DOE to Invest $30 Million in Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

The Department of Energy has announced its intent to invest $30 million to advance fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. Associated projects, subject to appropriations, will leverage national lab consortia launched under DOE’s Energy Materials Network (EMN) this past year and will support President Obama’s Materials Genome Initiative and advanced manufacturing priorities.

“DOE-supported fuel cell and hydrogen research has helped reduce the cost of transportation fuel cells by 50 percent since 2007, by quadrupling durability and reducing the amount of platinum by a factor of five,” says David Friedman, acting assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The announcement coincided with the release of a report showing unprecedented momentum and growth in the fuel cell industry. More than 60,000 fuel cells, totaling roughly 300 megawatts (MW), shipped worldwide in 2015, according to the report, a growth of more than 65 percent compared to 2014.

The report also shows that many 2015 state efforts focused on encouraging the growth of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) on state roadways—particularly in California, where two commercial FCEVs are available to customers (Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell and Toyota Mirai)—as well as the development of hydrogen fueling infrastructure. State efforts in California, Hawaii, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York also included grant funding for station development and rebates for the purchase of FCEVs.

To further support hydrogen and fuel cell innovation, the DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) is partnering with the Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) to develop training modules, including safety and outreach modules, as part of FEMP’s training program. This collaboration will continue to grow FEMP’s diverse offerings of training courses and build on FCTO’s existing outreach efforts to various stakeholders. For example, more than 36,000 emergency responders and code officials have been reached through on-line and in-person trainings. This partnership will allow for broad dissemination of information and increased awareness of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.