There is death. There are taxes. And there is the US Department of Energy (DOE) periodically funding millions of dollars worth of grants towards advancing hydrogen fuel-cell technology. This time, the DOE says it will write checks for $20 million, and the goal is pretty specific: bringing the production and distribution costs of hydrogen to less than the equivalent of $4 a gallon.

The largest of these most recent grants went to the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, HI, which is getting $3 million to develop photoelectrodes for direct solar water splitting. Ponder that concept for a moment. Sandia National Laboratories of Livermore, CA, and University of Colorado, Boulder, will each receive about $2 million for products related to using solar energy to help produce hydrogen. And Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Virginia's Wiretough Cylinders LLC will each get $2 million to develop technology related to hydrogen storage.

The DOE continues to periodically roll out funding to advance hydrogen fuel-cell technology as a viable transportation option for light- and medium-duty vehicles. Last August, the DOE agreed to fund $4.5 million for two projects focused on advanced fuel cell membranes. Last June, the DOE released $9 million worth of grants for advancing fuel-cell technology for medium-duty vehicles. Check out the DOE's most recent press release below.
Show full PR text
Energy Department Invests $20 Million to Advance Hydrogen Production and Delivery Technologies

The Energy Department today announced $20 million for ten new research and development projects that will advance hydrogen production and delivery technologies. Developing technologies that can economically produce and deliver hydrogen to power fuel cells from diverse, domestic, and renewable resources can enable substantial reductions in energy use and carbon emissions. Advancing these technologies will be critical to the widespread commercialization of fuel cell electric vehicles and other fuel cell technologies.

The six hydrogen production R&D projects selected today aim to produce, deliver, and dispense hydrogen at less than $4 per gallon gasoline equivalent:
  • FuelCell Energy Inc. of Danbury, Connecticut will receive $900,000 to develop a novel hybrid system for low-cost, low greenhouse gas hydrogen production.
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of Richland, Washington will receive $2.2 million to develop a reactor for hydrogen production from bio-derived liquids.
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory of Golden, Colorado will receive $3 million to develop high-efficiency tandem absorbers based on novel semiconductor materials that can produce hydrogen from water using solar energy.
  • University of Hawaii of Honolulu, Hawaii will receive $3 million to develop photoelectrodes for direct solar water splitting.
  • Sandia National Laboratories of Livermore, California will receive $2.2 million to develop an innovative high-efficiency solar thermochemical reactor for solar hydrogen production.
  • University of Colorado, Boulder of Boulder, Colorado will receive $2 million to develop a novel solar-thermal reactor to split water with concentrated sunlight.
The four hydrogen delivery R&D projects aim to reach the hydrogen cost goal of less than $4 per gallon by addressing the cost of compression, storage, and dispensing at the station:
  • Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio, Texas will receive $1.8 million to demonstrate a hydrogen compression system.
  • Nuvera Fuel Cells Inc. of Billerica, Massachusetts will receive $1.5 million to design and demonstrate an integrated, intelligent high pressure hydrogen dispenser for fuel cell electric vehicle fueling.
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory of Oak Ridge, Tennessee will receive $2 million to demonstrate a low cost, steel concrete composite vessel for high pressure hydrogen storage.
  • Wiretough Cylinders LLC of Bristol, Virginia will receive $2 million to demonstrate a low cost high pressure hydrogen storage vessel using a steel wire overwrap.
Find additional information on the Energy Department's broader efforts to develop affordable, efficient fuel cell and hydrogen technologies on EERE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cells page.


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  • 93 Comments
      CaptTesla
      • 4 Months Ago
      Funny. And the oil companies that are now reaching into hydrogen stations will make it $10-12 gallon.
      Joeviocoe
      • 4 Months Ago
      Basically, there will be a dichotomy for Hydrogen... where advocates speak highly of the creating H2 from renewable sources... but on the other hand, work to produce it cheaply.. and thus, use only Natural Gas. Right now, in SF, where gasoline is usually $4 / gallon.... the only H2 station here sells for $12 / kg.
      Luciano
      • 4 Months Ago
      Let me see if I get it: We use solar power to generate electricity, which will split water molecules to generate hydrogen, which will have to be compressed to thousands of psi, which will have to be stored in bulletproof tanks, which will go into a fuel cell, which will generate electricity, which will then spin an electric motor? Did I miss anything?
        Letstakeawalk
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Luciano
        "We use solar power to generate electricity..." You've gone off the rails already, misunderstanding what they're attempting to do. The panels split water directly into hydrogen. They do not output electricity in any usable form. http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/03/f12/pec_technoeconomic_analysis.pdf Depending on the specific setup, they estimate hydrogen production in the $1.60/kg to $10/kg range.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          " It might be a great thing in the future..." Hence the article about the DoE giving a $3 million grant to continue the research.
