Fuel Cell Technologies Office Newsletter: March 2013

The March 2013 issue of the Fuel Cell Technologies Office newsletter includes stories in these categories:

In the News

Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Part of the Blueprint for a Clean and Secure Energy Future

On March 16 President Obama visited Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois to talk about his Blueprint for a Clean and Secure Energy Future and the progress that we are seeing from the "all-of-the-above" energy strategy. While there, he unveiled his plans for an Energy Security Trust that focuses on developing cost-effective transportation alternatives, including hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Readiness Request For Information Issued

The Fuel Cell Technologies Office has issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking feedback from stakeholders regarding technology validation and deployment activities aimed at ensuring commercial readiness and stimulating commercialization of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. For details, see the RFI announcement for DE-FOA-0000873. Comments must be provided by April 10.

Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative

On March 26, the Energy Department launched the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI), a new Department initiative focused on growing American manufacturing of clean energy products and boosting U.S. competitiveness through major improvements in manufacturing energy productivity. The announcement was made at the ribbon cutting of the Department's Carbon Fiber Technology Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a new advanced manufacturing facility to reduce the cost of carbon fiber—a critical material for efficient lightweight vehicles, like FCEVs.

Energy Department, Treasury Announce Availability of $150 Million in Tax Credits for Clean Energy Manufacturers

The DOE and the Department of Treasury recently announced the availability of $150 million in Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for clean energy and energy efficiency manufacturing projects across the United States. The program supports manufacturing of a range of clean energy products, from renewable energy equipment to energy efficiency products to advanced energy storage and carbon capture technology. A full list of eligible projects can be found in the 48C Manufacturing Tax Credit fact sheet and includes fuel cell technologies. The application period for certification began on February 7, 2013, and ends on July 23, 2013.

SBIR/STTR Phase I Release 3 Award Winners Announced, Hydrogen Storage and Fuel Cell Manufacturing Projects Included

The FY 2012 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I Release 3 award winners include three hydrogen and fuel cell projects. The companies are Composite Technology Development in Colorado, Nextgen Aeronautics in California, and Treadstone Technologies in New Jersey.

Women @ Energy Features

Fuel cell technologies were represented in celebration of Women's History Month, through DOE's recently launched new feature – Women at Energy – showcasing talented and dedicated employees at the Energy Department who work to change the world—ensuring America's security and prosperity through transformative science and technology solutions. Women @ Energy profiles individuals, like Fuel Cell Technologies Office Director Sunita Satyapal, who share insights on what inspired them to work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), what excites them about their work at the Energy Department, and what we can do to engage more underrepresented groups in STEM.

Webinars and Workshops

Increase Your H2IQ

Upcoming Webinar April 16: Automotive and MHE Fuel Cell System Cost Analysis

The Energy Department will present a live webinar on April 16, 2013, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. EDT, that gives an overview of automotive and material handling equipment (MHE) fuel cell system cost analyses, with presentations by Strategic Analysis, Inc. and Battelle Memorial Institute. The webinar will provide an overview of Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) techniques and will outline the basic steps and guiding principles of DFMA cost analysis, show how it can be used to refine system design and select manufacturing process, and how it can be beneficially applied to both early-stage, conceptual concepts as well as late-stage, fully-defined systems. For material handling equipment applications, the presentation will describe the cost analysis approach; the design of the system, design assumptions, and manufacturing processes modeled using the DFMA software; costs of the system, sub-system, and specific components; the main cost drivers identified through a sensitivity analysis; and a summary of opportunities for cost reduction. Feedback on analyses and assumptions may be provided through the webinar. Register to attend.

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

The Energy Department presented a live webinar on March 12 highlighting the use of the rotating disc electrode (RDE) technique to measure oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity in fuel cell applications. A review of recent literature shows that the determination of the ORR activity has numerous intricacies that have not been systemically cataloged, resulting in values for the mass activity of Pt/C that vary significantly. Next steps will be 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. The webinar addressed these issues, and introduced a tentative set of testing parameters to allow for RDE experiments to result in reproducible ORR activity and durability values. Slides and a recording of the webinar are now available.

Visit our website to see webinar archives or workshop presentations.

Studies, Reports, and Publications

New Report Analyzes Options for Blending Hydrogen into Natural Gas Pipelines

The Fuel Cell Technologies Office has issued a new report detailing the issues related to blending hydrogen into natural gas pipeline networks. Authored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the report is titled Blending Hydrogen into Natural Gas Pipeline Networks: A Review of Key Issues and focuses on using hydrogen both as a fuel and as an energy storage tool.

Energy Department Study Examines Potential to Reduce Transportation Petroleum Use and Carbon Emissions

The U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory released a new study that finds the United States has the potential to reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector by more than 80% by 2050. The Transportation Energy Futures (TEF) study identifies possible paths to a low-carbon, low-petroleum future in the U.S. transportation sector.

New Fact Sheet: World's First Tri-Generation Energy Station

The Fountain Valley energy station is the world's first tri-generation hydrogen energy and electricity power station to provide transportation fuel to the public and electric power to an industrial facility. Located at the Orange County Sanitation District's wastewater treatment plant in Fountain Valley, California, the unit is a combined heat, hydrogen, and power (CHHP) system that co-produces hydrogen in addition to electricity and heat, making it a tri-generation system. Read the fact sheet.

NRC Report Looks at Potential for 80 Percent Reductions in Petroleum Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Automobiles

A new National Research Council report examines whether the U.S. can reduce petroleum usage and greenhouse gas emissions in automobiles by 80 percent in the year 2050. The report compares current light-duty vehicle technologies with several alternative options and looks at what would be needed to meet the 2050 goals. Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels considers alternative fuels such as electric power and hydrogen and examines methods for their effective production and delivery to consumers, taking cost, infrastructure needs, and consumer behavior into consideration.

Fuel Cells for Maritime Ports: Project Feasibility Study

Vessel Cold-Ironing Using a Barge Mounted PEM Fuel Cell: Project Scoping and Feasibility, written by Sandia National Laboratories, examines the feasibility of a hydrogen-fueled PEM fuel cell barge to provide electrical power to vessels at anchorage or at berth. The study includes both a determination of the technical feasibility of the idea as well as an analysis of potential deployment options.

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

Felix Paulauskas Named ORNL 2012 Inventor of the Year

Felix Paulauskas was recognized by ORNL as the 2012 Inventor of the Year for distinguished, sustained, and cumulative contributions to ORNL's patent portfolio, which are the basis for establishment of carbon fiber initiatives and significant program growth, new ORNL facilities, and future opportunities for developing and demonstrating pioneering new approaches to producing carbon fibers.

New Book Edited by Sandia National Laboratories Highlights Pressing Need for Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles

Hydrogen Storage Technology – Materials and Applications is the title of a newly released book that focuses on bringing zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the road, and getting other hydrogen-based power equipment into the marketplace. Edited by Lennie Klebanoff from Sandia National Laboratories, the book addresses such technical issues as the chemistry of hydrogen storage materials, codes and standards, pressure vessels, and engineered hydrogen storage systems.