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.
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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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