          Sean
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Panels that split water directly is not a proven technology. It has only been done with extremely expensive and short lived cells achieving efficiencies that are still worse than standard solar and electrolysis. It might be a great thing in the future, but I think its more likely to be abandoned.
        Neil Blanchard
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Luciano
        The big thing you missed is transporting hydrogen; which will be a big expensive thing to do - if it is even possible to do so at scale.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Neil Blanchard
          Which is why the nat gas grid needs to be overhauled, and might as well simply be improved to hydrogen spec. Would you rather leave the old, leaky pipelines in place?
          CoolWaters
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Neil Blanchard
          The nat gas pipelines leak likes sieves, can you imagine the losses for Hydrogen? At least 2X greater.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Neil Blanchard
          Hydrogen has been transported in large volumes via pipelines since the 1930's. Not difficult to do. Especially as the nat gas grid is updated over time, and upgraded to carry hydrogen in the same grid.
        paulwesterberg
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Luciano
        Most of the cheap hydrogen will be made from natural gas.
        CaptTesla
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Luciano
        You forgot to mention the Big Oil companies that are now involved with hydrogen production and will make a fillup the same price as filling up an ICE car.
      RC
      • 10 Months Ago
      What a joke! Our Government funding yet another monopoly.
        CoolWaters
        • 4 Months Ago
        @RC
        Exxactly! Exxon should be funding this ITSELF, or is CAPITALISM TOO HARD.
      Marco Polo
      • 4 Months Ago
      The US DOE, like other government around the world is keenly interested in the feasibility of H2 as a gasoline/diesel replacement. Indeed, governments are the third big stakeholders in the HFCV/H2 industry after the Auto-makers and the H2 providers. At $4 per gallon, given the greater fuel efficiency of Fuel cells over ICE, this represents an effective $2 per gallon pump price. (plenty of scope for taxes). HFCV technology is slowly reaching the criteria established by the stakeholders some years ago. Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, VW and other car makers, have all expresses cautious confidence of being able to mass produce HFCV's with less than a 10% price premium over the equivalent ICE model, by the end of this decade, the potential for HFCV technology is becoming more viable on a global scale. This doesn't herald the end for EV cars, and two-wheel bikes, but it may herald the end of gasoline and diesel and it's replacement by H2. At the moment, none of the newer technologies have made any significant inroads as replacement fuel, for the worlds 1billion plus road vehicles. Sales of alternate fuelled vehicles, even including LPG and CNG, remain, at less than 2-3% of all new vehicles. Idealism is all very well, but it's self interest and the ability to access, and co-ordinate to colossal amounts of capital and resources that effects change on a global scale. The HFCV stakeholders, possess the capital and resources, it's just the self-interest that hasn't yet reached a state of urgency, that spurs action. While the market remains strong for vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel, the HFCV stakeholders are content to continue investing in relatively small scale, experimental manufacture, continually improving and developing all aspect of HFCV Technology.
        Joeviocoe
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Marco Polo
        --"At $4 per gallon, given the greater fuel efficiency of Fuel cells over ICE, this represents an effective $2 per gallon pump price." How many programs and how much taxpayer money has been thrown at Petroleum companies to encourage lower gasoline prices over the decade? We Americans have literally sold ourselves to our dependency on Oil.. just to keep cheap gasoline flowing... while most nations do not. Hydrogen is going to be another dependency. A dependency on another Fossil Fuel. You rail against Ethanol... yet you don't see what is happening here in the States. The Natural Gas providers want to be the next Welfare Industry in constant need for subsidy just to keep "prices low" for consumers. We are going to be doomed to repeat the same mistakes we have made.
          offib
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          That quote there uptop. Hyundai's Tuscon FCEV gets 50 MPGe on average, half that of EVs. So you're paying the price of petrol for a car that's as efficeint as a car (hybrid) running on petrol but paying for the price that's more than trice the price of the petrol car that has the same performance. And I hear that EVs fail to return their investment?
      • 4 Months Ago
      http://www.altenergymag.com/news/2014/07/03/carbon-emissions-are-necessary-for-seawater-acidification-to-produce-cheap-hydrogen/33897 $ 4 or $ .30, I think $ .30 will win.
      Bernard
      • 4 Months Ago
      What a waste.
