The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $7 million to four different projects across the U.S. to help develop hydrogen storage technologies to be used in fuel cell electric vehicles.

The three-year projects in California, Oregon and Washington will help lower the costs and increase the performance of hydrogen storage systems by developing new materials and advanced tanks. The investments aim to advance fuel cell technology research to help domestic automakers bring more fuel cell electric vehicles into the mainstream market.

“Targeted investments in cutting-edge hydrogen storage technologies will spur American ingenuity, accelerate breakthroughs and increase our competitiveness in the global clean energy economy,” said Energy Secretary Stephen Chu. “As we focus on energy security, strengthening our portfolio to include domestically produced hydrogen and American made fuel cells for transportation and energy storage applications will create new jobs and reduce carbon pollution.”

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is providing more than $7 million to the selected organizations, which are providing nearly $2 million in cost share. The projects focus on reducing the cost of compressed hydrogen storage, accelerating market availability and adoption.

Fuel Cell Car

The US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy funds will help support research and develop innovated hydrogen storage technology across the U.S. Credit: NAFTC

DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in collaboration with Ford Motor Company, Lincoln Composites, Toray Carbon Fibers America and AOC Inc. will coordinate to reduce the costs associated with compressed hydrogen storage systems.

HRL Laboratories will investigate an approach to hydrogen storage using engineered liquids that can absorb and release hydrogen gas. The $1.2 million project will develop composite materials capable of dissolving up to 50 times greater qualities of hydrogen than the bulk liquid with the goal of enabling a high density compact hydrogen storage option.

DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is partnered with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and General Motors will synthesize novel materials with high hydrogen absorption capacities. They will develop “metal-organic framework” materials that have surfaces allowing high density of hydrogen and materials with pores engineered to enable hydrogen storage at near ambient temperatures.

The University of Oregon, the University of Alabama, DOE’s Pacific National Laboratory and Protonex Technology Corporation will develop new materials to store hydrogen that could enable liquid refueling and regeneration of the hydrogen storage material within temperature and pressure ranges suitable for onboard mobile and stationary fuel cell applications.

As part of DOE’s portfolio of zero-emission electric vehicle technologies that reduce dependence on foreign oil, the innovations achieved through these projects will address technical barriers to storing hydrogen onboard fuel cell electric vehicles. The research could also advance energy storage applications that may enable more efficient use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.

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