The US Department of Energy intended to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) early in December 2015 offering up to $ 35 million over several years for various research, demonstration and analytical topics. Most of the effort is focused on hydrogen station cost reduction and improvements in fuel cell performance and durability. The projects would take place over one to five years; with multiple winners contemplated in each area of interest, the average annual federal grant will be relatively small. Here is a list of areas of interest and financial allocations.
• Advanced high temperature water splitting. ($ 5 M over 2-3 years)
• Advanced compression to 875 bar in pursuit of lower cost hydrogen fueling stations. ($ 5 M over 2-3 years)
• Advanced thermal insulation for automotive applications ($ 2 M for 2-3 years)
• Innovative component manufacturing and demonstration. ($ 6 M for 304 years)
• Support for communities seeking to adopt hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. ($ 0.25 M for 1-3 years)
• Additions to existing national lab efforts on fuel cell performance and durability. ($ 6 M for 2-4 years)
• Additions to existing national lab efforts on hydrogen storage. ($ 7 M for 1-3 years)
• Various analyses. ($ 4.5 M for 3-5 years)
More details may be found at https://eere-exchange.energy.gov
This FOA continues a trend in recent years for the DOE hydrogen program to spread its money rather thinly. With about $ 100 million annually the fuel cell office supports programs in 27 states. Projects rarely receive more than $ 3 million from the Fuel Cell Technologies Office. (The Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance, a separate office focusing on SOFC cost reduction, typically grants $5 million or more. Recently it awarded $ 7.5 M each to FuelCell Energy and LG Fuel Cell Systems (see picture) for research into system reliability.
DOE also announced an interest in projects focusing on specialized materials for hydrogen transport and catalysts for fuel cells; DOE is also looking for a company desiring to use a new hydrogen sensor developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory. Funds for these projects are available under the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program, which focuses specifically on helping US small businesses.
Details may be found at www.energy.gov
Author: Robert “Bob” Rose