      Joeviocoe
      • 4 Months Ago
      The US DOE, (for those of us who actually live here), like other governments around the world is keenly influenced by big monied lobbyists and continue to hype H2 even as BEVs and PHEVs are proving to be viable as a gasoline/diesel replacement. Indeed, governments are ensuring taxpayer money is the third big stakeholders in the HFCV/H2 industry after the Auto-makers and the H2 providers. HFCV technology is slowly reaching the technical criteria established by the lobbyists some years ago, but have ignored the criteria of consumer demand and have only built a few H2 stations. Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, VW and other car makers, have stated that they are able to mass produce HFCV's with less than a 10% price premium over the equivalent ICE model, by the end of this decade, if only they could somehow sell 500,000 per year each... yet have ACTUALLY developed or produced BEVs much cheaper already in the first few years... than any FCV in development. The potential for HFCV technology is becoming more desperate on a global scale now that BEVs and PHEVs have become popular. At the moment, EVs and PHEVs have made any significant inroads as replacement fuel, achieving over 1 billion plus road miles only in its first few years of commercial availability..
        Marco Polo
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        @ Joeviocoe Like many idealists, you know what you dislike, but have no realistic plan for any substitute, except pipe dreams. EV's including PHEV's , have not made "significant " inroads, affecting the global sales of motor vehicles !! Sales are insignificant, (less than 1%) and completely restricted to those nations with heavy government incentives and subsidies. You seem to have lost yourself in the foggy realm of conspiracy and and weird reasoning. Governments are not the third big Stakeholder in the HFCV industry because of the actions of sinister lobbyists, or any other such silliness ! The reason all governments have a stake in the success of the HFCV/H2 industry is because it's business model is not economically disruptive, and ensure the government continues to receive the highly lucrative tax on the pump price. There are other economic benefits as well. Restructuring and establishing new infrastructure will create a domestic economic boom, while the retirement/pension/superannuation industry will continue to be funded by the same enterprises as currently fund that segment of the western economy. It doesn't need lobbyists to point out to governments where their best interests lie ! The US government, like most governments, is investing to preserve a large part of the existing economy. Apart from a few idealists, no one cares about unworkable, purist, concepts,( however morally virtuous) In the end, it just comes down to what' the most economically expedient. Maybe not the best solution, . but the most politically acceptable. While gasoline/diesel and ICE products are still profitable, the stakeholders have no interest in catering to any consumer demand for any other product. HFCV stakeholders, are not really concerned with EV and PHEV's which occupy less that 1% of the market, and even less if the subsidies were removed. That's the real world, beyond the comments section of ABG, where 0.05% is considered game changing "significant".
          Marco Polo
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @Joeviocoe Why continue to simply refuse to consider any scenario but your own, based on nothing but prejudice. Your answer to everything, is "if it hasn't been done, it can't and won't be done" ! I have already carefully explained that there's no advantage for HFCV/EV stakeholders to rush into mass production, not while demand for gasoline/diesel and ICE vehicles remains strong and profitable. The idea of urgency, is a within fantasy perception of your own making ! EV technology presents no immediate threat. Sales would have to reach more than 4 million per year to create any real concern. That's just not happening. My reference to "The auto-makers (and their allies) don't need to be concerned about "public acceptance". " wasn't concerning one company, but referring to every manufacturer (of any size) and governments, co-operating to promote HFCV/H2 adoption on a global scale. If that occurred, it would be very hard for any other technology to compete. EV's etc, may not disappear, but their market segment wouldn't exceed 2-4% on a global level. HFCV?H2 isn't being developed as a competitor to EV's, but as a global, industry-wide, replacement 'fuel' for gasoline/diesel. Nor does the very real political and logistical potential for HFCV/H2 to prove viable guarantee it's success. A radical breakthrough in ESD technology could create a whole new dynamic. But you can''t just bury your head in the sand, crying that something won't happen just because you don't want it to happen. Joe,I know this is hard for you accept, but before I make an assessment I sit down and carefully consider both sides of any proposition. I don't just desperately try to refute, or dismiss, any factors that may contradict what I want to happen. I see a serious coalition of the world's largest, and more importantly, richest corporations, backed by governments with strong vested interests, investing billions in researching and developing a potential replacement for gasoline/diesel. I can see how the potential capital investment can be easily recouped, and profits generated from building infrastructure. I can understand why governments and economists would eagerly cooperate, and support such an industry. I can also understand why there's no great hurry, as gasoline/diesel and ICE are still doing fine. It's not hard to understand why the overwhelming majority of Joe Public would be confident to switch to an HFCV. Joe Public sees H2 as just switching to a cheaper cleaner 'fuel', with the same convenience factor as his existing vehicle. He will be encouraged by the new 'fuel' also powering ships, submarines buses, trucks, farm machines, etc. The new "fuel" will be sold globally, by long established, trusted brand names. That's a formidable scenario.
