power systems.
Hydrogen meter R&D: Projects under this topic area will support the development of highly accurate meters used to measure the mass of dispensed hydrogen fuel.

The Energy Department will make available up to $9 million for up to eight projects from industry, academia, and national labs. More information, application requirements, and instructions can be found on the EERE Funding Opportunity Exchange website.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.


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  • 19 Comments
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      WTF is a 'bloom box?'
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        http://www.bloomenergy.com/ It's a SOFC. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom_Energy_Server
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      How many solar/wind powered supercharger or SAE/CHAdeMO fast chargers could be built inbetween cities for this money? That would actually produce something real and tangible that does reduce pollution.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        There's a different part(s) of the DoE that hands out money for battery research. Battery research is not being neglected: http://energy.gov/public-services/vehicles/batteries http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/technologies/energy_storage/ http://www.alabc.org/publications/blog/doe-embraces-201cbeyond-lithium-ion201d-strategy-for-advanced-battery-development As far as installing a charger network, that's the cheap part. Thousands already exist, and more are being every day. Heck, Tesla's Supercharger's actually make a profit for the company's bottom line by selling excess electrons back to the grid.
          archos
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Thats not what Ryan asked. Why isn't this money going to something real and tangible. We don't have money to waste on vaporware. There is no realistic expectation of FCVs coming out in big numbers for the foreseeable future. This is a waste of money.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      @bluepongo1 What's that ? $9m spent having a party in unoccupied desert areas ? A brilliant idea ! Bluepongo, you're a legend ! Mate, just name the date and Ezee and I will be there! :)
      raktmn
      • 2 Years Ago
      So are the rooftop units like Bloom boxes? http://www.bloomenergy.com/ Those things hands-down beat the heck out of the current industry standard for backup electric generators; the diesel backup generator. But what would the point be of taking natural gas, reforming it into hydrogen, then feeding it into a Bloom box style device? The Bloom box already accomplish the same thing without going through the painful process of converting the natural gas to hydrogen and transporting the hydrogen.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @raktmn
        There are different kinds of fuel cells, and Bloom Boxes are what would generally be referred to as SOFCs, and are capable of consuming natural gas and other hydrogen-rich fuels. They are certainly a very efficient way of generating clean electricity, and are the basis of a hugely growing market segment for stationary power generation. I agree that natural gas powered fuel cells are likely a better choice, however, there is always a possibility that the end user might prefer to use hydrogen - either delivered or made on-site - as an energy storage medium. It is theoretically foreseeable that a local natural gas supply might be interrupted, and the only way to maintain operating power would be to deliver hydrogen in some form. The request is not about demonstrating whether or not hydrogen is a better fuel than natural gas; the request is to study how a roof-mounted hydrogen fuel cell might be properly serviced and maintained.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "Topic 3: Demonstration and Case Study for Rooftop Installations of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Backup Power Systems Topic 3 will develop a case study for roof-top installations of fuel cell powered back-up power systems that refuel from the ground. The process of obtaining access to the building, interacting with code officials, obtaining required permits, design considerations, and operation and maintenance will be documented as a case study for informing future siting of backup power systems. The case study is to address methods for reducing the cost of installation such as including the use of components that can be installed without the use of a crane; the use of light-weight composite tanks to reduce the roof load or provide greater energy capacity of the system; specific designs used for the use of permanently installed hydrogen piping and appropriate remote-controlled valves and service-point valves that allow for the convenient ground-level refueling of the system from hydrogen delivery vehicles; the safety considerations made in the installation and operation of the system; operational and maintenance logs for the system or systems covering several backup power events; and how the costs of installation and operations compare to appropriate baseline business cases, including both standard ground installations and other rooftop installations with conventional technology (i.e. diesel or batteries). The study should include the deployment and demonstration of one or several fuel cell backup power systems, or rely on existing or modified installations. Within maximum project funding available from DOE, the DOE seeks to maximize the variety of specific measures studied to accommodate the roof-top installation or the variety of site-specific conditions that may impact the installation and operation of roof-top installations. The hydrogen delivery tanks for various truck platforms will not be considered in this topic, but it is possible that hydrogen delivery approaches/advances could be validated under Topic 2 above. Recipients under this topic will be required to report data to NREL including but not limited to applicable data fields in Appendix F. Specific data will be negotiated prior to award. The data must be submitted at least as frequently as quarterly." https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/FileContent.aspx?FileID=546365fb-b79b-4274-b7d9-b08d9caa78e9
      Actionable Mango
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let's save a lot time. Joeviocoe: Hydrogen will never happen. DaveMart: Hydrogen is totally going to happen. Giza: Evil and corrupt waste of money and time.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Generalization, but accurate.... LOL ... I actually have no qualms with 9 Million in grants to R&D spread out across multiple projects. I think it is a good idea. What I am against is very specific regarding Infrastructure 'building' and highly politicized.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Politicized? That will always happen. This is why when they build a fighter jet, it gets built in all 50 states. Each politician will want something prior to voting on it.
        bluepongo1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        LOL!! you forgot Grendal: something insightful Marco: TL;DR EZEE : something funny ME: That $9m would have been better spent having a party & telling people about solar/ steam turbines in the unoccupied desert areas ( and BEV's ).
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @bluepongo1
          Dammit now I a trying to think of something funny and I can't....yet, I am laughing as I type this! Marco! Something insightful...quick! :D
          bluepongo1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @bluepongo1
          Lulz, Lets do this... as long as I can have a Dom Perignon shower after the caviar fight and nobody brings up religion, politics, and petrol it's all good; The Great Gatsby ain't got nuthin' on me !!! Seriously, I would party with any ABG regulars... AB not so much.
      skierpage
      • 2 Years Ago
      This DoE money is going where it has a more realistic chance of success than HFCV cars. Class 3-6 is Ford F350 to biggest medium-duty truck (26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating). H2 from a central depot and perhaps refueling on well-traveled routes makes a lot of sense. Meanwhile "Smith Electric Vehicles just announced that its production total to date is over 700 units of its electric Newton trucks and Edison vans." It doesn't sound like they're doing very well. It'll be interesting to see how the costs compare if and when HFCV medium-duty trucks come to market.
        Dave
        • 2 Years Ago
        @skierpage
        "This DoE money is going where it has a more realistic chance of success than HFCV cars. Class 3-6 is Ford F350 to biggest medium-duty truck (26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating). " http://www.visionmotorcorp.com/tyrano.asp
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          Came upon this other Class 8 carrier: http://tts-i.com/news/articles/hydrogen-fuel-cells-2013.html
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          It is the success of the Class 8 fuel cell trucks (like the Vision Tyrano) that has motivated the DoE to investigate similar fuel cell hybrid systems in other truck classes.
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