The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced approximately $30 million in available funding for research and development (R&D) of low-cost hydrogen production, onboard hydrogen storage and proton exchange membrane fuel cells to advance the widespread commercialization of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
According to the DOE, selected projects will leverage national lab consortia launched under the DOE’s Energy Materials Network (EMN) this past year, in support of the department’s materials research and advanced manufacturing priorities.
The fuel cells market is growing rapidly, as reported, and has seen an annual growth rate of 30% every year since 2010 and $2 billion in annual revenue in 2014. The department notes that light-duty vehicles are an emerging application for fuel cells that already enable 95% lower petroleum consumption per mile than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.
The DOE says applicants to this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will collaborate with national lab consortia launched within the EMN to expedite the development and manufacturing of advanced materials for commercial markets.
The FOA topics include the following:
- PGM-free catalyst and electrode R&D – This topic will leverage the Electrocatalysis Consortium to accelerate the development of catalysts made without platinum group metals for use in fuel cells for transportation.
- Advanced water splitting materials – This topic will leverage the HydroGEN Consortium to accelerate the development of advanced water splitting materials for hydrogen production, with an initial focus on advanced electrolytic, photoelectrochemical and solar thermochemical pathways.
- Hydrogen storage materials discovery – This topic will leverage the Hydrogen Materials-Advanced Research Consortium to address unsolved scientific challenges in the development of viable solid-state materials for hydrogen storage onboard FCEVs.
- Precursor development for low-cost, high-strength carbon fiber for use in composite overwrapped pressure vessel applications – This topic will aim to reduce the cost of onboard hydrogen storage necessary for FCEVs. Applicants for this topic will be encouraged to collaborate with LightMAT, a consortium launched by the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office to enable light-weighting of vehicles through the development of high-strength steels and carbon fiber.
The DOE says concept papers are due Dec. 20, and full applications will be due Feb. 21, 2017.