          Joeviocoe
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          --"Now you're just ranting ! " Actually, I am quoting everything you are saying and responding. A "rant" would be a long diatribe posted on the root thread, which does not address other commentators at all, but instead serves as a monologue of sorts. That is YOU.
          Joeviocoe
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          --"EV technology presents no immediate threat. Sales would have to reach more than 4 million per year to create any real concern. That's just not happening." Where did you pull that number from? Out of the same orifice that you pulled out that infamous "Shell Criteria" that you have been claiming until you were called out for making things up? --"EV's etc, may not disappear, but their market segment wouldn't exceed 2-4% on a global level. " Again, how do you figure? ----------- Still unanswered assumptions.
          Joeviocoe
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          --" based on nothing but prejudice. " Pre? We've been discussing this for years... with all sorts of new information and opinions being formed. If you don't know what the word "prejudice" means, maybe you shouldn't throw that word around. --"already carefully explained that there's no advantage for HFCV/EV stakeholders to rush into mass production" Over the last two decades, their lack of 'rushing' is why nobody cares about hydrogen anymore, and the reason why people are tired of spending money on something that is not happening. --"EV technology presents no immediate threat. Sales would have to reach more than 4 million per year to create any real concern. That's just not happening." Where did you pull that number from? Out of the same orifice that you pulled out that infamous "Shell Criteria" that you have been claiming until you were called out for making things up? --"EV's etc, may not disappear, but their market segment wouldn't exceed 2-4% on a global level. " Again, how do you figure? --" A radical breakthrough in ESD technology could create a whole new dynamic. " And would you consider 10% increase in energy density every year, and 10% reduction in price every year... "a breakthrough", if you were asked in 5 years to count the cumulative gains??? Or will you feign surprise that batteries advanced so quickly? --"before I make an assessment I sit down and carefully consider both sides of any proposition." Yet, you ignore so many considerations that fly in the face of so many Hydrogen claims. 2015 is getting close, and you are holding onto the hype with increasing desparation.
          Marco Polo
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @Joeviocoe You keep on insisting that the experiences of EV adoption will apply to HFCV's, but they won't ! Once (and when ) the stakeholders decide the time is opportune to roll out H2 infrastructure, it will be accomplised on an international scale. The H2 providers will replicate the service station business model, but on a more modern scale. Governments will facilitate the roll out by easing regulations and providing incentives. The H2 providers are probably the only corporations on the planet with the logistics, resources and capital to accomplish such a task, profitably. The Auto-makers, will simply offer a plethora of attractive, discounted, HFC models, while withdrawing and discouraging ICE competitors. This will be doubly possible because the other stakeholders will subsidise the initial offerings, while diluting support for other technologies. The auto-makers (and their allies) don't need to be concerned about "public acceptance". they can simply "rig' the market The H2 industry can afford to invest vast sums in infrastructure because the cost can be ameliorated over decades, while the asset wealth created increases, (even before the first H2 kg is pumped). These are the realities of modern business, and economies. There comes a point where hating large multi-national corporations, out of moral principle, and denying their ability to accomplish large scale projects, just gets silly, and loses all reality. HFCV technology doesn't need advocates, or idealistic passionate enthusiasts to encourage adoption. Unlike EV's, there will be no "heroic pioneer" stage, no Elon Musks, no EVsuperheros, just the combination of huge corporate investment, and government co-ordination. No one will ask, or even care, about your opinion. Oh, the PR machine will go through the motion, just to smooth the way, but there will be little opposition, when there are no options. If it happens, it won't be very democratic, nor idealistic, not even very moral. Just business.
          Marco Polo
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ Joeviocoe, Now you're just ranting ! " nobody cares about hydrogen anymore, and the reason why people are tired of spending money on something that is not happening " ! A few anti-HFCV hysterics on the internet doesn't qualify as "everyone" ! But that's really your problem, you judge the whole world through the prism of your own little paranoia. There's no "winning or losing'' in these discussions. We are not decision makers. Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Mercedes, BMW, VW, aren't going to read your little posts, and say "hey, there's a guy here calling himself Joeviocoe, and he says we might be wrong, so lets just give up, and tell all those thousands of engineers and scientists, they've been wasting their time !" No one but you is desperate ! The HFCV/H2 stakeholders don't really give a damn about your opinion. 2015, means nothing to them. They're a coalition of some of the most powerful corporations on the planet, backed by national governments. They will proceed at their own speed, and to the dictates of their own agenda. Just because you don't like something, doesn't mean it won't occur. Likewise, just because you believe in something, doesn't mean it will occur. I have no real idea, if HFCV/H2 will become a prevailing technology in road transport, but it has too much going for it to be simply dismissed as a possibility.
