Fuel Cell Technologies Office Newsletter: February 2013

The February issue of the Fuel Cell Technologies Office newsletter includes stories in these categories:

In the News

Energy Department Announces New Investment to Advance Cost-Competitive Hydrogen Fuel

On February 14, the Energy Department announced a $1 million investment to analyze and evaluate potential cost-competitive pathways for producing and transporting hydrogen fuel. The project selected—led by Strategic Analysis, Inc. in Arlington, Virginia—will identify cost-effective and efficient materials and processes to produce hydrogen from renewable energy sources. This investment supports the Energy Department's broader goal to achieve $2 to $4 per gallon gasoline equivalent (gge) of hydrogen fuel by 2020.

Automotive Fuel Cell Cost and Durability Target Request For Information Issued

On February 4, the Fuel Cell Technologies Office issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking feedback from stakeholders regarding proposed cost and durability targets for fuel cells designed for automotive applications. The proposed cost target is $40/kW for automotive fuel cell systems and the proposed durability target is 5,000 hours, which corresponds to approximately 150,000 miles. For details, see the RFI announcement for DE-FOA-0000855. Comments must be provided by no later than 11:59 PM EDT on April 1, 2013.

Fueling the Next Generation of Vehicle Technology

A story about an EERE staff member's visit to the world's first tri-generation facility in Fountain Valley, California, is currently posted on the Energy Department's blog. The facility uses fuel cells and biogas from the Orange County Sanitation District's wastewater treatment plant to produce heat, electricity, and hydrogen for a nearby fueling station. For more information about the tri-generation facility, read the Fueling the Next Generation of Vehicle Technology blog entry.

Webinars and Workshops

Increase Your H2IQ

Upcoming Webinar March 12: Testing Oxygen Reduction Reaction Activity with the Rotating Disc Electrode Technique

The Energy Department will present a live webinar on March 12, 2013, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. EDT, highlighting the use of the rotating disc electrode (RDE) technique to measure oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity in fuel cell applications. Attempts have been made to establish standard procedures and measurement parameters for the RDE technique so that novel catalysts can be benchmarked for ORR activity versus an accepted Pt/C baseline for polymer electrolyte fuel cell applications. A review of recent literature shows that the determination of the ORR activity is plagued with intricacies that have not been systemically cataloged resulting in values for the mass activity of Pt/C that vary by a factor of as much as two. The webinar will address these issues, and introduce a tentative set of testing parameters to allow for RDE experiments to result in reproducible ORR activity and durability values. Register to attend the webinar.

Webinar: Hydrogen Refueling Protocols

The Energy Department conducted a live webinar on Friday, February 22, highlighting fuel cell electric vehicle hydrogen refueling protocols. This webinar presented the current refueling methods, including the TIR guideline SAE TIR J2601, which was developed using OEM hydrogen storage systems and third-party laboratory testing. The guideline establishes a table-based approach which allows all OEMs to safely fuel vehicles within a few minutes. Slides and a recording of the webinar are now available.

Webinar: Advanced Electrocatalysts for PEM Fuel Cells

On February 12, the Energy Department presented a live webinar highlighting Argonne National Laboratory's (ANL's) development of advanced electrocatalysts for PEM fuel cells, including rational design and synthesis of materials for cathodes. Materials development, based on fundamental principles, is used to produce Pt-Skin structures with unique nanosegregated compositional profiles for electrodes that meet the demanding performance requirements of automotive applications. Slides and a recording of the webinar are now available.

Visit our website to see webinar archives or workshop presentations.

Studies, Reports, and Publications

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Accomplishments and Progress

EERE-funded efforts have reduced the cost of automotive fuel cells from $275/kW in 2002 to $47/kW in 2012—more than 80%. See this and other recent accomplishments in this updated fact sheet.

Visit our website to access technical information about hydrogen and fuel cells. This information is provided in documents such as technical and project reports, conference proceedings and journal articles, technical presentations, and links to other websites.

National Laboratory and Principal Investigator Achievements

Changes at NREL

Earlier this month Keith Wipke was appointed to the position of Laboratory Program Manager for the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies Program at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). In his 20-year career at NREL, Keith has been responsible for approximately $40 million in funding for fuel cell and vehicle research and analysis, including testing, simulating, and evaluating hybrid and fuel cell electric vehicles. Congratulations!


Jennifer Kurtz, a fuel cell expert at NREL, talked to NPR about using renewable energy to power fuel cell electric vehicles. Listen to the story.