Energy Department Investments to Advance Hydrogen Infrastructure

July 25, 2012

The Energy Department on July 18 announced a $2.4 million investment to collect and analyze performance data for hydrogen fueling stations and advanced refueling components. The five projects—located in California, Connecticut, and Illinois—will track the performance and technical progress of innovative refueling systems at planned or existing hydrogen fueling stations in order to find ways to lower costs and improve operation. These investments are part of the department's commitment to support U.S. leadership in advanced hydrogen and fuel cell research and to help related industries bring hydrogen technologies into the marketplace at lower cost.

As part of a two-year initiative, the Energy Department will make $2.4 million available in fiscal year 2012, with a 50% cost share provided by the award winners. The projects selected for negotiation of award include: California Air Resources Board, which will analyze an operating hydrogen refueling station that uses natural gas to produce hydrogen; California State University and Los Angeles Auxiliary Services, Inc., which will collect data from hydrogen refueling architecture deployed at California State University - Los Angeles; Gas Technology Institute in Des Plaines, Illinois, which will analyze data from five hydrogen fueling stations; and Proton Energy Systems in Wallingford, Connecticut, which will conduct two projects providing operational data from two existing stations that integrate hydrogen generation, compression, storage, and dispensing, as well as deploying an advanced high-pressure electrolyzer at an existing hydrogen fueling station.

These new projects will collect data and monitor the performance of hydrogen fuel stations, advanced components, and other innovative hydrogen technologies using renewable energy or natural gas. By analyzing performance in real-world environments, these projects will help hydrogen fueling equipment manufacturers improve the designs of existing systems. The aim is to achieve higher efficiencies and test new system components. This data will help focus future research and development efforts, driving American manufacturing competitiveness in the next generation of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

In addition, the Energy Department recently released the final report from its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) about a technology validation project that collected data from more than 180 fuel cell electric vehicles (EVs). Over six years, these vehicles made more than 500,000 trips and traveled 3.6 million miles, completing more than 33,000 fill-ups at hydrogen fueling stations across the country. The project found that these vehicles achieved more than twice the efficiency of today's gasoline vehicles with refueling times of five minutes for four kilograms of hydrogen. See the DOE Progress Alert and the NREL final report on 180 fuel cell EVsPDF.