          Joeviocoe
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          --"You keep on insisting that the experiences of EV adoption will apply to HFCV's, but they won't !" No, I'm insisting that FCV's adoption will continue to be worse than that of EVs.. and the History of the past 15 - 20 years have already proven that. --"Once (and when ) the stakeholders decide the time is opportune to roll out H2 infrastructure, it will be accomplised on an international scale." You've got no evidence that any "stakeholder" is willing to pay for that. Only taxpayer money is being seriously spent... and that isn't sustainable, not even in California. --"The H2 providers are probably the only corporations on the planet with the logistics, resources and capital to accomplish such a task, profitably." Reality differs from that theory. If they were able to be profitable, they would have built it themselves... but they are demanding US taxpayers pay. --"The Auto-makers, will simply offer a plethora of attractive, discounted, HFC models, while withdrawing and discouraging ICE competitors." What are you smoking? So far every FCV has been lackluster and $144,000 and $78,000 USD even in their home markets of Korea or Japan. You've got no evidence this is happening. Just hype on paper. --"The auto-makers (and their allies) don't need to be concerned about "public acceptance". " Famous last words from a company about to go bankrupt.... unless of course Governments are using taxpayer money to provide welfare to that company for as long as they keep making promises. --"The H2 industry can afford to invest vast sums in infrastructure" Again, reality is... they ain't.
          Joeviocoe
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          --"affecting the global sales of motor vehicles !! Sales are insignificant, (less than 1%) and completely restricted to those nations with heavy government incentives and subsidies." EV/PHEV Sales are growing at pace faster than hybrids first grew. The first 3 years of an exponential growth will of course be a small percentage. Are you seriously thinking that FCVs have better sales potential in other nations, which CANNOT afford any new Infrastructure??? --"It doesn't need lobbyists to point out to governments where their best interests lie ! " Hilarious. LOL.
      • 4 Months Ago
      Last week in Schleswig-Holstein, Northern Germany, scientists gathered at the Ninth International Hydrail Conference to discuss advances in hydrogen hybrid (fuel cell+ batteries) railway technology—hydrail. Trains have always predated personal vehicles in propulsion innovation; steam: 1830s, diesel: 1920s. Rail vehicles face none of the ubiquity problems that impede the advent of new automotive power plants—market introduction, maintenance, refueling. Hydrail is a US, Congress-funded invention. The biggest fuel cell device ever to move on land has been quietly switching BNSF reight at the Port of Los Angeles since 2009. If the question is understood to be "how can hydrogen move goods and people" instead of "how can we fuel cars" the answer is simpler and comes much, much sooner. The latest Secretary of Transportation comes from the city where the first International Hydrail Conference was held and where the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is already collaborating with the Birmingham [UK] Centre for Railway Research and Education on formation of the first advanced railway technology school in the western hemisphere. Don't assume DOE's H2 vision is highway-specific.
      Smurf
      • 4 Months Ago
      While not as quickly as we would like, we continue to see progress in Hydrogen development. As long as we don't use Hydrogen as an excuse not develop other alternative fuel options, I see know reason why we shouldn't continue to fund research for Hydrogen development, especially research that has a target goal of reducing Hydrogen production costs...
      jebibudala
      • 4 Months Ago
      What kind of MPG does the typical fuel cell vehicle get? Hopefully they get 100 MPG, because that'll justify the $4/gal cost. Otherwise people will continue to buy hybrids and micro engined cars that get 50MPG already.
        offib
        • 4 Months Ago
        @jebibudala
        The Hyundai FCEV that was released recently gets an average of 50 MPGe. While good for a hybrid car, it's hopeless for an electric car which typically get more than twoce that. The closest vehicle is the Fisker Karma which gets an average MPGe in the high 50s.
        Joeviocoe
        • 4 Months Ago
        @jebibudala
        Well, about 2 times more efficient than the non-hybrid ICE equivalent.
        Marco Polo
        • 4 Months Ago
        @jebibudala
        @ jebibudala HFCV's are 2-3 times more efficient than the equivalent ICE vehicle.
      Vince
      • 10 Months Ago
      This is really easy to meet: simply put 20 million into a savings bank, and wait for someone to fill a hydrogen car. when a clarity driver comes into the H station, fill it up for $80, rush down the bank, pull $40 out of the bank and give it back to the Clarity driver, repeat until the money is exhausted. this makes more sense than what they think they can achieve. Vince
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